Life on the Mississippi, Complete, by Mark Twain
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[life on the mississippi muddy river water from www.gutenberg.org]
The man they called Ed said the muddy Mississippi water was wholesomer to drink than the clear water of the Ohio; he said if you let a pint of this yaller ...
From: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of David Foster <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, September 9, 2022 4:23 PM
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Another question about Twain and the Mississippi River
Try Huck Finn, chapter16 - the comparison of a St. Louis and a Cincinnati
On Fri, Sep 9, 2022 at 2:34 PM Scott Holmes <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> He was not entirely joking. Charles Dickens reports drinking
> Mississippi River water while in St. Louis. This event with Twain also
> occurred in St. Louis in April of 1882, at the outset of his return to
> the Mississippi. Thank you, Taylor, for the reference. It also serves
> to indicate that the muddy nature of the Mississippi River derives from
> the Missouri River, often referred to as "The Big Muddy", an appelation
> mistakenly applied to the Mississippi on occasion.
> On 9/9/22 10:04, Taylor Roberts wrote:
> > From LOM ch 22 (surely a joke!):
> > 'What is a person to do here when he wants a drink of water?—drink this
> > slush?'
> > 'Can't you drink it?'
> > 'I could if I had some other water to wash it with.'
> > Here was a thing which had not changed; a score of years had not affected
> > this water's mulatto complexion in the least; a score of centuries would
> > succeed no better, perhaps. It comes out of the turbulent, bank-caving
> > Missouri, and every tumblerful of it holds nearly an acre of land in
> > solution. I got this fact from the bishop of the diocese. If you will let
> > your glass stand half an hour, you can separate the land from the water
> > easy as Genesis; and then you will find them both good: the one good to
> > eat, the other good to drink. The land is very nourishing, the water is
> > thoroughly wholesome. The one appeases hunger; the other, thirst. But the
> > natives do not take them separately, but together, as nature mixed them.
> > When they find an inch of mud in the bottom of a glass, they stir it up,
> > and then take the draught as they would gruel. It is difficult for a
> > stranger to get used to this batter, but once used to it he will prefer
> > to water. This is really the case. It is good for steamboating, and good
> > drink; but it is worthless for all other purposes, except baptizing.
> > On Fri, Sep 9, 2022 at 12:47 PM Dave Davis<[log in to unmask]>
> > wrote:
> >> I think no one in their right mind would fill a glass with it -- except
> >> demonstration purposes -- below Minneapolis/St. Paul. (I've seen it
> >> -- it is still mostly clear.
> >> On Fri, Sep 9, 2022 at 12:44 PM Scott Holmes<[log in to unmask]>
> >> wrote:
> >>> I suspect I could search this out in his autobiography but Twain-L may
> >>> be quicker - Did he ever mention drinking Mississippi River water? If
> >>> so, when might this have occurred? This is certainly not something
> >>> anyone would choose to do today but in the eighteenth (pre-industrial)
> >>> century this was considered as quite healthful.
> >>> --
> >>> /Unaffiliated Geographer and Twain aficionado/
> /Unaffiliated Geographer and Twain aficionado/
Professor of Political Science
Department of History and Political Science
Andrews Hall 122
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