February 1, 2011
Nevada's Online State News Journal
[Dan DeQuille, Reporting with Mark Twain, The Californian Illustrated Magazine, July 1893]
REPORTING WITH MARK TWAIN.
BY DAN DE QUILLE.
IT was in the early days of the Comstock, just when the great boom in silver mining had fairly commenced, that I first met Samuel L. Clemens, now better known as " Mark Twain." It was in the clays when " Washoe " was still the popular name of all the silver mining regions of Nevada. Mr. Clemens had been engaged in prospecting at Aurora, Esmeralda County (then a lively camp) whence he sent to the Territorial Enterprise, of Virginia City, some humorous letters signed " Josh." The Enterprise was then not only the leading paper of " Silverland," but also was one of the liveliest and most prosperous newspapers on the Pacific Coast.
I had been at work on the Enterprise about two years, when, in December, 1862, I concluded to take a trip to the "States," whereupon the proprietors of the paper—J. T. Goodman and D. E. McCarthy—engaged " Josh " (Mr. Clemens) to come in from Aurora and take a position on their paper as reporter. I was absent from the Comstock about nine months—on the Plains and in the States—and when I returned, Mr. Clemens had shed his nom de plume of " Josh " and taken that which he still retains and has made famous. Mark did not much relish the work of writing reports of mines and mining affairs, and for that reason, and because of the boom in business and rush of events demanding reportorial notice, I was asked to return " post-haste " and resume work on the paper—everything being, as my letter of recall said, " red-hot."
I found things " red-hot " indeed. Reaching San Francisco in the evening after dark, the first news I heard, even before our steamer had reached the wharf, was that Virginia City was on fire and was being " wiped out." At once there was great excitement, for a score or more of " Washoe " people were on board the vessel. Upon landing we rushed to the newspaper offices and there heard that the town was still burning. I also learned that there had been a big fight among the firemen and that some of my friends and acquaintances had been killed and wounded. It was midnight before we heard that the fire was under control, and I then ascertained, to my great relief, that the Enterprise office had escaped, while all about it had been destroyed.
Thus I " resumed business at the old stand " in the thick of red-hot times—in the midst of flames and war. It was also in the midst of the cutting and shooting days—the days of stage, robberies, of mining fights, wonderful finds of ore, and all manner of excitements. As may be imagined, Mark and I had our hands full, and no grass grew under our feet. There was a constant rush of startling events ; they came tumbling over one another as though playing at leap-frog. While a stage robbery was being written up, a shooting affray started; and perhaps before the pistol shots had ceased to echo among the surrounding hills, the firebells were banging out an alarm.
The crowding of the whole population into that part of the town which had escaped the fire led to many bloody battles. Fighters, sports and adventurers, burned out of their old haunts, thronged the saloons and gaming houses remaining, where many of them were by no means welcome visitors ; and as in the case of cats in strange garrets, battles were of nightly
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occurrence. Everybody was armed, and no man threw away his life by making an attack with his fists.
Mark and I agreed well in our work, which we divided when there was a rush of events, but we often cruised in company—he taking the items of news he could best handle, and I such as I felt myself competent to work up. However, we wrote at the same table and frequently helped each other with such suggestions as occurred to us during the brief consultations we held, in regard to the handling of any matters of importance. Never was there an angry word between us in all the time we worked together.
Mark Twain, as a reporter, was earnest and enthusiastic in such work as suited him—really industrious—but when it came to " cast-iron " items, he gave them " a lick, and a promise." He hated to have to do with figures, measurements and solid facts, such as were called for in matters pertaining to mines and machinery.
Mark displayed a peculiarity when at work that was very detrimental to the integrity of office property. In case he wished to clip an item or a paragraph out of a paper, and could not at once lay his hand upon his scissors, he would cut out the required matter with his knife, at the same time slashing into the baize covering of the table. His end of the cover was so mutilated that little was left of the original cloth. In its place appeared what might have passed for a representation of the polar star, spiritedly darting forth a thousand rays. Some years ago, when at Mark's house in Hartford, I found myself almost unconsciously examining the top of the fine writing desk in his library for evidences of his old knife-slashing habit, but did not find so much as a scratch.
