Sat, 7 Aug 2010 13:01:19 -0500
I heard a fly buzz when I tried
To read some Twain today.
And by my swatter through the air
With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz,
Between the swatter and me;
And then the fly went splat, and then
I read some more M. T.
Besides inspiring some execrable poetry, this little incident got me thinking whether Mark Twain and Emily Dickinson shared any mutual friends or acquaintances, and it turns out they shared at least three. Whosoever is the first to name all three will win his or her choice of a fine first edition in dust jacket of Ron Power's DANGEROUS WATERS, or Dennis Welland's LIFE AND TIMES OF MARK TWAIN, or a copy of the 1996 Random House ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN (the first printing based upon the entire original manuscript).
But merely naming them won't do; you must briefly explain how/where/when both Twain and Dickinson knew these three people, and provide their first and last names. Here are some worthless wingless clues, more annoying than flies---
One was a Presbyterian minister; one began his career like Twain, working in a family newspaper office setting type; and the third was once a soldier who commanded forces that seized an entire town. All three met both Twain and Emily D in person, eyeball to eyeball.
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