Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume I, Part 1: 1835-1866 eBook

Albert Bigelow Paine
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 325 pages of information about Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume I, Part 1.

    Laud’s second turned to his principal.

    “Laird,” he said, “you don’t want to fight that man.  It’s just like
    suicide.  You’d better settle this thing, now.”

So there was a settlement.  Laird took back all he had said; Mark said he really had nothing against Laird—­the discussion had been purely journalistic and did not need to be settled in blood.  He said that both he and Laird were probably the victims of their friends.  I remember one of the things Laird said when his second told him he had better not fight.

    “Fight!  H—­l, no!  I am not going to be murdered by that d—­d

Sam had sent another challenge to a man named Cutler, who had been somehow mixed up with the muss and had written Sam an insulting letter; but Cutler was out of town at the time, and before he got back we had received word from Jerry Driscoll, foreman of the Grand jury, that the law just passed, making a duel a penitentiary offense for both principal and second, was to be strictly enforced, and unless we got out of town in a limited number of hours we would be the first examples to test the new law.

We concluded to go, and when the stage left next morning for San Francisco we were on the outside seat.  Joe Goodman had returned by this time and agreed to accompany us as far as Henness Pass.  We were all in good spirits and glad we were alive, so Joe did not stop when he got to Henness Pass, but kept on.  Now and then he would say, “Well, I had better be going back pretty soon,” but he didn’t go, and in the end he did not go back at all, but went with us clear to San Francisco, and we had a royal good time all the way.  I never knew any series of duels to close so happily.

So ended Mark Twain’s career on the Comstock.  He had come to it a weary pilgrim, discouraged and unknown; he was leaving it with a new name and fame—­elate, triumphant, even if a fugitive.



This was near the end of May, 1864.  The intention of both Gillis and Clemens was to return to the States; but once in San Francisco both presently accepted places, Clemens as reporter and Gillis as compositor, on the ‘Morning Call’.

From ‘Roughing It’ the reader gathers that Mark Twain now entered into a life of butterfly idleness on the strength of prospective riches to be derived from the “half a trunkful of mining stocks,” and that presently, when the mining bubble exploded, he was a pauper.  But a good many liberties have been taken with the history of this period.  Undoubtedly he expected opulent returns from his mining stocks, and was disappointed, particularly in an investment in Hale and Norcross shares, held too long for the large profit which could have been made by selling at the proper time.

Project Gutenberg
Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume I, Part 1: 1835-1866 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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