Mark Twain was pretty apt in sketching in a rude way, and when reporting meetings where there were long waits, or uninteresting debates, he would cover the margins of his copy paper with drawings. When reporting the meetings of the Board of Aldermen, where there was often much tedious talk, he would frequently make sketches illustrative of the subjects under discussion. Some of his off-hand sketches were very good—good in the same way that a pun is sometimes good, though farfetched and ridiculous. I have forgotten the subjects of most of these pencil sketches. I recall one, however that might have been labeled " The Captured Menagerie." There had been some trouble about collecting city license from a menagerie (it had paid county license) and the matter came up before the Board of Aldermen. Mark was amused at the talk of what could be done and what would be done with the show and showmen if the license was not paid at once, and so he pictured it all out. He depicted the City Marshal leading away the elephant by its trunk, and the Mayor mounted upon a giraffe which he had captured, while one policeman had a lion by the tail, and another had captured a rhinoceros. Others still had shouldered kangaroos, strings of monkeys and the like.
This was about his best effort, and after writing, out his report of the meeting, he kept his sheets of notes for some, time, working up and improving the several pictures. At his home in Hartford, Mark sometimes dabbles in oil colors, he having taken lessons in art since the Comstock days: He " points with pride" to the curly head of a dove-colored bull on an easel in his library, and hints that the best effects were all achieved without the assistance of his teacher.
Mark Twain was fond of manufacturing items of the horrible style, but on one occasion he overdid this business, and the disease worked its own cure. He wrote an account of a terrible murder, supposed to have occurred at " Dutch Nick's," a station on the Carson River, where Empire City now stands. He made a man cut his wife's throat and those of his nine children, after which dia-
172 REPORTING WITH MARK TWAIN.
bolical deed the murderer mounted his horse, cut his own throat from ear to ear, rode to Carson City (a distance of three and a half miles) and fell dead in front of Pete Hopkins' saloon.
All the California papers copied the item, and several made editorial comment upon it as being the most shocking occurrence of the kind ever known on the Pacific Coast. Of course rival Virginia City papers at once denounced the item as a " cruel and idiotic hoax." They showed how the publication of such " shocking and reckless falsehoods" disgraced and injured the State, and they made it as " sultry " as possible for the Enterprise and its " fool reporter."
When the California papers saw all this and found they had been sold, there was a howl from Siskiyou to San Diego. Some papers demanded the immediate discharge of the author of the item by the Enterprise proprietors. They said they would never quote another line from that paper while the reporter who wrote the shocking item remained on its force. All this worried Mark as I had never before seen him worried. Said he : " I am being burned alive on both sides of the mountains." We roomed together, and one night when the persecution was hottest, he was so distressed that he could not sleep. He tossed, tumbled and groaned aloud. So I set to work to comfort him. " Mark," said I, " never mind this bit of a gale, it will soon blow itself out. This item of yours will be remembered and talked about when all your other work is forgotten. The murder at Dutch Nick's will be quoted years from now as the big sell of these times."
Said Mark : " I believe you are right; I remember I once did a thing at home in Missouri, was caught at it and worried almost to death. I was a mere lad and was going to school in a little town where I had an uncle living. I at once left the town and did not return to it for three years. When I finally came back I found I was only remembered as the boy that played the trick on the schoolmaster.' "
Mark then told me the story, began to laugh over it, and from that moment " ceased to groan." He was not discharged, and in less than a month people everywhere were laughing and joking about the " murder at Dutch Nick's."
When Mark wrote the item he read it over to me, and I asked him how he was going to wind it up so as to make it plain that it was a mere invention.
" Oh, it is wound up now," was the reply. " It is all plain enough. I have said that the family lived in a little cabin at the edge of the great pine forest near Dutch Nick's, when everybody knows there's not a pine tree within ten miles of Nick's. Then I make the man ride nearly four miles
REPORTING WITH MARK TWAIN. 173
after he has cut his throat from ear to ear, when any fool must see that he would fall dead in a moment."
But the people were all so shocked at first with the wholesale throat-cutting that they did not stop to think of these points. Mark's whole object in writing the story was to make the murderer go to Pete Hopkins' saloon and fall dead in front of it—Pete having in some way offended him. I could never quite see how this was to hurt Pete Hopkins. Mark probably meant to insinuate that the murderer had been rendered insane by the kind of liquor sold over the Hopkins' bar, or that he was one of Pete's bosom friends.
To-day not one man in a hundred in Nevada can remember anything written by Mark Twain while he was connected with the Enterprise, except this one item in regard to the shocking murder at Dutch Nick's ; all else is forgotten, even by his oldest and most intimate friends.
