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Roughing It (The World's Best Reading)…
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Roughing It (The World's Best Reading) (1872 original; edició 1994)

de Mark Twain, Eminent Artists (Il·lustrador), Scott Russel Sanders (Epíleg)

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2,722263,818 (3.89)79
Two American originals, Mark Twain and the West, come together in this documentary of the author's seven-year "pleasure trip" to the silver mines of Nevada. Twain had originally planned the trip to be a three-month "vacation;" not surprisingly for someone of Twain's temperament, the trip lasted seven years. His journey, like his book, has a way of taking ever-unexpected turns.… (més)
Membre:belltower
Títol:Roughing It (The World's Best Reading)
Autors:Mark Twain
Altres autors:Eminent Artists (Il·lustrador), Scott Russel Sanders (Epíleg)
Informació:Reader's Digest Association, inc. (1994), Hardcover, 421 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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Roughing It de Mark Twain (1872)

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5731. Roughing It, by Mark Twain (read 19 Jan 2021) This was first published in 1872. Twain was born in 1835. he book tells of his trip to Nevada in the 1860's, his efforts to become rich through prospecting, his journalistic work, and his trip to what is now Hawaii. All of this is told half humoristically and no doubt some is not true. There were parts of interest and some was slightly funny--probably it was funnier when read in 1872. There is an Afterword written in 1994 which makes wise comments about the book. Twain uses language about Mormons and Blacks which the publisher in this edition in 1994 primly says does not represent the attitude of the editors and publisher. It is the seventh book by Twain I have read, and I confess that the book of his I enjoyed the most was the first one I read back in 1942 when I was in 8th grade: The Prince and the Pauper. ( )
1 vota Schmerguls | Jan 19, 2021 |
Full of (long-winded) personality. I was especially interested in Twain's snapshot of the Comstock Lode silver rush. The conclusion, set in Hawaii, is more tedious, but also has a few Twain nuggets.

> A hole a foot wide, two feet deep, and two feet long, is dug, and sagebrush chopped up and burned in it till it is full to the brim with glowing coals. Then the cooking begins, and there is no smoke, and consequently no swearing. Such a fire will keep all night, with very little replenishing; and it makes a very sociable campfire, and one around which the most impossible reminiscences sound plausible, instructive, and profoundly entertaining.

> We could not eat the bread or the meat, nor drink the "slumgullion." And when I looked at that melancholy vinegar-cruet, I thought of the anecdote (a very, very old one, even at that day) of the traveler who sat down to a table which had nothing on it but a mackerel and a pot of mustard. He asked the landlord if this was all. The landlord said: "All! Why, thunder and lightning, I should think there was mackerel enough there for six." "But I don't like mackerel." "Oh—then help yourself to the mustard." In other days I had considered it a good, a very good, anecdote, but there was a dismal plausibility about it, here, that took all the humor out of it.

> Salt Lake City was healthy—an extremely healthy city. They declared there was only one physician in the place and he was arrested every week regularly and held to answer under the vagrant act for having "no visible means of support."

> Our stay in Salt Lake City amounted to only two days, and therefore we had no time to make the customary inquisition into the workings of polygamy and get up the usual statistics and deductions preparatory to calling the attention of the nation at large once more to the matter. I had the will to do it. With the gushing self-sufficiency of youth I was feverish to plunge in headlong and achieve a great reform here—until I saw the Mormon women. Then I was touched. My heart was wiser than my head. It warmed toward these poor, ungainly and pathetically "homely" creatures, and as I turned to hide the generous moisture in my eyes, I said, "No—the man that marries one of them has done an act of Christian charity which entitles him to the kindly applause of mankind, not their harsh censure—and the man that marries sixty of them has done a deed of openhanded generosity so sublime that the nations should stand uncovered in his presence and worship in silence."

