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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 28 Oct 2011 21:32:34 -0700
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I just had a surprising Mark Twain experience.  Many of you probably already
knew this, but I didn't.  A cousin sent me a book which had belonged to my
grandfather.  The cover and title page were missing.  He attached a note
saying, "Roughing It" and I thought it was a
marvelous coincidence since I'd been thumbing through that book lately.
However, I was puzzled.  The preface, completely unfunny, was written by
Mark Twain, in Hartford 1876.  Was he speaking of himself in the third
person?  The extremely brief preface, which was funny, was simply signed
"the author."

Still pleased with myself having, even if disabled, a first edition of  -
Roughing It-,  I moved on to the next pages.  The list of illustrations and
table of contents was totally unfamiliar.  So I googled the first chapter
heading and learned the book actually was -History of the big bonanza-
(small caps intentional) by Dan DeQuille! I savored that one sentence
preface:  "I have put all I had to say into the body of this book; but being
informed that a preface is a necessary evil, I have written this one.  The

I still can't quite get over how straight forward and unamusing the
Introductory was.

Arianne Laidlaw