Another thought on the 150th anniversary of the "Yours, Dreamily, Mark
In the article, Twain does not name the ladies who sang, nor does he name
their songs, but Twain does list, by name, the men who sang. and he names
the songs each sang.
Then he spears his friend and foil, C.T. Rice, The Unreliable," who played
the piano and sang. Twain does not name the tune, a church hymn, but
references the name by telling us Rice "shouted something about he 'would not
live alway'. . . . He must have made up that song as he went along." That
allows Twain to twist the line "The few lurid mornings that dawn on us here"
into "The few lucid moments that dawn on us here." ("Lurid mornings" is an
archaic use of the word, which comes from Latin for light yellow, as in a
light yellow sky at dawn.)
Meanwhile, a friend who wrote a biography of Warren Wasson questions
Twain's assertion that "Wasson has a cultivated voice, and a refined musical
taste. . . ." He reports this is the only known reference to Wasson as a
singer, and wonders if the tunes of all the men were Twain barbs. But I submit
these were church-going men, comfortable singing hymns there. The lyrics of
all are online, and several of the tunes listed were hymns, including that
sung by The Unreliable. I think the men did sing, and their singing became
Twain's set-up for the verbal spear he hurls at The Unreliable.