Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume III, Part 2: 1907-1910 eBook

Albert Bigelow Paine
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 349 pages of information about Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume III, Part 2.

But to cease teaching and go back to the beginning again, was it not pitiable—­that spectacle?  Honored and honorable old George Holland, whose theatrical ministry had for fifty years softened hard hearts, bred generosity in cold ones, kindled emotion in dead ones, uplifted base ones, broadened bigoted ones, and made many and many a stricken one glad and filled it brimful of gratitude, figuratively spit upon in his unoffending coffin by this crawling, slimy, sanctimonious, self-righteous reptile!


A substitute for Ruloff have we A Sidney Carton among us?

(See Chapter lxxxii)

To editor of ‘Tribune’.

Sir,—­I believe in capital punishment.  I believe that when a murder has been done it should be answered for with blood.  I have all my life been taught to feel this way, and the fetters of education are strong.  The fact that the death—­law is rendered almost inoperative by its very severity does not alter my belief in its righteousness.  The fact that in England the proportion of executions to condemnations is one to sixteen, and in this country only one to twenty-two, and in France only one to thirty-eight, does not shake my steadfast confidence in the propriety of retaining the death-penalty.  It is better to hang one murderer in sixteen, twenty-two, thirty-eight than not to hang any at all.

Feeling as I do, I am not sorry that Ruloff is to be hanged, but I am sincerely sorry that he himself has made it necessary that his vast capabilities for usefulness should be lost to the world.  In this, mine and the public’s is a common regret.  For it is plain that in the person of Ruloff one of the most marvelous of intellects that any age has produced is about to be sacrificed, and that, too, while half the mystery of its strange powers is yet a secret.  Here is a man who has never entered the doors of a college or a university, and yet by the sheer might of his innate gifts has made himself such a colossus in abstruse learning that the ablest of our scholars are but pigmies in his presence.  By the evidence of Professor Mather, Mr. Surbridge, Mr. Richmond, and other men qualified to testify, this man is as familiar with the broad domain of philology as common men are with the passing events of the day.  His memory has such a limitless grasp that he is able to quote sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph, chapter after chapter, from a gnarled and knotty ancient literature that ordinary scholars are capable of achieving little more than a bowing acquaintance with.  But his memory is the least of his great endowments.  By the testimony of the gentlemen above referred to he is able to critically analyze the works of the old masters of literature, and while pointing out the beauties of the originals with a pure and discriminating taste is as quick to detect

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Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume III, Part 2: 1907-1910 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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