B. Scott Holmes

Just trying to stay alive and keep my sideburns too

Opera House, Brockton, Massachusetts

November 14, 1884

Mark Twain had complained that there was not enough notice of this event to generate a suitable audience. Here is the text from the notice published in the Brockton Enterprise, November 1, 1884:
"OPERA HOUSE.--M.W. Hanley's company, presenting Harrigan & Hart's play, "Dan;s Tribulations," will be at this house November 6th. Nov.9th the Flora Myers company return for a season of dramatic representations at popular prices. The 14th Mark Twain, the humorist, and Mr. George W. Cable, the novelist, will appear in a lecture and readings."

Thanks to the Brockton Historical Society for providing this and the review of the show, also published in the Brockton Enterprise dated November 22, 1884:

"OPERA HOUSE.-- It is to be regretted that "Mark Twain" and Mr. George W. Cable were greeted by such a deplorably small audience at the Opera House last Friday. It was a reflection upon the literary taste of our people that so few were eager to come face to face with these popular American writers. Mr. Cable's readings were entirely from his latest novel, "Dr. Sevier," and were introduced with one of the wild, incoherent but musical Creole songs sung years ago in the Place Congo, New Orleans, by the African slaves. The readings introduced Narcisse, John and Mary Richling, Ristofalo and Mrs. Riley, those well remembered personages in his novel. Mr. Cable has a sympathetic voice and much dramatic spirit. His recitation of Mary's thrilling night ride through the forest, pursued by rebel scouts, was vividly portrayed. "Mark Twain"--who looks just like his published portrait, except that he has grown gray-haired with the weight of remorse for the things he has written--read several of his excruciatingly funny sketches. They gained added humor by the tone and manner in which the author read them, and set the audience in a gale of laughter. The only thing to regret about the whole evening was that there were so few there to enjoy the literary treat presented."

Dec. 3, 1886; The Opera House Block, owned by H.L. Bryant was completely destroyed by fire, with the greatest loss by fire in the history of the city, about $220,000.00; aid was sent us from Boston and Stoughton; the night was bitter cold; the firemen not only suffered from the cold but several had their lives endangered by falling walls.


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