Reference > The Library > Helen Rex Keller > Reader’s Digest of Books

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
The Innocents Abroad
Mark Twain (1835–1910)
Innocents Abroad, The, by Mark Twain. In a vein of highly original humor this world-read book records a pleasure excursion on the Quaker City to Europe, the Holy Land, and Egypt, in the sixties. Descriptions of real events and the peoples and lands visited are enlivened by more or less fictitious dialogue and adventures. These, while absurdly amusing, always suggest the truth, stripped of hypocrisy and cant, as to how the reader “would be likely to see Europe and the East if he looked at them sincerely with his own eyes and without reverence for the past.” The side-wheel steamer Quaker City carried the now famous excursionists across from New York—touching at the Azores, described in a few rapid but wonderfully vivid strokes—and from important port to port on the other side; and waited for them during several of their inland journeys. Returning, they touched at Gibraltar, Madeira, and the Bermudas. As to the advertised “select” quality of the voyagers, a characteristic paragraph states: “Henry Ward Beecher was to have accompanied the expedition, but urgent duties obliged him to give up the idea. There were other passengers who might have been spared better, and would have been spared more willingly. Lieutenant-General Sherman was to have been one of the party also, but the Indian war compelled his presence on the plains. A popular actress had entered her name on the ship’s books, but something interfered, and she couldn’t go. The “Drummer Boy of the Potomac” deserted; and lo, we had never a celebrity left!”  1

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