> Sir, you probably did not know it, but all the time you were present with my children your every movement was watched by vigilant servitors of mine. If you had offered to give a child a dime, or a stick of candy, or any trifle of the kind, you would have been snatched out of the house instantly, provided it could be done before your gift left your hand. Otherwise it would be absolutely necessary for you to make an exactly similar gift to all my children—and knowing by experience the importance of the thing, I would have stood by and seen to it myself that you did it, and did it thoroughly. Once a gentleman gave one of my children a tin whistle—a veritable invention of Satan, sir, and one which I have an unspeakable horror of, and so would you if you had eighty or ninety children in your house. But the deed was done—the man escaped. I knew what the result was going to be, and I thirsted for vengeance. I ordered out a flock of Destroying Angels, and they hunted the man far into the fastnesses of the Nevada mountains. But they never caught him. I am not cruel, sir—I am not vindictive except when sorely outraged—but if I had caught him, sir, so help me Joseph Smith, I would have locked him into the nursery till the brats whistled him to death. … I knew who gave the whistle to the child, but I could, not make those jealous mothers believe me. They believed I did it, and the result was just what any man of reflection could have foreseen: I had to order a hundred and ten whistles—I think we had a hundred and ten children in the house then, but some of them are off at college now—I had to order a hundred and ten of those shrieking things, and I wish I may never speak another word if we didn't have to talk on our fingers entirely, from that time forth until the children got tired of the whistles.

> the daily "Washoe Zephyr" set in; a soaring dust-drift about the size of the United States set up edgewise came with it, and the capital of Nevada Territory disappeared from view. Still, there were sights to be seen which were not wholly uninteresting to newcomers; for the vast dust cloud was thickly freckled with things strange to the upper air—things living and dead, that flitted hither and thither, going and coming, appearing and disappearing among the rolling billows of dust—hats, chickens and parasols sailing in the remote heavens; blankets, tin signs, sagebrush and shingles a shade lower; doormats and buffalo robes lower still; shovels and coal scuttles on the next grade; glass doors, cats and little children on the next; disrupted lumber yards, light buggies and wheelbarrows on the next; and down only thirty or forty feet above ground was a scurrying storm of emigrating roofs and vacant lots. It was something to see that much. I could have seen more, if I could have kept the dust out of my eyes.

> I sat down on a stone, with a sigh, and by a natural impulse one of my hands sought my forehead, and the other the base of my stomach. I believe I never appreciated, till then, the poverty of the human machinery—for I still needed a hand or two to place elsewhere.

> "Prospecting parties" were leaving for the mountains every day, and discovering and taking possession of rich silver-bearing lodes and ledges of quartz. Plainly this was the road to fortune. The great "Gould and Curry" mine was held at three or four hundred dollars a foot when we arrived; but in two months it had sprung up to eight hundred. The "Ophir" had been worth only a mere trifle, a year gone by, and now it was selling at nearly four thousand dollars a foot!

> My pyrhanism vanished upon his statement that in the very region referred to he had seen petrified trees of the length of two hundred feet. Then is the fact established that huge forests once cast their grim shadows over this remote section. I am firm in the coal faith.

> Within the hour, we found that it would not only be better, but was absolutely necessary, that we four, taking turns, two at a time, should put our hands against the end of the wagon and push it through the sand, leaving the feeble horses little to do but keep out of the way and hold up the tongue. Perhaps it is well for one to know his fate at first, and get reconciled to it. We had learned ours in one afternoon. It was plain that we had to walk through the sand and shove that wagon and those horses two hundred miles. So we accepted the situation, and from that time forth we never rode. … We were fifteen days making the trip—two hundred miles; thirteen, rather, for we lay by a couple of days, in one place, to let the horses rest. We could really have accomplished the journey in ten days if we had towed the horses behind the wagon, but we did not think of that until it was too late, and so went on shoving the horses and the wagon too when we might have saved half the labor. Parties who met us, occasionally, advised us to put the horses in the wagon

> We never touched our tunnel or our shaft again. Why? Because we judged that we had learned the real secret of success in silver mining —which was, not to mine the silver ourselves by the sweat of our brows and the labor of our hands, but to sell the ledges to the dull slaves of toil and let them do the mining!

> Dirt and vermin—but let us forget those features; their profusion is simply inconceivable—it is better that they remain so. There were two men—however, this chapter is long enough.

> We received presents of "feet" every day. If we needed a hundred dollars or so, we sold some; if not, we hoarded it away, satisfied that it would ultimately be worth a thousand dollars a foot. I had a trunk about half full of "stock." When a claim made a stir in the market and went up to a high figure, I searched through my pile to see if I had any of its stock—and generally found it.

> A crowded police court docket is the surest of all signs that trade is brisk and money plenty. Still, there is one other sign; it comes last, but when it does come it establishes beyond cavil that the "flush times" are at the flood. This is the birth of the "literary" paper.

> "The logic of our adversary resembles the peace of God,"—and left it to the reader's memory and afterthought to invest the remark with another and "more different" meaning by supplying for himself and at his own leisure the rest of the Scripture—"in that it passeth understanding."

