Roughing It - Chapter 56


Roughing It - Chapter 56
Off for San Francisco—Western and Eastern Landscapes—The Hottest place on Earth—Summer and Winter

Mark enters California but it compare unfavorably for him to New England. It's okay from a distance but he thinks it monotonous close up.


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Submitted by scott on

Nevada was granted statehood October 31, 1864 and both Sam and Orion expected Orion would be part of that new government. A stubborn streak of honesty, however, seems to have precluded his qualifications for holding political office. This from Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2:

There were several candidates for all the offices in the gift of the new State of Nevada save two—United States Senator, and Secretary of State. Nye was certain to get a Senatorship, and Orion was so sure to get the Secretaryship that no one but him was named for that office. But he was hit with one of his spasms of virtue on the very day that the Republican party was to make its nominations in the Convention, and refused to go near the Convention. He was urged, but all persuasions failed. He said his presence there would be an unfair and improper influence, and that if he was to be nominated the compliment must come to him as a free and unspotted gift. This attitude would have settled his case for him without further effort, but he had another attack of virtue on the same day, that made it absolutely sure. It had been his habit for a great many years to change his religion with his shirt, and his ideas about temperance at the same time. He would be a teetotaler for a while and the champion of the cause; then he would change to the other side for a time. On nomination day he suddenly changed from a friendly attitude toward whisky—which was the popular attitude—to uncompromising teetotalism, and went absolutely dry. His friends besought and implored, but all in vain. He could not be persuaded to cross the threshold of a saloon. The paper next morning contained the list of chosen nominees. His name was not in it. He had not received a vote.

His rich income ceased when the State government came into power. He was without an occupation. Something had to be done. He put up his sign as attorney at law, but he got no clients. It was strange. It was difficult to account for. I cannot account for it—but if I were going to guess at a solution I should guess that by the make of him he would examine both sides of a case so diligently and so conscientiously that when he got through with his argument neither he nor a jury would know which side he was on. I think that his client would find out his make in laying his case before him, and would take warning and withdraw it in time to save himself from probable disaster.

"5 April 1906: Paragraph 12," in Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2. 2013, 2008.