I’m still reading Mark Twain’s Life On the Mississippi on DailyLit (I have mentioned both book and site before). I read chapter 38 last night, and it takes the first place prize for the most sardonic thing I think I have ever read. In chapter 38, Twain describes the average “mansion” one might find on the banks of the Mississippi, and what one might find inside. I like this part in the middle of his description:
…Current number of the chaste and innocuous Godey’s ‘Lady’s Book,’ with painted fashion-plate of wax-figure women with mouths all alike–lips and eyelids the same size–each five-foot woman with a two-inch wedge sticking from under her dress and letting-on to be half of her foot. Polished air-tight stove (new and deadly invention), with pipe passing through a board which closes up the discarded good old fireplace. On each end of the wooden mantel, over the fireplace, a large basket of peaches and other fruits, natural size, all done in plaster, rudely, or in wax, and painted to resemble the originals–which they don’t. Over middle of mantel, engraving–Washington Crossing the Delaware; on the wall by the door, copy of it done in thunder-and-lightning crewels by one of the young ladies–work of art which would have made Washington hesitate about crossing, if he could have foreseen what advantage was going to be taken of it.