This morning after reading a quote from Mark Twain put forth by a reader of the SI blog, we hurriedly trooped over to the local library and picked up the renowned American author’s Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World, Vol 2.
Because the book details Mark Twain’s experiences in India.
In the course of his long journeys around the world, Mark Twain dropped anchor at several ports.
In late December 1895, he set sail from Sydney for Ceylon.
And after a brief stop of just a day in Colombo, Twain left for India on January 14.
Sailing on the rickety ship Rosetta, Mark Twain reached the glorious chaos capital of the world that is Bombay on the evening of January 18, 1896 (or maybe, it was finally January 20 before he stepped on Indian soil).
Here’s the American author writing about XXXXXXX in his early days in Bombay:
He has been reincarnated more times than Shiva; and he has kept a sample of each incarnation, and fused it into his constitution. In the course of his evolutionary promotions, his sublime march toward ultimate perfection, he has been a gambler, a low comedian, a dissolute priest, a fussy woman, a blackguard, a scoffer, a liar, a thief, a spy, an informer, a trading politician, a swindler, a professional hypocrite, a patriot for cash, a reformer, a lecturer, a lawyer, a conspirator, a rebel, a royalist, a democrat, a practicer and propagator of irreverence, a meddler, an intruder, a busybody, an infidel, and a wallower in sin for the mere love of it. The strange result, the incredible result, of this patient accumulation of all damnable traits is, that he does not know what care is, he does not know what sorrow is, he does not know what remorse is; his life is one long thundering ecstasy of happiness, and he will go to his death untroubled, knowing that he will soon turn up again as an author or something, and be even more intolerably capable and comfortable than ever he was before.
Now let’s see if you folks can guess who Mark Twain is talking about in the above excerpt.