Roughing It

Introduction and Prefatory


by Mark Twain




Of California,

an Honest Man, a Genial Comrade, and a Steadfast Friend.


By the Author,

In Memory of the Curious Time

When We Two







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

CHAPTER IX. Among the Indians--An Unfair Advantage--Laying on our Arms--A Midnight Murder--Wrath of Outlaws--A Dangerous, yet Valuable Citizen

CHAPTER X. History of Slade--A Proposed Fist-fight--Encounter with Jules--Paradise of Outlaws--Slade as Superintendent--As Executioner--A Doomed Whisky Seller--A Prisoner--A Wife's Bravery--An Ancient Enemy Captured--Enjoying a Luxury--Hob-nobbing with Slade--Too Polite--A Happy Escape

CHAPTER XI. Slade in Montana--"On a Spree"--In Court--Attack on a Judge--Arrest by the Vigilantes--Turn out of the Miners--Execution of Slade--Lamentations of His Wife--Was Slade a Coward?

CHAPTER XII. A Mormon Emigrant Train--The Heart of the Rocky Mountains--Pure Saleratus--A Natural Ice-House--An Entire Inhabitant--In Sight of "Eternal Snow"--The South Pass--The Parting Streams--An Unreliable Letter Carrier--Meeting of Old Friends--A Spoiled Watermelon--Down the Mountain--A Scene of Desolation--Lost in the Dark--Unnecessary Advice --U.S. Troops and Indians--Sublime Spectacle--Another Delusion Dispelled --Among the Angels

CHAPTER XIII. Mormons and Gentiles--Exhilarating Drink, and its Effect on Bemis--Salt Lake City--A Great Contrast--A Mormon Vagrant--Talk with a Saint--A Visit to the "King"--A Happy Simile

CHAPTER XIV. Mormon Contractors--How Mr. Street Astonished Them--The Case Before Brigham Young, and How he Disposed of it--Polygamy Viewed from a New Position

CHAPTER XV. A Gentile Den--Polygamy Discussed--Favorite Wife and D. 4--Hennery for Retired Wives--Children Need Marking--Cost of a Gift to No. 6 --A Penny-whistle Gift and its Effects--Fathering the Foundlings --It Resembled Him--The Family Bedstead

CHAPTER XVI The Mormon Bible--Proofs of its Divinity--Plagiarism of its Authors --Story of Nephi--Wonderful Battle--Kilkenny Cats Outdone

CHAPTER XVII. Three Sides to all Questions--Everything "A Quarter"--Shriveled Up --Emigrants and White Shirts at a Discount--"Forty-Niners"--Above Par--Real Happiness

CHAPTER XVIII. Alkali Desert--Romance of Crossing Dispelled--Alkali Dust--Effect on the Mules--Universal Thanksgiving

CHAPTER XIX. The Digger Indians Compared with the Bushmen of Africa--Food, Life and Characteristics--Cowardly Attack on a Stage Coach--A Brave Driver--The Noble Red Man

CHAPTER XX. The Great American Desert--Forty Miles on Bones--Lakes Without Outlets --Greely's Remarkable Ride--Hank Monk, the Renowned Driver--Fatal Effects of "Corking" a Story--Bald-Headed Anecdote

CHAPTER XXI. Alkali Dust--Desolation and Contemplation--Carson City--Our Journey Ended--We are Introduced to Several Citizens--A Strange Rebuke--A Washoe Zephyr at Play--Its Office Hours--Governor's Palace--Government Offices --Our French Landlady Bridget O'Flannigan--Shadow Secrets--Cause for a Disturbance at Once--The Irish Brigade--Mrs. O'Flannigan's Boarders--The Surveying Expedition--Escape of the Tarantulas

CHAPTER XXII. The Son of a Nabob--Start for Lake Tahoe--Splendor of the Views--Trip on the Lake--Camping Out--Reinvigorating Climate--Clearing a Tract of Land --Securing a Title--Outhouse and Fences

CHAPTER XXIII. A Happy Life--Lake Tahoe and its Moods--Transparency of the Waters--A Catastrophe--Fire! Fire!--A Magnificent Spectacle--Homeless Again--We take to the Lake--A Storm--Return to Carson

