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    comic writing of Mark Twain

    Dear all,

    I read about Mark Twain's comic writing and his famous article "A Gallant Fireman":

    It reported that a member of the newspaper’s staff had saved ‘the broom, an old mallet, the wash-pan and a dirty towel’ and then ran to
    safety with them, declaring, on his return, ‘If that thar fire hadn’t bin put out, thar’d a’ bin the greatest confirmation of the age!’

    Does "confirmation" refer to a Christian rite? I don't get the joke. Can anybody explain it for me?

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    Re: comic writing of Mark Twain

    not a teacher

    He should have said "conflagration", not "confirmation".
    The joke is in the use of a word that is incorrect but similar-sounding to the intended one. This is called a malapropism.

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    Re: comic writing of Mark Twain

    I don't think so. I think he was making a comment on the items that they chose to save when rushing out of a burning building. If the fire had continued, these items would have been all that was left.

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