MARK TWAIN IN THE PLAYHOUSE
He Attends the Performance of "Pudd'nHead Wilson," and Describes the Peculiarities of the Twins.
It was Mark Twain night at the Herald Square Theatre last evening, and Samuel Clemens sat in a box and witnessed the performance of the play which Frank Mayo has made out of his story of "Pudd'nHead Wilson."
The fact that the humorist was to be present and would probably address the audience was known in advance, and the result was that the auditorium was crowded to its utmost capacity. Mr. Mayo and his company never acted with more spirit, and the performance was one of the best ever given of the play.
After the third act there were loud cries for "Twain!" and the humorist finally arose in his box and bowed to the audience. "Speech! speech!" was shouted on all sides, and Mr. Clemens, responding to the call, made quite a long address. After complimenting Mr. Mayo on his work as a dramatist and an actor, he turned his attention to the "twins," and minutely analyzed their characters. He said:
"I am gratified to see that Mr. Mayo has been able to manage those difficult twins. I tried, but in my hands they failed. Year before last there was an Italian freak on exhibition in Philadelphia who was an exaggeration of the Siamese Twins. This freak had one body, one pair of legs, two heads, and four arms. I thought he would be useful in a book, so I put him in. And then the trouble began. I called these consolidated twins Angelo and Luigi, and I tried to make them nice and agreeable, but it was not possible. They would not do anything my way, but only their own. They were wholly unmanageable, and not a day went by that they didn't develop some new kind of devilishness - particularly Luigi.
"Angelo was of a religious turn of mind, and was monotonously honest and honorable and upright, and tediously proper; whereas Luigi had no principles, no morals, no religion - a perfect blatherskite, and an inextricable tangle theologically - infidel, atheist, and agnostic, all mixed together. He was of a malicious disposition, and liked to eat things which disagreed with his brother. They were so strangely organized that what one of them ate or drank had no effect upon himself, but only nourished or damaged the other one. Luigi was hearty and robust, because Angelo ate the best and most wholesome food he could find for him; but Angelo was himself delicate and sickly, because every day Luigi filled him up with mince pies and salt junk, just because he knew he couldn't digest them.
"Luigi was very dissipated, but it didn't show on him, but only on his brother. His brother was a strict and conscientious teetotaler, but he was drunk most of the time on account of Luigi's habits. Angelo was president of the Prohibition Society, but they had to turn him out, because every time he appeared at the head of the procession on parade, he was a scandalous spectacle to look at. On the other hand, Angelo was a trouble to Luigi, the infidel, because he was always changing his religion, trying to find the best one, and he always preferred sects that believed in baptism by immersion, and this was a constant peril and discomfort to Luigi, who couldn't stand water outside or in; and so every time Angelo got baptized Luigi got drowned and had to be pumped out and resuscitated.
"Luigi was irascible, yet was never willing to stand by the con sequences of his acts. He was always kicking somebody and then laying it on Angelo. And when the kicked person kicked back, Luigi would say, 'What are you kicking me for? I haven't done anything to you.' Then the man would be sorry, and say, 'Well, I didn't mean any harm. I thought it was you; but, you see, you people have only one body between you, and I can't tell which of you I'm kicking. I don't know how to discriminate. I do not wish to be unfair, and so there is no way for me to do but kick one of you and apologize to the other.'
"They were a troublesome pair in every way. If they did any work for you, they charged for two; but at the boarding house they ate and slept for two and only paid for one. In the trains they wouldn't pay for two, because they only occupied one seat. The same at the theater. Luigi bought one ticket and deadheaded Angelo in. They couldn't put Angelo out because they couldn't put the deadhead out without putting out the twin that had paid, and scooping in a suit for damages.
"Luigi grew steadily more and more wicked, and I saw by and by that the way he was going on he was certain to land in the eternal tropics, and at bottom I was glad of it; but I knew he would necessarily take his righteous brother down there with him, and that would not be fair. I did not object to it, but I didn't want to be responsible for it. I was in such a hobble that there was only one way out. To save the righteous brother I had to pull the consolidated twins apart and make two separate and distinct twins of them. Well, as soon as I did that, they lost all their energy and took no further interest in life. They were wholly futile and useless in the book, they became mere shadows, and so they remain. Mr. Mayo manages them, but if he had taken a chance at them before I pulled them apart and tamed them, he would have found out early that if he put them in his play they would take full possession and there wouldn't be any room in it for Pudd'nHead Wilson or anybody else.
"I have taken four days to prepare these statistics, and as far as they go you can depend upon their being strictly true. I have not told all the truth about the twins, but just barely enough of it for business purposes, for my motto is - and Pudd'nHead Wilson can adopt it if he wants to - my motto is, 'Truth is the most valuable thing we have; let us economize it.' "
Mr. Clemens's address was received with shouts of laughter and applause.
In response to loud calls Frank Mayo then appeared on the stage. He said that Mr. Clemens had left him nothing to say about the twins, but he desired publicly to thank the managment of the theatre for the admirable production they had given the piece, to which much of its popular success was due. Mr. Mayo bowed himself into the wings, followed by an outburst of hearty applause.
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