CHAPTER XXIV. Resolve to Buy a Horse--Horsemanship in Carson--A Temptation--Advice Given Me Freely--I Buy the Mexican Plug--My First Ride--A Good Bucker--I Loan the Plug--Experience of Borrowers--Attempts to Sell--Expense of the

Experiment--A Stranger Taken In

CHAPTER XXV. The Mormons in Nevada--How to Persuade a Loan from Them--Early History of the Territory--Silver Mines Discovered--The New Territorial Government--A Foreign One and a Poor One--Its Funny Struggles for Existence--No Credit, no Cash--Old Abe Currey Sustains it and its Officers--Instructions and Vouchers--An Indian's Endorsement--Toll-Gates

CHAPTER XXVI. The Silver Fever--State of the Market--Silver Bricks--Tales Told--Off for the Humboldt Mines

CHAPTER XXVII. Our manner of going--Incidents of the Trip--A Warm but Too Familiar a Bedfellow--Mr. Ballou Objects--Sunshine amid Clouds--Safely Arrived

CHAPTER XXVIII. Arrive at the Mountains--Building Our Cabin--My First Prospecting Tour --My First Gold Mine--Pockets Filled With Treasures--Filtering the News to My Companions--The Bubble Pricked--All Not Gold That Glitters

CHAPTER XXIX. Out Prospecting--A Silver Mine At Last--Making a Fortune With Sledge and Drill--A Hard Road to Travel--We Own in Claims--A Rocky Country

CHAPTER XXX. Disinterested Friends--How "Feet" Were Sold--We Quit Tunnelling--A Trip to Esmeralda--My Companions--An Indian Prophesy--A Flood--Our Quarters During It

CHAPTER XXXI. The Guests at "Honey Lake Smith's"--"Bully Old Arkansas"--"Our Landlord" --Determined to Fight--The Landlord's Wife--The Bully Conquered by Her --Another Start--Crossing the Carson--A Narrow Escape--Following Our Own Track--A New Guide--Lost in the Snow

CHAPTER XXXII. Desperate Situation--Attempts to Make a Fire--Our Horses leave us--We Find Matches--One, Two, Three and the Last--No Fire--Death Seems Inevitable--We Mourn Over Our Evil Lives--Discarded Vices--We Forgive Each Other--An Affectionate Farewell--The Sleep of Oblivion

CHAPTER XXXIII. Return of Consciousness--Ridiculous Developments--A Station House--Bitter Feelings--Fruits of Repentance--Resurrected Vices

CHAPTER XXXIV. About Carson--General Buncombe--Hyde vs. Morgan--How Hyde Lost His Ranch --The Great Landslide Case--The Trial--General Buncombe in Court--A Wonderful Decision--A Serious Afterthought

CHAPTER XXXV. A New Travelling Companion--All Full and No Accommodations--How Captain Nye found Room--and Caused Our Leaving to be Lamented--The Uses of Tunnelling--A Notable Example--We Go into the "Claim" Business and Fail --At the Bottom

CHAPTER XXXVI. A Quartz Mill--Amalgamation--"Screening Tailings"--First Quartz Mill in Nevada--Fire Assay--A Smart Assayer--I stake for an advance

CHAPTER XXXVII. The Whiteman Cement Mine--Story of its Discovery--A Secret Expedition--A Nocturnal Adventure--A Distressing Position--A Failure and a Week's Holiday

CHAPTER XXXVIII. Mono Lake--Shampooing Made Easy--Thoughtless Act of Our Dog and the Results--Lye Water--Curiosities of the Lake--Free Hotel--Some Funny Incidents a Little Overdrawn

CHAPTER XXXIX. Visit to the Islands in Lake Mono--Ashes and Desolation--Life Amid Death Our Boat Adrift--A Jump For Life--A Storm On the Lake--A Mass of Soap Suds--Geological Curiosities--A Week On the Sierras--A Narrow Escape From a Funny Explosion--"Stove Heap Gone"

CHAPTER XL. The "Wide West" Mine--It is "Interviewed" by Higbie--A Blind Lead--Worth a Million--We are Rich At Last--Plans for the Future

CHAPTER XLI. A Rheumatic Patient--Day Dreams--An Unfortunate Stumble--I Leave Suddenly--Another Patient--Higbie in the Cabin--Our Balloon Bursted --Worth Nothing--Regrets and Explanations--Our Third Partner

