Ohio History Journal

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On the night of February II, 1885, the Union Library As-

sociation of Oberlin, Ohio, presented readings by Samuel L.

Clemens and George W. Cable as the third number of its annual

lecture series. The Twain-Cable lecture took place in the First

Congregational Church of Oberlin, where Clemens, according to

a program of the entertainment now in the Oberlin College Li-

brary, gave as his part of the evening readings of "King Soller-

mun," "The Tragic Tale of a Fishwife," "A Trying Situation,"

and a few shorter selections. Cable gave four readings from his

novel, Dr. Sevier. The Oberlin appearance was but one of many

for the two men, since they were on an extended tour which took

them through the Middle West.

No reference to Twain's experiences during his short stay

in Oberlin occurs in any of the published work concerning him or

his life. Albert Bigelow Paine's edition of the Letters shows no

correspondence concerning his lecture, nor does his Mark Twain,

the most complete biography. The reviews published in the Ober-

lin newspapers disclose an hitherto unknown and unrecorded in-

cident in an otherwise widely known career, an incident interest-

ing in itself for the light it sheds on our knowledge of Clemens,

and for the connection that it may establish between the Ohio

town and one of Twain's major short stories, The Man That Cor-

rupted Hadleyburg.

Two days after the Twain-Cable lecture, a review of the en-

tertainment appeared in the Oberlin Weekly News of February 13,

1885. Cautiously worded, the review nevertheless makes it plain

that the reaction of the Oberlin audience to Twain's humorous