January 1, 2016. (Posted January 29, 2016.)
From American Vandal: Mark Twain Abroad by Roy Morris Jr.
Between three performances in the siege towns, [Twain and his wife and daughter] found time to visit another famous Indian site, the Taj Mahal, at nearby Agra. Twain pronounced himself disappointed in the palace. “I knew all the time, that of its kind it was the wonder of the world, with no competitor now and no possible future competitor,” he complained, “and yet, it was not my Taj. My Taj had been built by excitable literary people; it was solidly lodged in my head, I could not blast it out.” He amused himself by quoting other travel writers on the Taj Mahal and counting up their common phrases. “Language,” he mused, “is a treacherous thing, a most unsure vehicle, and it can seldom arrange descriptive words in such a way that it will not inflate the facts.”