CHAPTER XLII. What to do Next?--Obstacles I Had Met With--"Jack of All Trades"--Mining Again--Target Shooting--I Turn City Editor--I Succeed Finely

CHAPTER XLIII. My Friend Boggs--The School Report--Boggs Pays Me An Old Debt--Virginia City

CHAPTER XLIV. Flush Times--Plenty of Stock--Editorial Puffing--Stocks Given Me--Salting Mines--A Tragedian In a New Role

CHAPTER XLV. Flush Times Continue--Sanitary Commission Fund--Wild Enthusiasm of the People--Would not wait to Contribute--The Sanitary Flour Sack--It is Carried to Gold Hill and Dayton--Final Reception in Virginia--Results of the Sale--A Grand Total

CHAPTER XLVI. The Nabobs of Those Days--John Smith as a Traveler--Sudden Wealth--A Sixty-Thousand-Dollar Horse--A Smart Telegraph Operator--A Nabob in New York City--Charters an Omnibus--"Walk in, It's All Free"--"You Can't Pay a Cent"--"Hold On, Driver, I Weaken"--Sociability of New Yorkers

CHAPTER XLVII. Buck Fanshaw's Death--The Cause Thereof--Preparations for His Burial --Scotty Briggs the Committee Man--He Visits the Minister--Scotty Can't Play His Hand--The Minister Gets Mixed--Both Begin to See--"All Down Again But Nine"--Buck Fanshaw as a Citizen--How To "Shook Your Mother" --The Funeral--Scotty Briggs as a Sunday School Teacher

CHAPTER XLVIII. The First Twenty-Six Graves in Nevada--The Prominent Men of the County --The Man Who Had Killed His Dozen--Trial by Jury--Specimen Jurors--A Private Grave Yard--The Desperadoes--Who They Killed--Waking up the Weary Passenger--Satisfaction Without Fighting

CHAPTER XLIX. Fatal Shooting Affray--Robbery and Desperate Affray--A Specimen City Official--A Marked Man--A Street Fight--Punishment of Crime

CHAPTER L. Captain Ned Blakely--Bill Nookes Receives Desired Information--Killing of Blakely's Mate--A Walking Battery--Blakely Secures Nookes--Hang First and Be Tried Afterwards--Captain Blakely as a Chaplain--The First Chapter of Genesis Read at a Hanging--Nookes Hung--Blakely's Regrets

CHAPTER LI. The Weekly Occidental--A Ready Editor--A Novel--A Concentration of Talent--The Heroes and the Heroines--The Dissolute Author Engaged --Extraordinary Havoc With the Novel--A Highly Romantic Chapter--The Lovers Separated--Jonah Out-done--A Lost Poem--The Aged Pilot Man--Storm On the Erie Canal--Dollinger the Pilot Man--Terrific Gale--Danger Increases--A Crisis Arrived--Saved as if by a Miracle

CHAPTER LII. Freights to California--Silver Bricks--Under Ground Mines--Timber Supports--A Visit to the Mines--The Caved Mines--Total of Shipments in 1863

CHAPTER LIII. Jim Blaine and his Grandfather's Ram--Filkin's Mistake--Old Miss Wagner and her Glass Eye--Jacobs, the Coffin Dealer--Waiting for a Customer--His Bargain With Old Robbins--Robbins Sues for Damage and Collects--A New Use for Missionaries--The Effect--His Uncle Lem. and the Use Providence Made of Him--Sad Fate of Wheeler--Devotion of His Wife--A Model Monument--What About the Ram?

CHAPTER LIV. Chinese in Virginia City--Washing Bills--Habit of Imitation--Chinese Immigration--A Visit to Chinatown--Messrs. Ah Sing, Hong Wo, See Yup, &c.

