He roused up, and gave me good day. I told him that a friend of mine had commissioned me to make some inquiries about a cherished companion of his boyhood named Leonidas W. Smiley, a young minister of the Gospel, who he had heard was at one time a resident of Angel's Camp. I added that if Mr. Wheeler could tell me anything about this Rev. Smiley, I would feel under many obligations to him. Simon Wheeler backed me into a corner and blockaded me there with his chair, and then sat down and reeled off the monotonous narrative which follows this paragraph.
He never smiled, he never frowned, he never changed his voice from the gentle-flowing key to which he tuned his initial sentence, he never betrayed the slightest suspicion of enthusiasm; but all through the interminable narrative there ran a vein of impressive earnestness and sincerity, which showed me plainly that, so far from his imagining that there was anything ridiculous or funny about his story, he regarded it as a really important matter, and admired its two heroes as men of transcendent genius in finesse.
I let him go on in his own way, and never interrupted him once.
H'm, Reverend Le--well, there was a feller here once by the name of Jim Smiley, in the winter of 'or maybe it was the spring of 'I don't recollect exactly, somehow, though what makes me think it was one or the other is because I remember the big flume warn't finished when he first come to the camp; but anyway, he was the curiousest man about always betting on anything that turned up you ever see, if he could get anybody to bet on the other side; and if he couldn't he'd change sides.
Any way that suited the other man would suit him--any way just so's he got a bet, he was satisfied. But still he was lucky, uncommon lucky; he most always come out winner. He was always ready and laying for a chance; there couldn't be no solit'ry thing mentioned but that feller'd offer to bet on it, and take ary side you please, as I was just telling you. If there was a horse-race, you'd find him flush or you'd find him busted at the end of it; if there was a dog-fight, he'd bet on it; if there was a cat-fight, he'd bet on it; if there was a chicken-fight, he'd bet on it; why, if there was two birds setting on a fence, he would bet you which one would fly first; or if there was a camp-meeting, he would be there reg'lar to bet on Parson Walker, which he judged to be the best exhorter about here, and so he was too, and a good man.
If he even see a straddle-bug start to go anywheres, he would bet you how long it would take him to get to--to wherever he was going to, and if you took him up, he would foller that straddle-bug to Mexico but what he would find out where he was bound for and how long he was on the road.
Lots of the boys here has seen that Smiley, and can tell you about him. Why, it never made no difference to him--he'd bet on any thing--the dangdest feller.
Parson Walker's wife laid very sick once, for a good while, and it seemed as if they warn't going to save her; but one morning he come in, and Smiley up and asked him how she was, and he said she was considerable better--thank the Lord for his inf'nite mercy--and coming on so smart that with the blessing of Prov'dence she'd get well yet; and Smiley, before he thought, says, 'Well, I'll resk two-and-a-half she don't anyway. They used to give her two or three hundred yards' start, and then pass her under way; but always at the fag end of the race she'd get excited and desperate like, and come cavorting and straddling up, and scattering her legs around limber, sometimes in the air, and sometimes out to one side among the fences, and kicking up m-o-r-e dust and raising m-o-r-e racket with her coughing and sneezing and blowing her nose--and always fetch up at the stand just about a neck ahead, as near as you could cipher it down.
But as soon as money was up on him he was a different dog; his under-jaw'd begin to stick out like the fo'castle of a steamboat, and his teeth would uncover and shine like the furnaces. And a dog might tackle him and bully-rag him, and bite him, and throw him over his shoulder two or three times, and Andrew Jackson--which was the name of the pup--Andrew Jackson would never let on but what he was satisfied, and hadn't expected nothing else--and the bets being doubled and doubled on the other side all the time, till the money was all up; and then all of a sudden he would grab that other dog jest by the j'int of his hind leg and freeze to it--not chaw, you understand, but only just grip and hang on till they throwed up the sponge, if it was a year.
Smiley always come out winner on that pup, till he harnessed a dog once that didn't have no hind legs, because they'd been sawed off in a circular saw, and when the thing had gone along far enough, and the money was all up, and he come to make a snatch for his pet holt, he see in a minute how he'd been imposed on, and how the other dog had him in the door, so to speak, and he 'peared surprised, and then he looked sorter discouraged-like, and didn't try no more to win the fight, and so he got shucked out bad.
