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by Mark Twain
TO CALVIN H. HIGBIE, Of California, an Honest Man, a Genial Comrade, and a Steadfast Friend. THIS BOOK IS INSCRIBED By the Author, In Memory of the Curious Time When We Two WERE MILLIONAIRES FOR TEN DAYS.
BY MARK TWAIN. (SAMUEL L. CLEMENS.)
This book is merely a personal narrative, and not a pretentious history or a philosophical dissertation. It is a record of several years of variegated vagabondizing, and its object is rather to help the resting reader while away an idle hour than afflict him with metaphysics, or goad him with science. Still, there is information in the volume; information concerning an interesting episode in the history of the Far West, about which no books have been written by persons who were on the ground in person, and saw the happenings of the time with their own eyes. I allude to the rise, growth and culmination of the silver-mining fever in Nevada -a curious episode, in some respects; the only one, of its peculiar kind, that has occurred in the land; and the only one, indeed, that is likely to occur in it.
Yes, take it all around, there is quite a good deal of information in the book. I regret this very much; but really it could not be helped: information appears to stew out of me naturally, like the precious ottar of roses out of the otter. Sometimes it has seemed to me that I would give worlds if I could retain my facts; but it cannot be. The more I calk up the sources, and the tighter I get, the more I leak wisdom. Therefore, I can only claim indulgence at the hands of the reader, not justification.
CHAPTER I. My Brother appointed Secretary of Nevada--I Envy His Prospective Adventures--Am Appointed Private Secretary Under Him--My Contentment Complete--Packed in One Hour--Dreams and Visions--On the Missouri River --A Bully Boat
CHAPTER II. Arrive at St. Joseph--Only Twenty-five Pounds Baggage Allowed--Farewell to Kid Gloves and Dress Coats--Armed to the Teeth--The "Allen"--A Cheerful Weapon--Persuaded to Buy a Mule--Schedule of Luxuries--We Leave the "States"--"Our Coach"--Mails for the Indians--Between a Wink and an Earthquake--A Modern Sphynx and How She Entertained Us--A Sociable Heifer
CHAPTER III. "The Thoroughbrace is Broke"--Mails Delivered Properly--Sleeping Under Difficulties--A Jackass Rabbit Meditating, and on Business--A Modern Gulliver--Sage-brush--Overcoats as an Article of Diet--Sad Fate of a Camel--Warning to Experimenters
CHAPTER IV. Making Our Bed--Assaults by the Unabridged--At a Station--Our Driver a Great and Shining Dignitary--Strange Place for a Frontyard --Accommodations--Double Portraits--An Heirloom--Our Worthy Landlord --"Fixings and Things"--An Exile--Slumgullion--A Well Furnished Table--The Landlord Astonished--Table Etiquette--Wild Mexican Mules--Stage-coaching and Railroading
CHAPTER V. New Acquaintances--The Cayote--A Dog's Experiences--A Disgusted Dog--The Relatives of the Cayote--Meals Taken Away from Home
CHAPTER VI. The Division Superintendent--The Conductor--The Driver--One Hundred and Fifty Miles' Drive Without Sleep--Teaching a Subordinate--Our Old Friend Jack and a Pilgrim--Ben Holliday Compared to Moses
CHAPTER VII. Overland City--Crossing the Platte--Bemis's Buffalo Hunt--Assault by a Buffalo--Bemis's Horse Goes Crazy--An Impromptu Circus--A New Departure --Bemis Finds Refuge in a Tree--Escapes Finally by a Wonderful Method
CHAPTER VIII. The Pony Express--Fifty Miles Without Stopping--"Here he Comes"--Alkali Water--Riding an Avalanche--Indian Massacre