Mark Twain Stunned Speechless

‘Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by the Sieur Louis de Conte’ a 1896 novel by Mark Twain on the Life of Joan of Arc

On a December night in 1905, the New York City chapter of the Society of Illustrators managed to do something many thought impossible. With one calculated stroke they left Mark Twain, author and noted quipster, speechless.

The writer had just risen to address the group. As he began to speak, a girl emerged from the back of the room. Her hair was cropped just below her ears; her face was angular but radiant. Underneath a ceremonial white robe, she wore the armor of a 15th-century French soldier. With eyes fixed on the author, she glided up the aisle between the tables carrying a laurel wreath atop a satin pillow.

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