He give Smiley a look, as much as to say his heart was broke, and it was his fault, for putting up a dog that hadn't no hind legs for him to take holt of, which was his main dependence in a fight, and then he limped off a piece and laid down and died. It was a good pup, was that Andrew Jackson, and would have made a name for hisself if he'd lived, for the stuff was in him and he had genius--I know it, because he hadn't no opportunities to speak of, and it don't stand to reason that a dog could make such a fight as he could under them circumstances if he hadn't no talent. It always makes me feel sorry when I think of that last fight of his'n, and the way it turned out.
He ketched a frog one day, and took him home, and said he cal'lated to educate him; and so he never done nothing for three months but set in his back yard and learn that frog to jump. And you bet you he did learn him, too. He'd give him a little punch behind, and the next minute you'd see that frog whirling in the air like a doughnut--see him turn one summerset, or maybe a couple, if he got a good start, and come down flat-footed and all right, like a cat. He got him up so in the matter of ketching flies, and kep' him in practice so constant, that he'd nail a fly every time as fur as he could see him.
Smiley said all a frog wanted was education, and he could do 'most anything--and I believe him. Why, I've seen him set Dan'l Webster down here on this floor--Dan'l Webster was the name of the frog--and sing out, 'Flies, Dan'l, flies!
You never see a frog so modest and straightfor'ard as he was, for all he was so gifted. And when it come to fair and square jumping on a dead level, he could get over more ground at one straddle than any animal of his breed you ever see. Jumping on a dead level was his strong suit, you understand; and when it come to that, Smiley would ante up money on him as long as he had a red. Smiley was monstrous proud of his frog, and well he might be, for fellers that had traveled and been everywheres all said he laid over any frog that ever they see. One day a feller--a stranger in the camp, he was--come acrost him with his box, and says: Well, what's he good for?
Anyways, I've got my opinion, and I'll resk forty dollars that he can outjump any frog in Calaveras County. Smiley he went to the swamp and slopped around in the mud for a long time, and finally he ketched a frog, and fetched him in, and give him to this feller, and says: Smiley was a good deal surprised, and he was disgusted too, but he didn't have no idea what the matter was, of course.
And then he see how it was, and he was the maddest man--he set the frog down and took out after the feller, but he never ketched him. And--" [Here Simon Wheeler heard his name called from the front yard, and got up to see what was wanted. Smiley, and so I started away. At the door I met the sociable Wheeler returning, and he buttonholed me and recommenced: Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App.
Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? For deft plotting, riotous inventiveness, unforgettable characters, and language that brilliantly captures the lively rhythms of American speech, no American writer comes close to Mark Twain.
Every one of his sixty stories is here: Read more Read less. Special offers and product promotions Rs cashback on Rs or more for purchases made through Amazon Assistant. Offer period 1st September to 30th September. Cashback will be credited as Amazon Pay balance within 15 days from purchase.
Here's how terms and conditions apply Go Cashless: Only on your first 2 cashless orders on Amazon. Offer period 4th Sep to 30th Sep. Cashback within 10 days. Offer valid only once per customer including mobile recharges and bill payments. Here's how terms and conditions apply. Add all three to Cart. Buy the selected items together This item: Sold by uRead-Store and ships from Amazon Fulfillment. Sponsored products related to this item What's this? Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Samuel Langhorne Clemens ? At his peak, he was probably the most popular American celebrity of his time.
William Faulkner wrote he was "the first truly American writer, and all of us since are his heirs. But it is often thought that the name actually came from his wilder days in the West, where he would buy two drinks and tell the bartender to "mark twain" on his tab. Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born in Florida, Missouri.
While he was still a baby, the family moved to the river town of Hannibal, Missouri, hoping their fortunes would improve there. He could hear many Indian legends and listen to the stories of the black slives. It was this town and its inhabitants that the author Mark Twain later put to such imaginative use in his most famous works, especially The Adventures of Tom Sawyer The oldest son, Orion, soon began publishing a newspaper and Sam began contributing to it as a journeyman printer and occasional writer.
Clemens also travelled to St. Louis and New York City to earn a living as a printer. But the lure of the Mississippi eventually drew Clemens to a career as a steamboat pilot, a profession he later claimed would have held him to the end of his days, recounting his experiences in his book Life on the Mississippi But the Civil War put an end to commercial steamboat traffic in , and Clemens had to look for a new job.