First and last, many newspapers, daily and weekly, have been published in Virginia City. The life of one of these was so short, however, that only a few persons are now aware that it ever had an existence. It opened its eyes to the light only to close them again forever. This was the Occidental, an eight-page weekly literary paper, started by Hon. Tom Fitch, the " Silver-tongued Orator of Nevada." But one number of the paper was issued. The good die young—the Occidental was good. Why the paper died as soon as born I never exactly knew, but think it would be safe to say that all the " powder " in the magazine was used up in the first shot.
Twain and I were rooming together at the time in what was known as the " Daggett building," a large brick structure where there were many lodgers. Tom Fitch and family were our across-the-hall neighbors. Of course we were informed in regard to Tom's newspaper venture and took a lively interest in all his literary plans. The paper was intended to constitute a sort of safety valve for the red-hot and hissing Comstock literary boiler. Writers on the other papers, and writers at large were to contribute to its columns.
In the number of this paper that was published a romance was commenced that was to have been continued almost indefinitely. At least, in discussing the plan of it nothing was ever said about how it was to be ended, and had the story been carried forward in accordance with the original plan, it would have been one of the curiosities of literature, and probably running yet.
Hon. R. M. Daggett, late Minister to the Hawaiian Islands, wrote the opening chapters of the story. A striking character in the story, as begun by Mr. Daggett, was an old hermit, " reported a Rosycrucian," who dwelt in a partially subterranean castle, situated in a dark and secret mountain gorge, where " in the dead waist and middle of the night " smoke and flames were to be seen issuing from his chimneys while lights-—red, blue and green—flashed up in his heavily-barred windows. The building had no visible door—all was solid masonry—and the person viewing it from the outside could only imagine a subterranean entrance, which no man could discover, " for the dews that dripped all over."
The old white-haired alchemist, had a pupil, of course, and this pupil was the hero of the romance, as it was begun by Mr. Daggett. In the great outside world dwelt the heroine, who started out—began business—as a very lovable young lady. The opening was full of mystery, and was very interesting. Mr. Daggett left the hero in a position of such peril that it seemed impossible he could be rescued, except through means and wisdom more than human.
Mrs. Tom Fitch was to have written the chapters for the next number of the paper ; she would have been followed by Mark Twain, and he, in due
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course, by J. T. Goodman, Tom Fitch and myself, when Mr. Daggett would again come in and take up the thread of the exciting tale.
Each person would have been obliged to extricate the hero, heroine (or any other useful character) from whatever sad predicament the writer preceding him might have devised, and would have aimed to puzzle the one who was to follow him. It would have been a sort of literary game of chess.
It was thought that Mrs. Fitch would respect Daggett's lovely heroine, and carry her along in unsullied beauty of both person and soul ; but Mark Twain was sharpening his scalping knife for her. The old Rosycrucian was Daggett's pet. He wanted to carry the old fellow all through the story, but was afraid Mrs. Fitch would find him unmanageable, and would roast him in one of his own furnaces. In case she did anything of the kind Mr. Daggett was resolved to take a terrible revenge when he got hold of her pet character—he would do " a deed that the ibis and the crocodile would tremble at."
Although Mark and I had promised to let Mr. Daggett's old hermit live, we had secretly conjured up a demon fiddler who was to make his appearance in the mysterious barred castle at critical moments, and with "rosined bow " torment both the " quivering string" and the old alchemist. In case Daggett provided the old fellow with some spell sufficiently potent to " lay " the fiddler, we intended to introduce into the secret laboratory a spectral owl that should worry the occupant by watching his every movement ; and following the owl we would send the whole progeny of devils—aerial, aquatic and terrestial—said to have been born of Adam's first wife, Lilis.
Mrs. Fitch and her lady friends and advisers doubtless had their plans for " warming " Mark and all the rest of us. However, with the death of the Occidental all passed away into the realms of nothingness, " wie ein schatten vergehen "—as a shadow goes.
The story of the presentation to Mark Twain of a bogus meerschaum pipe has often been told, but in most instances without touching upon that which was the fine point of the whole affair. Major Steve Gillis, C. A. V. Putnam, D. E. McCarthy and several other newspaper men " put up a job " to present Mark an imitation meerschaum pipe. They selected one they knew he would not like because of its shape, had its German silver mounting polished up, and on this the inscription, " To Mark Twain, from his Friends " was neatly engraved. A cherry stein about a yard long, with a genuine amber mouth-piece was procured, and the present was ready. The presentation was to take place on a Saturday night, " after the paper was up," at Harris' saloon, in Maguire's Opera House. Charley Pope, now proprietor of a theater in St. Louis, Mo., was then playing at the Opera House, and he was engaged to make the presentation speech. All this being arranged, I said to Mark one night after we had gone to bed : " Mark, I don't know that I ought to tell you, but the boys are going to make you a present of a fine meerschaum pipe next Saturday night. Charley Pope is to make the presentation speech, and as it will doubtless be rather fine, I have thought it best to post you, in order that you may think up a suitable reply."
