Harness Maker Was Sure Holliday Hill Was Never Smaller.
The following story is told of Twain's experience on his last visit to this city:
"When Mark arose to begin his lecture he sought to win early applause by indulging a few reminiscences.
"In returning to Hannibal I do not feel that I am among strangers,' he said with a drawl, "for I played here as a boy. It seems as if I had known Hannibal since the beginning. Why my dear fellow citizens, I can remember when Holliday's Hill was no bigger than an ash pile and Ol John Lennox could not speak above a whisper."
"A few titters came shatteringly from the audience, but John Stavely ( an old harness maker) gazed blankly at the humorist, and then his brow wrinkled in scorn. At the close of the lecture Stavely stopped at the nearest street corner to express his opinion of the author of "The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."
"I've known Sam Clemens ever since he was a boy, and he always was a liar, but he's a bigger liar than ever." said the incredulous Stavely. "I was here in this very town before Sam Clemens ever heard of it, and Holliday's Hill then was as big as it is now, and Old John Lennox never saw the day when he whispered."