Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

Scrap Book
Mark Twain
contents: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Roughing It 1860-1864
select:
Homepage
Learn More
Filmmakers



People in the West
 
 

The game of billiards has destroyed my naturally sweet disposition. Once, when I was an underpaid reporter in Virginia City, whenever I wished to play billiards I went out to look for an easy mark. One day a stranger came to town and opened a billiard parlor. I looked him over casually. When he proposed a game, I answered, “All right.”

“Just knock the balls around a little so that I can get your gait,” he said; and when I had done so, he remarked: “I will be perfectly fair with you. I'll play you left-handed.” I felt hurt, for he was cross-eyed, freckled, and had red hair, and I determined to teach him a lesson. He won first shot, ran out, took my half-dollar, and all I got was the opportunity to chalk my cue.

“If you can play like that with your left hand,” I said, “I’d like to see you play with your right.”

“I can’t,” he said. “I’m left-handed.”

Mark Twain “Billiards” speech, 1906

Video Real Video: 56k | 220k  
Hal Holbrook, “It’s okay, we’re all nuts!”

Illustration of People in the West
Illustration by True Williams
from Roughing It
Illustration of People in the West
Gold Hunters in Carson City, Nevada
Courtesy of Brown Brothers
 
 
Next