Sketches New and Old, Part 4. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 58 pages of information about Sketches New and Old, Part 4..

A solemn hush fell upon the great court—­a silence so profound that men could hear their own hearts beat.  Then the princess slowly turned, with eyes gleaming with hate, and pointing her finger straight at Conrad, said: 

“Thou art the man!”

An appalling conviction of his helpless, hopeless peril struck a chill to Conrad’s heart like the chill of death itself.  What power on earth could save him!  To disprove the charge, he must reveal that he was a woman; and for an uncrowned woman to sit in the ducal chair was death!  At one and the same moment, he and his grim old father swooned and fell to, the ground.

[The remainder of this thrilling and eventful story will not be found in this or any other publication, either now or at any future time.]

The truth is, I have got my hero (or heroine) into such a particularly close place, that I do not see how I am ever going to get him (or her) out of it again—­and therefore I will wash my hands of the whole business, and leave that person to get out the best way that offers—­or else stay there.  I thought it was going to be easy enough to straighten out that little difficulty, but it looks different now.


To the honorable the Senate and house of representatives
in Congress assembled

Whereas, The Constitution guarantees equal rights to all, backed by the Declaration of Independence; and

Whereas, Under our laws, the right of property in real estate is perpetual; and

Whereas, Under our laws, the right of property in the literary result of a citizen’s intellectual labor is restricted to forty-two years; and

Whereas, Forty-two years seems an exceedingly just and righteous term, and a sufficiently long one for the retention of property;

Therefore, Your petitioner, having the good of his country solely at heart, humbly prays that “equal rights” and fair and equal treatment may be meted out to all citizens, by the restriction of rights in all property, real estate included, to the beneficent term of forty-two years.  Then shall all men bless your honorable body and be happy.  And for this will your petitioner ever pray. 
                                             Mark Twain.


The charming absurdity of restricting property-rights in books to forty-two years sticks prominently out in the fact that hardly any man’s books ever live forty-two years, or even the half of it; and so, for the sake of getting a shabby advantage of the heirs of about one Scott or Burns or Milton in a hundred years, the lawmakers of the “Great” Republic are content to leave that poor little pilfering edict upon the statute-books.  It is like an emperor lying in wait to rob a Phenix’s nest, and waiting the necessary century to get the chance.

Project Gutenberg
Sketches New and Old, Part 4. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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