[EDITOR'S NOTE: This item has not been previously republished elsewhere. It is included in this collection because of its potential to be the work of Clemens and is deserving of further research and consideration.]
A GENERAL APOLOGY
We are, we verily believe, the most unfortunately constituted genius (for nothing shall persuade us that we are not a genius, in which pleasing conviction we find the only balm of our wretched existence) -- we are, we repeat, the most unhappily constituted genius that ever drudged himself to death for stony-hearted publishers, or starved in a garret for the benefit of an ungrateful world. We are all the time "putting our foot into it" in the most innocent and unsuspecting manner. We are continually getting off good humored jokes (as they seem to us) which some obtuse and irrascible individual who can't appreciate a neat thing construes into something offensive. Now we are not conscious of having ever written a malicious or ill-natured paragraph in our life; and yet not a day passes that some thin-skinned and thick-headed gentleman doesn't come rushing up into the CHRONICLE office, foaming with wrath and looking bowie knives and cowhides, to "demand an apology" for a first rate joke. One day, it is fierce-visaged young gentleman, with solferino locks, and a high-tragedy air; the next, it is a stout, middle-aged gentleman, with a red face, and no hair at all to speak of, except the bushy mutton-chop whiskers that lend such a truculent air to his piratical countenance; again it is a melancholy poet, who imagines that we have not spoken with due respect of his latest production; or, worst of all, it is some injured female, who has taken umbrage at a compliment which she has interpreted as a sneer. On Friday, we alluded, after our peculiarly graceful and playful fashion, to a poem published in Thursday's Alta as a "city item." We didn't say a word against the poem; we had no idea of doing anything of the sort. It was a fine poem, and we thought it did credit to the genius of Fitz Smythe, to whom we innocently attributed its authorship. We meant no harm, and never dreamed of hurting anybody's feelings. But scarcely had the paper containing our "notice" left the press, when the sensitive Fitz Smythe came rushing into our sanctum, his teeth clenched, his eyes stony as a Gorgon's and his formidable moustache exhibiting an extra twist of ineffable ferocity, to demand "an instant apology." Of course we apologized -- we always do under similar circumstances -- unless the aggrieved individual is a clergyman, or a lady, or some other description of noncombatant. But this wasn't enough. The moustachiod hero wanted "a written retraction." Well, we have no objections; and accordingly to save further trouble, we offer the present "general explanation" as an apology for all the imaginary offences of which we have ever been guilty, or with which we shall be charged in the future. Is Fitz Smythe content?
[transcribed from microfilm]
Return to Chronicle index