CHAPTER LV. Tired of Virginia City--An Old Schoolmate--A Two Years' Loan--Acting as an Editor--Almost Receive an Offer--An Accident--Three Drunken Anecdotes --Last Look at Mt. Davidson--A Beautiful Incident

CHAPTER LVI. Off for San Francisco--Western and Eastern Landscapes--The Hottest place on Earth--Summer and Winter

CHAPTER LVII. California--Novelty of Seeing a Woman--"Well if it ain't a Child!"--One Hundred and Fifty Dollars for a Kiss--Waiting for a turn

CHAPTER LVIII. Life in San Francisco--Worthless Stocks--My First Earthquake--Reportorial Instincts--Effects of the Shocks--Incidents and Curiosities--Sabbath Breakers--The Lodger and the Chambermaid--A Sensible Fashion to Follow --Effects of the Earthquake on the Ministers

CHAPTER LIX. Poor Again--Slinking as a Business--A Model Collector--Misery loves Company--Comparing Notes for Comfort--A Streak of Luck--Finding a Dime --Wealthy by Comparison--Two Sumptuous Dinners

CHAPTER LX. An Old Friend--An Educated Miner--Pocket Mining--Freaks of Fortune

CHAPTER LXI. Dick Baker and his Cat--Tom Quartz's Peculiarities--On an Excursion --Appearance On His Return--A Prejudiced Cat--Empty Pockets and a Roving Life

CHAPTER LXII. Bound for the Sandwich Islands--The Three Captains--The Old Admiral--His Daily Habits--His Well Fought Fields--An Unexpected Opponent--The Admiral Overpowered--The Victor Declared a Hero

CHAPTER LXIII. Arrival at the Islands--Honolulu--What I Saw There--Dress and Habits of the Inhabitants--The Animal Kingdom--Fruits and Delightful Effects

CHAPTER LXIV. An Excursion--Captain Phillips and his Turn-Out--A Horseback Ride--A Vicious Animal--Nature and Art--Interesting Ruins--All Praise to the Missionaries

CHAPTER LXV. Interesting Mementoes and Relics--An Old Legend of a Frightful Leap--An Appreciative Horse--Horse Jockeys and Their Brothers--A New Trick--A Hay Merchant--Good Country for Horse Lovers

CHAPTER LXVI. A Saturday Afternoon--Sandwich Island Girls on a Frolic--The Poi Merchant--Grand Gala Day--A Native Dance--Church Membership--Cats and Officials--An Overwhelming Discovery

CHAPTER LXVII. The Legislature of the Island--What Its President Has Seen--Praying for an Enemy--Women's Rights--Romantic Fashions--Worship of the Shark--Desire for Dress--Full Dress--Not Paris Style--Playing Empire--Officials and Foreign Ambassadors--Overwhelming Magnificence

CHAPTER LXVIII. A Royal Funeral--Order of Procession--Pomp and Ceremony--A Striking Contrast--A Sick Monarch--Human Sacrifices at His Death--Burial Orgies

CHAPTER LXIX. "Once more upon the Waters."--A Noisy Passenger--Several Silent Ones--A Moonlight Scene--Fruits and Plantations

CHAPTER LXX. A Droll Character--Mrs. Beazely and Her Son--Meditations on Turnips--A Letter from Horace Greeley--An Indignant Rejoinder--The Letter Translated but too Late

CHAPTER LXXI. Kealakekua Bay--Death of Captain Cook--His Monument--Its Construction--On Board the Schooner

CHAPTER LXXII. Young Kanakas in New England--A Temple Built by Ghosts--Female Bathers--I Stood Guard--Women and Whiskey--A Fight for Religion--Arrival of Missionaries

CHAPTER LXXIII. Native Canoes--Surf Bathing--A Sanctuary--How Built--The Queen's Rock --Curiosities--Petrified Lava

CHAPTER LXXIV. Visit to the Volcano--The Crater--Pillar of Fire--Magnificent Spectacle --A Lake of Fire

CHAPTER LXXV. The North Lake--Fountains of Fire--Streams of Burning Lava--Tidal Waves

CHAPTER LXXVI. A Reminiscence--Another Horse Story--My Ride with the Retired Milk Horse --A Picnicing Excursion--Dead Volcano of Holeakala--Comparison with Vesuvius--An Inside View

CHAPTER LXXVII. A Curious Character--A Series of Stories--Sad Fate of a Liar--Evidence of Insanity

CHAPTER LXXVIII. Return to San Francisco--Ship Amusements--Preparing for Lecturing --Valuable Assistance Secured--My First Attempt--The Audience Carried --"All's Well that Ends Well."

CHAPTER LXXIX. Highwaymen--A Predicament--A Huge Joke--Farewell to California--At Home Again--Great Changes. Moral.

APPENDIX. A.--Brief Sketch of Mormon History B.--The Mountain Meadows Massacre C.--Concerning a Frightful Assassination that was never Consummated

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