Monday, August 27, 2007

Eve's Diary

Have you ever read Eve's Diary by Mark Twain? For some reason it popped into my head today--another one of those "stuck in the mental drain" moments--and I went digging through the random piles of books here looking for it. No luck, but thanks to Project Gutenberg, I found this nice illustrated edition online.

It's not really Twain at his best--it's soft-headed, and just hopelessly precious at times, especially in the beginning. Fortunately, the strained wit slowly gives way to a sweet tenderness that I find irresistible. I always have a little catch in my throat at the end. If you can't bear the romance, you can read it as an interesting expression of what passed for progressive ideas about gender in Twain's day. But I bet it gets to you.

If I ask myself why I love him, I find I do not know, and do not really much care to know; so I suppose that this kind of love is not a product of reasoning and statistics, like one's love for other reptiles and animals. I think that this must be so. I love certain birds because of their song; but I do not love Adam on account of his singing—no, it is not that; the more he sings the more I do not get reconciled to it. Yet I ask him to sing, because I wish to learn to like everything he is interested in. I am sure I can learn, because at first I could not stand it, but now I can. It sours the milk, but it doesn't matter; I can get used to that kind of milk.

From Eve's Diary by Mark Twain, Harper & Brothers, 1906. Illustrated by Lester Ralph.

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