The Backwoods Bull In The Boston China Shop

Before the assembled great of literary New England Mark Twain rose to poke gentle fun at their pretensions. Would they laugh, or was he laying an egg?

At seven o’clock on the evening of December 17, 1877, fifty-eight men gathered in the east dining room of the Brunswick Hotel in Boston to attack one of those gigantic meals which deserve to be regarded as a Victorian art form. The diners had been invited by H. O. Houghton, publisher of the Atlantic Monthly, to celebrate the seventieth birthday of the austere Quaker poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, who had been a frequent contributor to the magazine since the first issue twenty years before.

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