Quotes[ edit ] I haven't a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices whatsoever.
It All Begins with Jennie "Tragedy always leaves a psychic scar upon a site, and there is nothing so heart-rending as the death of a beloved child. At first glance the famous quote appears humorous, motivating and encouraging the reader to live a life filled with good deeds.
But there is a darker side to the quote that reveals a resentment Sam Clemens held for the occupation of undertakers -- men who made their living by taking advantage of sorrow.
This was a view he formulated in when he lived in the territory of Nevada and a view that he would continually express throughout his lifetime. Louis, Missouri on July 18, enroute to the territory of Nevada. Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as president of the United States on March 4, and Orion, who had actively campaigned for Lincoln had received a political appointment as secretary of Nevada territory.
Sam had been a Mississippi steamboat pilot until the Civil War broke out a few months earlier and closed down commerce and travel on the great river. Sam had agreed to pay the travel passage for them both from Missouri to Nevada when Orion promised to make Sam his personal secretary -- an unfunded position.
Joseph they boarded a stagecoach headed for Carson City, seventeen hundred miles west. Orion was leaving behind a string of unprofitable jobs as a newspaper editor, publisher and printer in Missouri and Iowa in hopes of finally finding a meaningful occupation in government service in Nevada territory.
The request for a salary advance was denied and it would be October before Mollie and Jennie would make the trip to Nevada and reunite the family. At the first territorial legislative session inthe legislators passed a law enabling Orion to collect fees for providing certified documents, copies of laws, and filing certificates of incorporation.
The added income enabled Orion to erect one of the finest homes in Carson City at the corner of Spear and Division street. Orion furnished the home with walnut furniture, a grand piano, and a special little rocking chair for Jennie. The home soon became a social center for the town as Mollie became a well-loved and popular hostess.
Jennie worked to raise money to buy the church a Bible for the pulpit. By all accounts she was bright and loved to read the family Bible. She told Mollie she often prayed at school for assistance when she had difficulties. Her parents told friends that Jennie had read Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.
Family friend and newspaper reporter Dan DeQuille, a frequent visitor in Orion's home, told of Jennie's joy of reading: I was amused by a little daughter of his who was turning over the leaves of a work on geography, suddenly starting up and exclaiming gleefully, -- 'Good, good!
I have found it! I've found it at last! He looked and read under a picture, 'Cod Fishing off New Foundland. The book is now in the Kevin Mac Donnell collection.
Photos courtesy of Kevin Mac Donnell. Unable to strike it rich, in August Sam accepted a position as a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City, about fifteen miles northeast of Carson City. When the second territorial legislature convened in NovemberSam traveled to Carson City as a reporter covering the proceedings and lodged with Orion, Mollie and Jennie.
When he wasn't reporting on the territorial legislature, Sam Clemens wrote local news stories about Virginia City and Carson City. When there wasn't a lot of news to be found, Sam Clemens manufactured it. Gold mines, massacres, and petrified men were only a few of the topics and hoaxes he wrote about.
Descriptions and good-natured jokes related to undertakers were common. Induring a great leather famine, many people were obliged to wear wooden shoes, and Mr. Perry, for the sake of economy, transferred his boot-making patronage from the tan-yard which had before enjoyed his custom, to an undertaker's establishment -- that is to say, he wore coffins "City Marshall Perry," Territorial Enterprise, March 3, The difference between the right word and the almost right word is really a large matter — it's the difference between a lightning bug and the lightning.
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