Gleanings From The Past #39


Color Blind

The crier employed by an auctioneer in Portsmouth, among other articles, cried white silk stockings, of all colors.

Chaplet of Comus, 1811

Precise Pronunciation

A gentleman of the bar in Ireland walking one day with a friend, who was extremely precise in pronunciation, the latter hearing a person near him say curosity for curiosity, exclaimed, “How that fellow murders the English language! ”

“Not so bad,” said the other; “he has only knocked an I out.”

The Theatrical Olio, 1798

Complaint Letter

Hartford, Feb. 12, 1891

Dear Sirs:

Some day you will move me almost to the verge of irritation by your chuckleheaded Goddamned fashion of shutting your Goddamned gas off without giving any notice to your Goddamned parishioners. Several times you have come within an ace of smothering half of this household in their beds & blowing up the other half by this idiotic, not to say criminal, custom of yours. And it has happened again to-day. Haven’t you a telephone?

S Clemens

— Mark Twain’s letter to Hartford City Gas Light Co. when they shut off their service in the middle of winter without prior warning, cited in Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1915

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

7 thoughts on “Gleanings From The Past #39

  1. You are so bright and extremely Intelligent. I love to read your posts. I am new here so I have a ways to go but It’s quite refreshing to see others share things that most don’t even think about or know.


  2. In this same year 1891 when Mark Twain wrote this Goddamn letter, he headed for Europe where he was going to live for years to come, beginning in Berlin later on in Vienna. Maybe the City Gas light company made one mistake too much which lead him to such harsh decision leaving home in Hartford? Naaah, just kidding!


  3. I knew there was a reason I liked Mark Twain. You can hear the irritation and exasperation in his letter, not to mention detect the shade of humor for which he is known in his writing.


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