The complete text of this letter is currently lost. However, reprintings in the San Francisco Examiner for November 8, 1865 and San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle quote several passages which have helped reconstruct portions of the orignal.
San Francisco Examiner, November 8, 1865
Mark Twain, the San Francisco correspondent of the Territorial Enterprise in his last letter to that paper indulges in the following amusing utterances. He says, in speaking of the rains we have had this season:
Verily, if old Noah had been here, he never would have known it had rained at all. I scarcely knew it - but then I never have had such a lively experience in such matters as Noah.
San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle, November 8, 1865
Grand Theatrical Banquet
"Mark Twain" who writes a daily correspondence from San Francisco to one of the best newspapers on the Pacific coast - the Territorial Enterprise - furnishes its issue of November 4th with the following extraordinary bill of fare for a grand theatrical banquet which he says is to come off shortly:
DINNER TO THE WINNER!
Why, bless you, the mercantile Moses Ellis banquet don't amount to anything alongside of the barbecue that is to be given to the winner of the $30,000 suit between Maguire and Vestvali. Leland of the Occidental is preparing the fodder, and this time I confidently expect an invitation. As to that banquet, I was like the balance of the newspaper men - I had no objections to the banquet as a banquet, but then I have always made it a point to move in good society, and I didn't like to eat with merchants. Therefore, if I had been invited, I should have declined - positively, and with conventional expressions of regret, but still firmly, declined.
The forthcoming banquet will be intensely theatrical in all its aspects. I have been permitted to glance at the bill of fare wh ich will stand somewhat in this wise:
GRAND THEATRICAL BARBECUE.
To the Illustrious Winner of the $30,000 Suit.
OCCIDENTAL HOTEL, S. F. Nov. 1865
Roman Soldier Supes from the several Theaters.
Tepid, hot or Bemis McCool soup to order
Cattle, a la Setchell
Pates de-foi-Graves from the Opera House
Boned Turkey, a la Vestvali (sauced with Threats by Maguire.)
Child of the Regiment
Manager, with legal sauce, a al Maguire
Dear meat, a la Vestvali
Bare meat, a la Mazeppa
Tenderloin of Ruby
Bedeviled Manager, a la Maguire
Vestvali vs. Maguire
Stuffed Rhinoceros, from the Museum
Boiled and Mashed Tragedians
Baked Sweet Worrells
Beats - dead
Sawdust Pie, from the Circus
Educated Dog Pie, " "
Sedley Brown Bread.
Bandmann Puffs, a la Alta
Bandmann Minced Pies a la Chronicle
Maguire Pudding his foot in it. (Bad.)
Molasses and Water Claret, such as is used by Noblemen on the Stage
Stage Champagne, (Soda Pop, avec "Veuve Cliquot" label.)
That is the bill as far as it has been prepared. Of course large additions will be made to it yet. However, you can see by the foregoing that the banquet is going to be a brilliant affair. Nothing but this approaching sensation is talked of at the Occidental now.
San Francisco Examiner, November 8, 1865
In dishing up the Vestvali vs. Maguire affair he says:
The case was dismissed upon Maguire's promising to leave Vestvali's bones intact. 'Tis well. There is a good deal of Vestvali, and she could not be happy without bones.
Again in dilating on the case of a discharged soldier who lately lost his money at faro - he says:
He has had the game keepers arrested. "Things are not now as they used to was." There is truth in that albeit the gem is set in bad grammar. No - in old times Pharaoh's gentle daughter took Moses out of the bulrushes and took him in and warmed him, kind soul! - but now, when a helpless Moses or a helpless Mars gets into the tiger-rushes old Faro takes him out himself and warms him. And though the result attained seems identical in the two cases, there is all the difference in the world when you come to examine into the thing carefully.
So, as I was saying, this soldier had the gamblers arrested. The name of one of the defendant is Howland - the other gentlemen are members of the Doe family. Haley lost $3,000 fighting the tiger three years ago, and I suppose he went at it this time under the encouraging impression that he had learned how to overcome the brute.
Of Blitz, the policeman, Mark remarks:
Blitz is a small man, but if there were eighteen more vacancies to fill in the police department, I think Blitz would come nearer filling the whole lot by himself and filling them well and doing justice to the position than any eighteen men in San Francisco. Blitz does an eternal sight of talking, but he does work enough for the city to cover the sin.
Portions from the San Francisco Examiner were reprinted in Mark Twain Journal, Spring, 1988, p. 23. "Dinner to the Winner" along with the spoof on the menu was reprinted in San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle of November 8, 1865.
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