Nine tales showcase Twain's wit as he skewers greed and hypocrisy-and makes a memorable, tormenting statement on evil.
"A shrewd, timely thriller that opens the heart of the Vatican." -Chicago Tribune" Daniel Silva has now indisputably joined the ranks of Graham Greene and John Le Carr." -Washingtonian -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 28, 2004
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Excerpt from The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories by Mark Twain
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
IN compliance with the request of a friend of mine, who wrote me from the East, I called on good-natured, garrulous old Simon Wheeler, and inquired after my friend's friend, Leonidas W. Smiley, as requested to do, and I hereunto append the result. I have a lurking suspicion that Leonidas W. Smiley is a myth; that my friend never knew such a personage; and that he 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 the desig certainly succeeded.
I found Simon Wheeler dozing comfortably by the barroom stove of the old, dilapidated tavern in the ancient mining camp of Angel's, 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 Angel's Camp. I added that, if Mr. Wheeler could tell me anything about this Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, I would feel under many obligations to him.