What does Mark Twain mean by “Josh-lights” in Roughing It?
Carson City, Nevada
Mark Twain wrote “Josh-lights,” but should have been written as “Joss lights.” Joss is a Chinese idol. A joss stick is a perfumed stick made of wood powder and paste that is burned as incense in a temple (joss house) or, as the book illustrates, to light up a home.
Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian, board president of the Arizona Historical Society and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book isArizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen; History Press, 2015.
If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org