This unique collection of Twain’s essential short stories and semiautobiographical narratives is a testament to the author’s vast imagination. Featuring popular tales such as “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” and “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg,” as well as some delightful excerpts from The Diaries of Adam and Eve, this compilation also includes darker works written in the author’s twilight years. These selections illuminate the depth of Twain’s artistry, humor, irony, and narrative genius.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Best Short Stories of Mark Twain|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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The Best Short Stories of Mark Twain
Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog
Mr. A. Ward,
Dear Sir:-Well, I called on good-natured, garrulous old Simon Wheeler, and I inquired after your friend Leonidas W. Smiley, as you requested me to do, and I hereunto append the result. If you can get any information out of it you are cordially welcome to it. I have a lurking suspicion that your Leonidas W. Smiley is a myth-that you never knew such a personage, and that you only conjectured that if I asked old Wheeler about him it would remind him of his infamous Jim Smiley, and he would go to work and bore me nearly to death with some infernal reminiscence of him as long and tedious as it should be useless to me. If that was your design, Mr. Ward, it will gratify you to know that it succeeded.
I found Simon Wheeler dozing comfortably by the bar-room stove of the little old dilapidated tavern in the ancient mining camp of Boomerang, and I noticed that he was fat and bald-headed, and had an expression of winning gentleness and simplicity upon his tranquil countenance. He roused up and gave me good-day. I told him a friend of mine had commissioned me to make some inquiries about a cherished companion of his boyhood named Leonidas W. Smiley-Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley-a young minister of the gospel, who he had heard was at one time a resident of this village of Boomerang. I added that if Mr. Wheeler could tell me anything about this Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, I would feel under many obligations to him.
Simon Wheeler backed me into a corner and blockaded me there with his chair-and then sat down and reeled off the monotonous narrative which follows this paragraph. He never smiled, he never frowned, he never changed his voice