Mark thanked me most cordially for " giving the business away "—not once suspecting that the " boys " had made it my part to thus thoroughly post him, in order that we might all have the fun of watching him in his effort to convey the impression that the presentation was a genuine surprise.
This was really the point, and the " big sell " of the whole affair. Even Charley Pope was aware that Mark had been fully posted, therefore to us all it was deliciously ridiculous to observe Mark's pretended " unawareness."
REPORTING WITH MARK TWAIN. 175
From the moment of our assembling, until the ceremonies ended, every eye was fixed upon him, watching every shade of expression on his countenance.
Even with the " enticing " of Mark down to the Opera House saloon, the fun began, as he assumed a certain degree of coyness, pretending to hold back, and could n't " see why we wanted him to go there." When our victim and all the conspirators had been assembled for some time round the center-table in a private parlor of the saloon, Charley Pope made his appearance. Mark seemed surprised at seeing him enter the room.
Mr. Pope carried under his arm, wrapped in a newspaper, a bundle about a yard in length. Advancing to the table he proceeded to unroll the bundle, producing a ridiculous looking pipe, with a straight bowl about five inches high, and about a yard of blue ribbon floating from the stem.
" That is a mighty fine pipe you have there, Charley," said Mark in an off-hand, unconcerned tone of voice.
Mr. Pope made no reply, but throwing the newspapers upon the floor held the pipe aloft by the middle of the stem, as in the great paintings of the presentation of the Pipe of Peace, and began his speech with : " Mr. Clemens, on behalf of your friends and admirers, those you see here assembled and many others, I present you this magnificent meerschaum pipe as a slight," etc., etc.
Mr. Pope spoke about twenty minutes, making a really admirable speech. In parts it was very feeling, and again it was witty and jolly. Of course we applauded it from Alpha to Omega.
Then Mark Twain arose. In his hand he held the mighty calumet. He was sorry that he would be unable fittingly to reply to a speech so able and excellent as that of Mr. Pope—a speech that had touched his heart and stirred in his bosom feelings he could not find words to express. But the truth was that he had been taken by surprise. The presentation was a thing wholly unexpected.
He then launched forth into what we all knew was his prepared speech. He began with the introduction of tobacco into England by Sir Walter Raleigh, and wound up with George Washington. Just how he managed to bring in the " Father of His Country " I have forgotten ; but he had him there in the wind-up, and showed him off to good advantage.
Often the thunders of applause brought him to a halt. He was made to feel that he was a success. Then he called for " sparkling Moselle "—no other wine would do him—and before the session was over six bottles, at five dollars a bottle, had vanished.
A day or two afterwards a printer let the cat out of the bag—told Mark his pipe was a " mere-sham." Mark had suspected as much. Even on the night of the presentation, before we had consumed more than two of the six bottles of Moselle, I had detected him inspecting the bowl of the pipe with a sort of reproachful look in his eye.
I was alone in the " local room," one day, when Mark suddenly made his appearance with the pipe in his hand. He locked the door on the inside and put the key in his pocket. " I want to know from you, now," said he, " whether this pipe is bogus ? "
" It is just as bogus as they make 'em," said I.
" Did you know that when you capped me into preparing a speech ? "
" Certainly. That was where the fun came in."
" Et tu Brute ! " said Mark in a hollow voice ; then he began to pace the room with his face on his breast.
I told Mark to take it easy and say nothing, as a really fine pipe—one that cost $45—was back of the bogus one and would be given him without ceremony or cost. Mark then subsided, but was by no means satisfied with the business. However, years after he told me that he thought more of the
176 REPORTING WITH MARK TWAIN.
bogus pipe than he did of the genuine one. Like his Dutch Nick item, time ripened it.
At the time Mark Twain was on the Enterprise he wrote no long stories or sketches for that paper. Occasionally, however, he sent a sketch to the Golden Era, of San Francisco. After going to San Francisco he was for a time regularly employed on one or two papers, then wrote sketches and did piece-work of various kinds. He did not much like reporting in the " City by the Sea." For a long time after going down to San Francisco he wrote a weekly letter to the Enterprise in which he gave such chat as would not be sent by telegraph—chat made up in good part of personals in regard to the doings of Comstockers at the "Bay," the humors of the stock market and the like.
