Overview Of The Life And Work Of Mark Twain.

1735 words - 7 pages

Mark Twain"Once a pretty mean captain caught sight of Stephen in New Orleans out of work and as usual out of money. He laid steady siege to Stephen, who was in a very 'close place,' and finally persuaded him to hire with him at one hundred and twenty-five dollars per month, just half wages, the captain agreeing not to divulge the secret and so bring down the contempt of all the guild upon the poor fellow. But the boat was not more than a day out of New Orleans before Stephen discovered that the captain was boasting of his exploit and that all the officers had been told. Stephen winced, but said nothing. About the middle of the afternoon the captain stepped out on the hurricane deck, cast his eye around, and looked a good deal surprised. He glanced inquiringly aloft at Stephen, but Stephen was whistling placidly , and attending to business. The captain stood around awhile in evident discomfort, and once or twice seemed about to make a suggestion; but the etiquette of the river taught him to avoid that sort of rashness, and so he managed to hold his peace. He chafed and puzzled a few minutes longer, then retired to his apartments. But soon he was out again, and apparently more perplexed than ever. Presently he ventured to remark, with deference,--" 'Pretty good stage of the river now, ain't it, sir?'" 'Well, I should say so! Bank-full is a pretty liberal stage.'" 'Seems to be a good deal of current here.'" 'Good deal don't describe it! It's worse than a millrace.'" 'Is n't it easier in toward shore than it is out here in the middle?'" 'Yes, I reckon it is; but body can't be too careful with a steamboat. Its pretty safe out here; can't strike any bottom here, you can depend on that.'"The captain departed looking rueful enough. At this rate, he would probably die of old age before his boat got to St. Louis. Next day he appeared on deck and again found Stephen faithfully standing up the middle of the river, fighting the whole vast force of the Mississippi, and whistling the same placid tune. This thing was becoming serious. In by the shore was a slower boat clipping along in the easy water and gaining steadily; she began to make for an island chute; Stephen stuck to the middle of the river. Speech was wrung from the captain. He said, --" 'Mr. W____, don't that chute cut off a good deal of distance?'" 'I think it does, but I don't know.'" 'Don't know! Well, is n't there water enough in it now to go through?'" 'I expect there is, but I am not certain.'" 'Upon my word this is odd! Why, those pilots on that boat yonder are going to try it. Do you mean to say that you don't know as much as they do?'" 'They! Why, They are two-hundred-and-fifty-dollar pilots! But don't you be uneasy; I know as much as any man can afford to know for a hundred and twenty-five!"#Anecdotes and funny bits like this are found throughout Mark Twain's writings. Mark Twain was one of America's most famous authors, writing books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, and...

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