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Old September 12, 2010, 06:56 PM   #367
4V50 Gary
Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 19,300
Mark Twain sees an enchanting girl at the opera

The other book I carried on my recent trip was Twain's, A Tramp Abroad (c 1898). Tramp in those days meant to hike as in the Civil War song, Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! The boys are marching... Anyway, Twain decided to go to Germany to study art and he attends the Opera. This excerpt is from page 49:

A gentle, old-maidish person and a sweet young girl of seventeen sat right in front of us that night at the Mannheim opera. These people talked between the acts, and I understood them, though I understood nothing that was uttered on the distant stage. At first they were guarded in their talks, but after they heard my agent and me conversing in English they dropped their reserve, and I picked up many of their little confidences; no, I mean many of her little confidences-meaning the elder party-for the young girl only listened, and gave assenting nods, but never said a word. How pretty she was, and how sweet she was! I wished she would speak. But evidently she was absorbed in her own thoughts, her own young girl dreams, and found a dearer pleasure in silence. But she was not dreaming sleepy dreams-no, she was wide awake, alive, alert; and she could not sit still for a moment. She was an enchanting study. Her gown was of a soft white silky stuff that clung to her round young figure like a fish's skin, and it was rippled over with the gracefullest little fringy films of lace; she had deep, tender eyes, with long, curved lashes; and she had peachy cheeks, and a dimpled chin, and such a dear little dewy rosebud of a mouth; and she was so dove-like, so pure, and so gracious, so sweet and bewitching. For long hours I did mightily wish she would speak. And at last she did; the red lips parted, and out leaped her thought, and with such a guileless and pretty enthusiasm too: 'Auntie, I just know I've got five hundred fleas on me!'
Mark Twain was certainly an accomplished writer.
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
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