Mark Twain

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Piloting on the Mississippi River was not work to me, it was play delightful play, adventures play and I loved it.

Sam listened to the Mississippi leadmans call:

M-a-r-k three! M-a-r-k twain!

On the twenty-third birthday he got a pilots license, and took the name of Mark Twain.

Sam was happy, and life was beautiful. He played the piano, sang songs of the river; he was gay and everybody liked him.

It was as pilot that Mark Twain learned to know human nature of the world round him.

When in 1861 the ivil War broke out steamboating ceased and Mark Twain was left without work.

Writer again

So he went back at his old trade as a writer for newspaper, writing a humorist scetches.

Now he was in Nevada with his brother Orion who was the new secretary of Nevada Territory. Sam, as eager as any for a fast fortune decided to go to the newly discovered Esmeralda mines to find his own mine.

He had expected to see silver lying loose upon the ground. The dissapointed was bitter. Weeks of winter went by, and Sams provisions were gone.

Sam was twenty-six. A year of looking for silver had brought him no fortune he found none. He lived like twenty thousand other men. He observed them and wrote about them.

In 1863 Sam invited to Virginia City to work as a reporter on the Territorial Enterprise, a daily paper.

At the time when Sam arrived in Virginia City, there was no town like it in America. It was fantastically rich. Money burnt in every pocket. Most of the people in the town were miners. Every man carried a gun or a revolver. There were often street fights.

Sam, with miners beard, uncut hair, a blue woolen shirt on and a revolver at his belt which he couldnt manage, learned his new job. He had to fill two collumns a day with local news.

He wrote about the big mines, about the desperados fighting among themselves, about murders which were commited at all hours of the day and night. Some of the desperadors were arrested, but never punished. They had a law of their own. Sams news became very popular.

One day the editor-in-chief of the Enterprise went for a weeks holiday and Sam had to take his place. He had no intention of provoking the owner of a rival paper but as dueling became very fashionable in the Territory of Nevada the editor, Mr. Laird , took advantage of the oppotunity an insisted on a duel.

Sam was known as a hopeless ahot.

At four oclock in the morning of the appointed dueling day, Steve, Sams friend, took him a mile from town and taught him to fire a revolver.

Take all the risk getting murder but dont run any risk of murdering him. Aim at his legs. Aim below the knee; kripple him, but leave the rest of him to his mother.

Poor Sam was shooting at a barn door but he couldnt hit it.

Now just at this moment a little bird, no bigger than a sparrow, flew along about thirty yards away. Steve whipped out his revolver ande shot its head off. They ran down to pick up the bird and just then, Mr. Laird and his second came and saw the bird with its head shot off. Laird lost colour, and asked about who had done it. Steve spoke up, and said quit calmly that Clemens did it.

So Laird and his second said good morning and went home. Laird sent a note decklning to fight a duel with Sam. Thanks to the liittle bird Sam;s life was saved.

The rambler

Sam was twenty-nine, and had earned his own living since he was twelve. He had been a printer, a pilot, a miner, and a newspaper man.

At just this time, the Pacific Steamboat Company began a regular passenger service between sun Francisco and Honolulu. Sam took the trip, paying for it with letters as a special correspondent of the Sacramento Union.

Now he would travel arround the world, and he would write of the places he saw and the people he meet.

: 18/12/2007