Levee Scene, Hannibal
MARK TWAIN AND BEN ELY:
Two Missouri Boyhoods
BY CURTIS DAHL*
Mark Twain's telling satire in Chapter XX of Huckleberry Finn
of the camp meeting at Pokesville, like Johnson Jones Hooper's
earlier satire in Some Adventures of Captain Suggs (1845), is so
effective that the modern reader is likely to think of all mid-
nineteenth-century camp meetings in terms of hypocrisy, swindling
and love making. It is valuable, then, to hear the other side of
the argument, to see a Missouri camp meeting at the time of Mark
* Curtis Dahl is Samuel Valentine Cole Professor of English Literature at
Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts. He received the A.B., A.M. and Ph.D.
degrees from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, and is a great-grandson
of the first Ben Ezra Stiles Ely.