Sketches New and Old

Sketches New and Old
My uncle William (now deceased, alas!) used to say that a good horse was, a good horse until it had run away once, and that a good watch was a good watch until the repairers got a chance at it. And he used to wonder what became of all the unsuccessful tinkers, and gunsmiths, and shoemakers, and engineers, and blacksmiths; but nobody could ever tell him.
Interrupted by a lightning rod salesman while working on an essay on Political Economy, Marks impatience causes him to be taken in and he purchases more than required. Fireworks result.
Penelope McWilliams develops a cough. Her mother panics because membranous croup is currently ravaging the town. This causes a great deal of pain and aggravation for Mr McWilliams.
Having been offered an honorary membership in the Poultry Society, Mark sends back a letter of thanks describing his knowledge and experiences in raising chickens. It's doubtful that his thoughts on raising chickens agree with the Society's, however. Included in Sketches New and Old from 1870.
The editor of the Memphis Avalanche swoops thus mildly down upon a correspondent who posted him as a Radical:—"While he was writing the first word, the middle, dotting his i's, crossing his t's, and punching his period, he knew he was concocting a sentence that was saturated with infamy and reeking with falsehood."—Exchange.
Once there was a bad little boy whose name was Jim—though, if you will notice, you will find that bad little boys are nearly always called James in your Sunday-school books. It was strange, but still it was true, that this one was called Jim.
DELIVERED IN HARTFORD, AT A DINNER TO CORNELIUS WALFORD, OF LONDON
Mark Twain is visited by an agent from the Internal Revenue Department. He is unfamiliar with this service and brags up his earnings for the year. Mortified to find he'd been duped a rich acquaintance instructs him in the art of deductions.
"Niagara Falls is a most enjoyable place of resort. The hotels are excellent, and the prices not at all exorbitant. The opportunities for fishing are not surpassed in the country; in fact, they are not even equaled elsewhere."

Sketches New and Old is the fifth book in the Oxford Mark Twain collection, published in 1875. It contains material written from between 1863 and 1875 some of which can also be found in a book Twain did not favor, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches. This includes the title sketch "in English. Then in French. Then clawed back into civilized language once more by patient, unremunerated toil".

I, as SLCLemens in Second Life, have recorded readings from this book, produced slide shows of same and published them on YouTube or other service. Here they are for you enjoyment.

Help Produce Mark Twain Videos