Mark Twain’s “The Loves of Alonzo Fitz Clarence and Rosannah Ethelton”

“How wonderful it is! Two little hours ago I was a free man, and now my heart’s in San Francisco!”

In “The Loves of Alonzo Fitz Clarence and Rosannah Ethelton”, Mark Twain gives us another hilarious situation involving technology. This time it’s that new fangled thing called a telephone.


With Alonzo in Maine on a boring snowy day, he uses the new invention to call his Aunt Susan in San Francisco. While talking, Alonzo overhears an almost lovely singing voice (a few notes are flat) and inquires as to who it might be. This is the start of a beautiful relationship between Alonzo and Ronsannah Ethelton – even though they can’t see each other.

The biggest laughs come when Twain gives lengthy descriptions of what each party is wearing even though we know they can’t see each other. In another instance someone picks up the phone and pretends to be someone else giving the relationship its first little bump in the road.

I’ll leave the ultimate resolution of the relationship to anyone who might want to read this story themselves.