> San Francisco is built on sand hills, but they are prolific sand hills. They yield a generous vegetation. All the rare flowers which people in "the States" rear with such patient care in parlor flowerpots and greenhouses, flourish luxuriantly in the open air there all the year round. Calla lilies, all sorts of geraniums, passion flowers, moss roses—I do not know the names of a tenth part of them. I only know that while New Yorkers are burdened with banks and drifts of snow, Californians are burdened with banks and drifts of flowers, if they only keep their hands off and let them grow.

> Such another destruction of mantel ornaments and toilet bottles as the earthquake created, San Francisco never saw before. There was hardly a girl or a matron in the city but suffered losses of this kind. Suspended pictures were thrown down, but oftener still, by a curious freak of the earthquake's humor, they were whirled completely around with their faces to the wall!

> Let us not dwell on this miserable matter. If I were inventing these things, I could be wonderfully humorous over them; but they are too true to be talked of with hearty levity, even at this distant day. Suffice it that I so lost heart, and so yielded myself up to repinings and sighings and foolish regrets, that I neglected my duties and became about worthless, as a reporter for a brisk newspaper. And at last one of the proprietors took me aside, with a charity I still remember with considerable respect, and gave me an opportunity to resign my berth and so save myself the disgrace of a dismissal.

> It was a verity—no vain, hunger-inspired delusion—it was a silver dime! He snatched it—gloated over it; doubted it—bit it—found it genuine—choked his heart down, and smothered a hallelujah. Then he looked around—saw that nobody was looking at him—threw the dime down where it was before—walked away a few steps, and approached again, pretending he did not know it was there, so that he could re-enjoy the luxury of finding it.

> Why did not Captain Cook have taste enough to call his great discovery the Rainbow Islands? These charming spectacles are present to you at every turn; they are common in all the islands; they are visible every day, and frequently at night also—not the silvery bow we see once in an age in the States, by moonlight, but barred with all bright and beautiful colors, like the children of the sun and rain. I saw one of them a few nights ago. What the sailors call "raindogs"—little patches of rainbow—are often seen drifting about the heavens in these latitudes, like stained cathedral windows.

> But we had the picture of the surf, then, dashing angrily against the crag-bound shore and sending a foaming spray high into the air. There was interest in this beetling border, too, for it was honeycombed with quaint caves and arches and tunnels, and had a rude semblance of the dilapidated architecture of ruined keeps and castles rising out of the restless sea

> In one place we came upon a large company of naked natives, of both sexes and all ages, amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf-bathing. Each heathen would paddle three or four hundred yards out to sea, (taking a short board with him), then face the shore and wait for a particularly prodigious billow to come along; at the right moment he would fling his board upon its foamy crest and himself upon the board, and here he would come whizzing by like a bombshell!

> here was a vast, perpendicular, walled cellar, nine hundred feet deep in some places, thirteen hundred in others, level-floored, and ten miles in circumference! Here was a yawning pit upon whose floor the armies of Russia could camp, and have room to spare. Perched upon the edge of the crater, at the opposite end from where we stood, was a small lookout house—say three miles away. … The greater part of the vast floor of the desert under us was as black as ink, and apparently smooth and level; but over a mile square of it was ringed and streaked and striped with a thousand branching streams of liquid and gorgeously brilliant fire! It looked like a colossal railroad map of the State of Massachusetts done in chain lightning on a midnight sky. Imagine it—imagine a coal-black sky shivered into a tangled network of angry fire!

> We reached the North Lake between ten and eleven o'clock, and sat down on a huge overhanging lava-shelf, tired but satisfied. The spectacle presented was worth coming double the distance to see. Under us, and stretching away before us, was a heaving sea of molten fire of seemingly limitless extent. The glare from it was so blinding that it was some time before we could bear to look upon it steadily. It was like gazing at the sun at noonday, except that the glare was not quite so white. At unequal distances all around the shores of the lake were nearly white-hot chimneys or hollow drums of lava, four or five feet high, and up through them were bursting gorgeous sprays of lava-gouts and gem spangles, some white, some red and some golden—a ceaseless bombardment, and one that fascinated the eye with its unapproachable splendor. The mere distant jets, sparkling up through an intervening gossamer veil of vapor, seemed miles away; and the further the curving ranks of fiery fountains receded, the more fairy-like and beautiful they appeared. Now and then the surging bosom of the lake under our noses would calm down ominously and seem to be gathering strength for an enterprise; and then all of a sudden a red dome of lava of the bulk of an ordinary dwelling would heave itself aloft like an escaping balloon, then burst asunder, and out of its heart would flit a pale-green film of vapor, and float upward and vanish in the darkness—a released soul soaring homeward from captivity with the damned, no doubt. The crashing plunge of the ruined dome into the lake again would send a world of seething billows lashing against the shores and shaking the foundations of our perch. By and by, a loosened mass of the hanging shelf we sat on tumbled into the lake, jarring the surroundings like an earthquake ( )
  breic | Jan 2, 2021 |
Fun; could have done without the racism. ( )
  AldusManutius | Jul 5, 2020 |
I’ve been Roughing It and have to say, if laughter is the best medicine, Mark Twain has saved me visits to the local sawbones. He amuses himself and us with many tall tales, plus tales that sound tall but may be true, tales that sound true but may be tall, and others one hopes surely can be trusted. I wouldn’t lay money on which are which.

