Life on the Mississippi (Google eBook)

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Harper, 1901 - Mississippi River - 465 pages
35 Reviews

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I love Mark Twain's writing. - Goodreads
Otherwise, it was hard to read. - Goodreads
Life absolutely excels in characterization. - Goodreads

Review: Life on the Mississippi

User Review  - John Valesano - Goodreads

The first half of the book is an enjoyable autobiographical sketch of Mark Twains early life in traing to become a river boat pilot. It relates the peak of the steamboat commerce on the Mississippi ... Read full review

Review: Life on the Mississippi

User Review  - Karen Chung - Goodreads

This is my favorite Twain work so far. I find with Twain that the more he is telling the truth, the more I like a work. I'm just not as crazy about his outlandish fictional concoctions. This book has ... Read full review

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Page 31 - ... shingleshavings enough around to show what broke them down; a sow and a litter of pigs loafing along the sidewalk, doing a good business in watermelon rinds and seeds; two or three lonely little freight piles scattered about the "levee"; a pile of "skids...
Page 30 - WHEN I was a boy, there was but one permanent ambition among my comrades in our village* on the west bank of the Mississippi River. That was, to be a steamboatman. We had transient ambitions of other sorts, but they were only transient.
Page 31 - ... wharf. Assembled there, the people fasten their eyes upon the coming boat as upon a wonder they are seeing for the first time. And the boat is rather a handsome sight, too. She is long and sharp and trim and pretty; she has two tall, fancy-topped chimneys, with a gilded device of some kind swung between them; a fanciful pilot-house, all glass and "gingerbread...
Page 72 - No, the romance and the beauty were all gone from the river. All the value any feature of it had for me now was the amount of usefulness it could furnish toward compassing the safe piloting of a steamboat. Since those days, I have pitied doctors from my heart. What does the lovely flush in a beauty's cheek mean to a doctor but a "break" that ripples above some deadly disease?
Page 34 - Louis wharf, and humbly inquired for the pilots, but got only a cold shoulder and short words from mates and clerks. I had to make the best of this sort of treatment for the time being, but I had comforting day-dreams of a future when I should be a great and honored pilot, with plenty of money, and could kill some of these mates and clerks and pay for them.
Page 32 - ... and the texas deck are fenced and ornamented with clean white railings; there is a flag gallantly flying from the jack-staff ; the furnace doors are open and the fires glaring bravely ; the upper decks are black with passengers ; the captain stands by the big bell, calm, imposing, the envy of all...
Page 33 - At last he turned up as apprentice engineer or " striker " on a steamboat. This thing shook the bottom out of all my Sunday-school teachings. That boy had been notoriously worldly, and I just the reverse; yet he was exalted to this eminence, and I left in obscurity and misery. There was nothing generous about this fellow in his greatness. He would always manage to have a rusty bolt to scrub while his boat tarried at our town, and he would sit on the inside guard and scrub it, where we all could see...
Page 70 - In truth, the passenger who could not read this book saw nothing but all manner of pretty pictures in it, painted by the sun and shaded by the clouds, whereas to the trained eye these were not pictures at all, but the grimmest and most dead-earnest of reading-matter.
Page 53 - Island crossing before night, we could venture the rest, for we would have plainer sailing and better water. But it would be insanity to attempt Hat Island at night. So there was a deal of looking at watches all the rest of the day, and a constant ciphering upon the speed we were making. Hat Island was the eternal subject; sometimes hope was high and sometimes we were delayed in a bad crossing, and down it went again. For hours all hands lay under the burden of this suppressed excitement. It was...
Page 325 - Then comes Sir Walter Scott with his enchantments, and by his single might checks this wave of progress, and even turns it back; sets the world in love with dreams and phantoms; with decayed and swinish forms of religion; with decayed and degraded systems of government; with the sillinesses and emptinesses, sham grandeurs, sham gauds, and sham chivalries of a brainless and worthless long- vanished society. He did measureless harm; more real and lasting harm, perhaps, than any other individual that...

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