In 1865, Mark Twain grew tired of a life of literary drudgery in San Francisco and went up into the mining regions of Calaveras County to rusticate and rejuvenate with some old friends—Steve, Billy and Jim Gillis. The cabin of Jim Gillis is, and always has been a friendly place of retreat in the mountain wilds for writers desirous of respite from the vanities and vexations of spirit incident to a life of literary labor in San Francisco. At his cabin the latch-string is always on the outside. Many are the well-known California writers who have at various times been sojourners in the hospitable mountain home of Jim Gillis. His cabin is a sort of Bohemian infirmary. There the sick are made well, and the well are made better—physically, mentally and morally.
Mark Twain found life pleasant in this literary mountain retreat. He found the Bohemian style of mining practiced by the " Gillis boys " much more attractive than those more regular kinds which call for a large outlay of muscle. The business of the pocket miner is much like that of the bee-hunter. The trail of the latter leads him to the tree stored with golden sweets, and that of the former ends in a pocket of sweetest gold.
Soon after Mark's arrival at the " Gillis Bohemian Infirmary," he and Jim Gillis took to the hills in search of golden pockets. They soon found and spent some days in working up the undisturbed trail of an undiscovered deposit. They were on the " golden bee-line " and stuck to it faithfully, though it was necessary to carry each sample of dirt a considerable distance to a small stream in the bed of a cañon in order to wash it. However, Mark hungered and thirsted to find a big rich pocket, and he pitched in after the manner of Joe Bowers of old—just like a thousand of brick.
Each step made sure by the finding of golden grains, they at last came upon the pocket whence these grains had trailed out down the slope of the mountain. It was a cold, dreary, drizzling day when the " home deposit " was found. The first sample of dirt carried to the stream and washed out yielded only a few cents. Although the right vein had been discovered, they had as yet found only the " tail end " of the pocket.
Returning to the vein, they dug a sample of the decomposed ore from a new place and were about to carry it down to the ravine and test it, when the rain increased to a lively downpour. With chattering teeth, Mark declared he would remain no longer. He said there was no sense in freezing to death, as in a day or two, when it was bright and warm, they could return and pursue their investigations in comfort.
Yielding to Mark's entreaties, backed as they were by his blue nose, humped back and generally miserable and dejected appearance, Jim Gillis emptied the sacks of dirt just dug upon the ground—first having hastily written and posted a notice claiming a certain number of feet on the vein, which notice would hold good for thirty days. This done they left the claim.
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Angel's Camp being at no great distance from the spot, whereas their cabin was some miles away, Mark and Jim struck out for that place.
The only hotel in Angel's Camp was kept by Coon Drayton, an old Mississippi river pilot, and at his house the half-drowned pocket miners found shelter. Mark Twain having in his youthful days been a " cub " pilot on the Mississippi, he and Coon were soon great friends and swapped yarns by the dozen. It continued to rain for three days, and until the weather cleared up, Mark and Jim remained at Coon's hotel.
Among the stories told Mark by Coon during the three days' session was that of the " Jumping Frog," and it struck him as being so comical that he concluded to write it up. When he returned to the Gillis cabin Mark set to work on the frog story. He also wrote some sketches of life in the mountains and the mines for some of the San Francisco papers.
Even after he had given it the finishing touches, Mark did not think much of the frog story. He gave the preference to some other sketches, and sent them to the papers for which he was writing. The frog story lay about the cabin for some time, when Steve Gillis told him it was the best thing he had written, and advised him to save it for a book of sketches he was talking of publishing.
A literary turn having thus been given to the thoughts of the inmates of the Gillis cabin, a month passed without a return to the business of pocket mining. While the days were passed by Mark and his friends in discussing the merits of the " Jumping Frog" and other literary matters, other prospectors were not idle. A trio of Austrian miners who were out in search of gold-bearing quartz happened upon the spot where Mark and Jim had dug into their ledge. It was but a few days after Twain and Gillis had retreated in a pouring rain. The Austrians were astonished at seeing the ground glittering with gold. Where the dirt emptied from the sacks had been dissolved away by the rain, lay over three ounces of bright quartz gold. The foreigners were not long in gathering this harvest, but soon discovering the notice posted on the claim they dared not venture to delve in the deposit whence it came. They could only wait and watch and pray. Their hope was that the parties who had posted up the notice would not return while it held good.
