The title of this essay has it right - these are just a series of stories about a trip that Twain and some friends took to Bermuda from New York City. Twain wrote this for "The Atlantic" in 1877 and his wry style makes him an excellent travel companion.
In reality, Twain's story of the trip is the story of the people he meets along the way. Most of the stories are humorous, some are duds and about an equal number are quite funny. I won't forget the story about the town with the cat situation for quite a while.
Twain on Bermuda:
"We never met a man, or woman, or child anywhere in this sunny island who seemed to be unprosperous, or discontented, or sorry about anything. This sort of monotony became very tiresome presently, and even something worse. The spectacle of an entire nation groveling in contentment is an infuriating thing."
Twain on modern communication:
"The Bermudians are hoping soon to have telegraphic communication with the world. But even after they shall have acquired this curse it will still be a good country to go to for a vacation, for there are charming little islets scattered about the enclosed sea where one could live secure from interruption. The telegraph-boy would have to come in a boat, and one could easily kill him while he was making his landing."
Can you imagine what he'd say about cell phones, text messages and Twitter?
I rate this essay 4 stars out of 5.
Reviewed May 29, 2009.