But soon the white clouds come trooping along in ghostly squadrons and mingle together in heavy masses a quarter of a mile below you and shut out everything-completely hide the sea and all the earth save the pinnacle you stand on. As far as the eye can reach, it finds nothing to rest upon but a boundless plain of clouds tumbled into all manner of fantastic shapes-a billowy ocean of wool aflame with the gold and purple and crimson splendors of the setting sun! And so firm does this grand cloud pavement look that you can hardly persuade yourself that you could not walk upon it; that if you stepped upon it you would plunge headlong and astonish your friends at dinner ten thousand feet below.
Standing on that peak, with all the world shut out by that vast plain of clouds, a feeling of loneliness comes over a man which suggests to his mind the last man at the flood, perched high upon the last rock, with nothing visible on any side but a mournful waste of waters, and the ark departing dimly through the distant mists and leaving him to storm and night and solitude and death!
NOTICE OF MARK TWAIN’S LECTURE
“The trouble is over”
“The inimitable Mark Twain, delivered himself last night of his first lecture on the Sandwich Islands, or anything else.
“Some time before the hour appointed to open his head the Academy of Music (on Pine Street) was densely crowded with one of the most fashionable audiences it was ever my privilege to witness during my long residence in this city. The Elite of the town were there, and so was the Governor of the State, occupying one of the boxes, whose rotund face was suffused with a halo of mirth during the whole entertainment. The audience promptly notified Mark by the usual sign—stamping—that the auspicious hour had arrived, and presently the lecturer came sidling and swinging out from the left of the stage. His very manner produced a generally vociferous laugh from the assemblage. He opened with an apology, by saying that he had partly succeeded in obtaining a band, but at the last moment the party engaged backed out. He explained that he had hired a man to play the trombone, but he, on learning that he was the only person engaged, came at the last moment and informed him that he could not play. This placed Mark in a bad predicament, and wishing to know his reasons for deserting him at that critical moment, he replied, ’That he wasn’t going to make a fool of himself by sitting up there on the stage and blowing his horn all by himself.’ After the applause subsided, he assumed a very grave countenance and commenced his remarks proper with the following well-known sentence: ’When, in the course of human events,’ etc. He lectured fully an hour and a quarter, and his humorous sayings were interspersed with geographical, agricultural, and statistical remarks, sometimes branching off and reaching beyond, soaring, in the very choicest language, up to the very pinnacle of descriptive power.”