That said, among his talents is giving offense. The chapters on Brigham Young and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will not be agreeable to Mormons. Blacks and Chinese aren’t often mentioned but when they appear are called names most of us reject. The Indians always come off poorly, some being described with terrible contempt, and even when they do something that favorably impresses Twain, well, it’s regarded as something akin to the mysteries of the animal kingdom.

The account is also rough on anyone believing that men of Twain’s time had better moral fiber than now. You’ll find plenty of stories here to refute the belief. The dishonesty of men assaying ore samples for gold or silver, and the scams conducted by mine speculators, were common examples. George Plimpton notes in his Intro to the Oxford edition that frontier sentiment held that “An honest judge is a son of a gun who will stay bought.” Must be a joke, one thinks, but then Twain calls policemen and politicians “the dust-licking pimps and slaves of the scum.” He’s not joking.

Christians will find Twain’s rude disposition toward their religion exercised as well, especially in his extended visit to missionary-altered Hawaii. He writes about how lucky it was for Hawaiians to be converted to a religion that would “make them permanently miserable by telling them how beautiful and how blissful a place heaven is, and how nearly impossible it is to get there…how dreary a place perdition is and what unnecessarily liberal facilities there are for going to it…what rapture it is to work all day long for fifty cents to buy food for next day with, as compared with fishing for pastime and lolling in the shade through eternal Summer, and eating of the bounty that nobody labored to provide but Nature.”

Roughing It teems with incidents, adventures, personalities, and opinions. Not each is gold. Still, someone’s reaction to this book may be a serviceable assay for how much you’ll enjoy liquoring up together at the local Wild West saloon. ( )
  dypaloh | May 12, 2019 |
It was really weird reading this book with modern eyes. Twain was a product of his time in language, but not in thought. I had to keep reminding myself of this as I read some of his essays on "non-native" (not white) Americans. He wrote to an audience that was sure of Manifest Destiny. I was also keenly aware that he sometimes played with words so that they took on a meaning that became quite clear in his later work.

Some of the essays were tedious and a couple were downright malicious. But, as a travelogue, it was brilliant overall. ( )
  authenticjoy | Mar 29, 2019 |
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Mark Twain helped to devise the personal style of American travel writing. Dry guidebook facts were not for him. He could not help turning everything he saw into literature when he trained his keen eye on foreign people and places. No matter what unusual customs he saw or monuments he climbed, he remained Mark Twain - a wised-up observer disguised as a wide-eyed innocent.
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (24 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Twain, Markautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Girling, ZoeIntroduccióautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Branch, Edgar Marquessautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Browning, Robert Packautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Salamo, Linautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Sickles, NoelIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Smith, Harriet Elinorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Wagenknecht, EdwardIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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TO
CALVIN H. HIGBIE,
Of California,
an Honest Man, a Genial Comrade, and a Steadfast Friend.
THIS BOOK IS INSCRIBED
By the Author,
In Memory of the Curious Time
When We Two
WERE MILLIONAIRES FOR TEN DAYS.
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This book is merely a personal narrative, and not a pretentious history
or a philosophical dissertation.
My brother had just been appointed Secretary of Nevada Territory - an office of such majesty that it concentrated in itself the duties and dignities of treasures, comptroller, secretary of state, and acting governor in the governor's absence.
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Two American originals, Mark Twain and the West, come together in this documentary of the author's seven-year "pleasure trip" to the silver mines of Nevada. Twain had originally planned the trip to be a three-month "vacation;" not surprisingly for someone of Twain's temperament, the trip lasted seven years. His journey, like his book, has a way of taking ever-unexpected turns.

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