Yes, the resemblances are curiously exact. I used to tell the story of the ‘Jumping Frog’ in San Francisco, and presently Artemus Ward came along and wanted it to help fill out a little book which he was about to publish; so I wrote it out and sent it to his publisher, Carleton; but Carleton thought the book had enough matter in it, so he gave the story to Henry Clapp as a present, and Clapp put it in his ‘Saturday Press,’ and it killed that paper with a suddenness that was beyond praise. At least the paper died with that issue, and none but envious people have ever tried to rob me of the honour and credit of killing it. The ‘Jumping Frog’ was the first piece of writing of mine that spread itself through the newspapers and brought me into public notice. Consequently, the ‘Saturday Press’ was a cocoon and I the worm in it; also, I was the gay-coloured literary moth which its death set free. This simile has been used before.
Early in ’66 the ‘Jumping Frog’ was issued in book form, with other sketches of mine. A year or two later Madame Blanc translated it into French and published it in the ‘Revue des Deux Mondes,’ but the result was not what should have been expected, for the ‘Revue’ struggled along and pulled through, and is alive yet. I think the fault must have been in the translation. I ought to have translated it myself. I think so because I examined into the matter and finally retranslated the sketch from the French back into English, to see what the trouble was; that is, to see just what sort of a focus the French people got upon it. Then the mystery was explained. In French the story is too confused and chaotic and unreposeful and ungrammatical and insane; consequently it could only cause grief and sickness—it could not kill. A glance at my retranslation will show the reader that this must be true.