century, Mr. Esmond (as far as he knew the period of his

VIRGINIA, April 11, 1863. MY DEAR MOTHER AND SISTER,-- It is very late at night, and I am writing in my room, which is not quite as large or as nice as the one I had at home. My board, washing and lodging cost me seventy-five dollars a month.

century, Mr. Esmond (as far as he knew the period of his

I have just received your letter, Ma, from Carson--the one in which you doubt my veracity about the statements I made in a letter to you. That's right. I don't recollect what the statements were, but I suppose they were mining statistics. I have just finished writing up my report for the morning paper, and giving the Unreliable a column of advice about how to conduct himself in church, and now I will tell you a few more lies, while my hand is in. For instance, some of the boys made me a present of fifty feet in the East India G. and S. M. Company ten days ago. I was offered ninety-five dollars a foot for it, yesterday, in gold. I refused it--not because I think the claim is worth a cent for I don't but because I had a curiosity to see how high it would go, before people find out how worthless it is. Besides, what if one mining claim does fool me? I have got plenty more. I am not in a particular hurry to get rich. I suppose I couldn't well help getting rich here some time or other, whether I wanted to or not. You folks do not believe in Nevada, and I am glad you don't. Just keep on thinking so.

century, Mr. Esmond (as far as he knew the period of his

I was at the Gould and Curry mine, the other day, and they had two or three tons of choice rock piled up, which was valued at $20,000 a ton. I gathered up a hat-full of chunks, on account of their beauty as specimens--they don't let everybody supply themselves so liberally. I send Mr. Moffett a little specimen of it for his cabinet. If you don't know what the white stuff on it is, I must inform you that it is purer silver than the minted coin. There is about as much gold in it as there is silver, but it is not visible. I will explain to you some day how to detect it.

century, Mr. Esmond (as far as he knew the period of his

Pamela, you wouldn't do for a local reporter--because you don't appreciate the interest that attaches to names. An item is of no use unless it speaks of some person, and not then, unless that person's name is distinctly mentioned. The most interesting letter one can write, to an absent friend, is one that treats of persons he has been acquainted with rather than the public events of the day. Now you speak of a young lady who wrote to Hollie Benson that she had seen me; and you didn't mention her name. It was just a mere chance that I ever guessed who she was--but I did, finally, though I don't remember her name, now. I was introduced to her in San Francisco by Hon. A. B. Paul, and saw her afterwards in Gold Hill. They were a very pleasant lot of girls--she and her sisters.

P. S. I have just heard five pistol shots down street--as such things are in my line, I will go and see about it.

P. S. No 2--5 A.M.--The pistol did its work well--one man--a Jackson County Missourian, shot two of my friends, (police officers,) through the heart--both died within three minutes. Murderer's name is John Campbell.

The "Unreliable" of this letter was a rival reporter on whom Mark Twain had conferred this name during the legislative session. His real name was Rice, and he had undertaken to criticize Clemens's reports. The brisk reply that Rice's letters concealed with a show of parliamentary knowledge a "festering mass of misstatements the author of whom should be properly termed the 'Unreliable," fixed that name upon him for life. This burlesque warfare delighted the frontier and it did not interfere with friendship. Clemens and Rice were constant associates, though continually firing squibs at each other in their respective papers--a form of personal journalism much in vogue on the Comstock.

In the next letter we find these two journalistic "blades" enjoying themselves together in the coast metropolis. This letter is labeled "No. 2," meaning, probably, the second from San Francisco, but No. 1 has disappeared, and even No, 2 is incomplete.

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