After a brief stint with a local militia an experience he recounted in his short story, " The Private History of a Campaign That Failed " in , he escaped further contact with the war by going west in July of with Orion, who had been appointed secretary to the territorial governor of Nevada.
Roughing it Out West. Failing as a miner, he fell into newspaper work in Virginia City for the Territorial Enterprise , where he adopted the pen name "Mark Twain" for the first time. In , he moved down to San Francisco and wrote for several papers there. In , Twain had his first literary success.
At the behest of humorist Artemus Ward he submitted a humorous short story for a collection Ward was publishing. The story arrived too late for that book, but the publisher passed it to the Saturday Press. That story, originally entitled "Jim Smiley and his Jumping Frog" but now better known as " The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County ," was reprinted nation-wide, and called by Atlantic Monthly editor James Russell Lowell "the finest piece of humorous literature yet produced in America.
Based upon stories he heard in the California mining camps, the story is about an apparently innocent stranger who cheaats a famous frog racer and beats him. The stranger fills the stomach of the other man? It is a typical Western humour story called a? Like all the Western humorists, Twain? In the spring of he was commissioned by the Sacramento Union newspaper to travel to the Sandwich Islands to write a series of letters reporting on his journey there.
On his return to San Francisco, the success of the letters led him to try his hand at the lecture circuit, renting the Academy of Music and charging a dollar a head admission.
The first lecture was a wild success, and soon Twain was travelling up and down the state, lecturing. The resulting letters Twain produced for the newspaper reporting on the trip formed the basis of his first book, The Innocents Abroad , a large and humorous travelogue that pointedly failed to worship Old World arts and conventions. Sold by subscription, the book became hugely popular and put its author in a spotlight he never willingly relinquished for the rest of his life.
After the success of Innocents he married Olivia Langdon in During this period, he lectured often in the United States and England. Later he wrote as an avid critic of American society. He wrote about politics with his Life on the Mississippi. Roughing it began as a series of newspaper articles, he fives us clear pictures of the people he met: It is very funny. The period of the Civil War was a time when a small number of millionaire businessmen held great power in American society.
The city homes of the very rich looked like palaces and many people thought of this period as a new? It was one of the first novels which tried to describe the new morality or immorality of post-Civil War America. One of the new elements of this novel is that it creates a picture of the entire nation, rather than of just one region. Although it has a number of Twain? The book description shows a group of young people who are morally destroyed by the dream of becoming rich. As Ernest Hemingway himself said: There was nothing before.
There has been nothing as good since. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was a story about? The two young heroes, Tom and Huck Finn, are bad only because they fight against the stupidity of the adult world. In the end they win. Twain creates a highly realistic background for his story. We get to know the village very well, see its many colourful characters, its graveyards and the house in which there was supposed to be a ghost. Although there are important similarities between Tom and Huck, there are also some differences.
Twain studies the psychology of his characters carefully. Tom is very romantic. His view of life comes from books about knights in the Middle Ages. A whistle from Huck outside Tom? Afterwards, tom can always return to his Aunt Polly?
Twain was a bogy and an old man, but never was he a man? In and he was contributor to the Nation and Atlantic Monthly. To get the free app, enter mobile phone number. Smiley is a myth; that my friend never knew such a personage; and that he only conjectured that if I asked old Wheeler about him, it would remind him of his infamous Jim Smiley, and he would go to work and bore me to death with some exasperating reminiscence of him as long and as tedious as it should be useless to me. Tom is very romantic. In , Twain was introduced to financier Henry H.
By the end of the novel, we can see Tom growing up. Huck, however, is a real outsider.
He has had a harder life and never sees the world in the romantic way that Tom does. Some critics complain that Twain wrote well only when he was writing about young people. They say that his psychology was really only child psychology. This may be true, but ion this greatest novel, The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn , Twain gives his young hero very adult problems. Huck and a runaway slave, Jim, are floating down the Mississippi rive on a raft.
During their trip, in the various towns and villages, Huck learns about the evil of the world. Huck, meanwhile, is facing a bbig moral problem. The laws of society say he must return Jim to his? Bit, ion the most important part of the book, he decides that the slave is a man, not a? He thinks deeply about morality and then decides to break the law.
After that, he is not a child any more. Many see this novel as great one of American democracy.