From the standpoint of the man of letters, the evolution of Mark Twain from a journeyman printer to a great author, from a merry-andrew to a world-humorist, from a river-pilot to a trustworthy navigator on the vast and uncharted seas of human experience, may be taken as symbolic of the romance of American life.
His merry-Andrew of a host made festival when they at last came to his dwelling; lit a great fire upon the hearth, brewed him a drink that warmed him to the core, brought wheaten loaves and set a bit of savoury meat to turning on the spit. "Ho, ho!" he laughed. "They say it is an ill wind that blows good to none. Now thou dost prove the proverb.
But that she should excite such heart-throbs, that she should evoke such phantoms with nothing but her beauty, her flowers, her motley costume, and a certain trick of dancing she had learned from some merry-andrew; and that without a word, without a thought, without even appearing to know it! What was chaos, if it required seven days to make such a being?
But that she should excite such heart-throbs, that she should evoke such fantoms with nothing but her beauty, her flowers, her motley costume, and a certain trick of turning she had learned from some merry-andrew; and that without a word, without a thought, without even appearing to know it! What was chaos if it required seven days to transform it?
"I wouldn't wear them if you were to give them. I hope I have some proper pride." "Pride of the most proper sort," said Kathleen, dancing before her. "And I do hope, also, that you won't make yourself a merry-andrew or a figure of fun at the Weldons' to-night. It will be in extremely bad taste.
It seems to prove that his business had not always been that of a mere harlequin or merry-andrew whose only care was that the revelry should run high and the fun grow fast and furious, while the fire blazed and crackled on the hearth, while the streets swarmed with festive crowds, and through the clear frosty air, far away to the north, Soracte showed his coronal of snow.
They could plead more powerfully than the lips, and Frau von Eschenhagen, who yielded to no one, from her only son to the lowest tenant on the estate, permitted herself to be persuaded by them now. "You are incorrigible, you merry-andrew" she said, brushing the curls from his forehead.
If you choose, however, to remember, my young man" The merry-andrew was here at my side, and I deemed it most prudent to drop a few sous into his cap, and effect my escape. The crowd understood the jest, and laughed heartily. One of them, however, of more decent appearance, made me a very pleasing apology, repeating at the same time a French proverb that a pope and a mountebank were above all law.
To the crowd, which has too many heads to have a thought, and too many eyes to have a sight to the crowd who, superficial themselves, judge only of the surface, Gwynplaine was a clown, a merry-andrew, a mountebank, a creature grotesque, a little more and a little less than a beast. The crowd knew only the face.
The tenth volume of the Extra Series of the Early English Text Society is wholly devoted to Borde, and well repays perusal, although probably few who read it will agree with Mr. Furnivall, the editor, that "any one who would make him more of a merry-andrew than anything else is a bigger fool than he would make Borde."