The sun that rose on the day after the Twain-Gillis notice expired saw the Austrians in possession of the ground, with a notice of their own conspicuously and defiantly posted. The new owners soon cleaned out the pocket, obtaining from it in a few days a little over $7,500.
Had Mark Twain's back-bone held out a few minutes longer, the sacks of dirt would have been panned out and the richness of the pocket discovered. He would not then have gone to Angel's Camp, and would probably never have heard or written the story of the " Jumping Frog," the story that gave him his first " boost " in the literary world, as the " Heathen Chinee " gave Bret Harte his first lift up the ladder of fame. Had Mark found the gold that was captured by the Austrians, he would have settled down as a pocket miner, and probably to this day would have been pounding quartz in a little cabin in the Sierras somewhere along about the snow line.
Returning to San Francisco from the mountains, Mark for a time resumed his literary hack-work. He then arranged to make a trip to the Hawaiian Islands, and wrote up the beauties and wonders thereof for the old Sacramento Union. While engaged in this work he conceived the idea of writing a lecture on the Sandwich Islands, wisely judging that he could in that way get more money out of a certain amount of writing than by toiling for the newspapers.
He delivered his lecture very successfully, both on the Pacific Coast
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and in the Atlantic States. On the Pacific Coast D. E. McCarthy, who had then sold his interest in the Enterprise, was with Mark as his agent. When they reached Nevada the lecture was first delivered in Virginia City. Next they went to Gold Hill, a mile south of Virginia City and just over a low ridge known as the " Divide," a place noted in the annals of the Comstock for a thousand robberies by footpads.
A sham robbery was planned of which Mark was to be the victim. He was to be halted on the " Divide " as he was returning on foot from Gold Hill and robbed of the proceeds of his lecture. Mark's agent, McCarthy, was in the plot, as also was his old friend Major Steve Gillis and other friends, with Captain Jack Perry, George Birdsall and one or two other members of the police force. Twain and one or two friends (who were in the secret) were held up on a trail called the " cut-off." The job was done in the regular road-agent style. The pretended robbers not only took the grip-sack of coin—some $300—but also Mark's fine gold watch.
When he reached Virginia City, Mark was raging mad, as the watch taken from him was a present from a friend. He did not in the least doubt the genuineness of the robbery, and it so " soured " him against the Comstock that he determined to leave the next morning.
The robbery had been planned by Mark's old friends as a sort of advertising dodge. It was intended to create sympathy for him, and by having him deliver a second lecture in Virginia City afford the people an opportunity of redeeming the good name of the Comstock. He would have had a rousing benefit, and after all was over his agent would have returned him his watch and money. Of course it would not have done to ask Mark to consent to be robbed for this purpose. His friends meant well, but like other schemes of mice and men this particular one failed to work.
Mark was too " hot " to be handled, and when at last it was explained to him that the robbery was a sham affair he became still hotter—he boiled over with wrath.
His money and watch were returned to him after he had taken his seat in the stage, and his friends begged him to remain, but he refused to disembark. Upon observing some of his friends of the police force engaged in violent demonstrations of mirth, he turned his attention to them and fired at them a tremendous broadside of anathemas as the stage rolled away. Had he kept cool he would have had a benefit that would have put at least a thousand dollars in his pocket, for the papers had made a great sensation of the robbery.
A good deal has been said of Mark Twain's drawling speech. This peculiarity is not natural, but acquired. When he was a small boy he spoke so rapidly that his family constantly remonstrated with him, with the result that he went to the opposite extreme. When angry or excited he can snap his words off as short as any one.
The cabin in which Mark and Bob Howland lived in Aurora, in 1862, endured until a few years ago. It was a sort of dugout, to the roof of which the wandering billy-goat of inquiring mind had access from the hillside above. A picture of this cabin—the old Nevada home—would form a striking contrast to Mark's present fine residence in Hartford. The Hartford dwelling is a structure of many gables and angles, and at the rear or east end projects a veranda, intended to represent the hurricane deck of a Mississippi steamboat. In summer, with the shade of the surrounding chestnut trees cooling the air, this open deck is a pleasant lounging-place. Seated in it, dressed in white linen, Mark imagines himself on board one of the floating palaces of the Father of Waters, while his thoughts often revert to the still earlier days of reportorial work in the mining regions of the wild Washoe.