[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. The item "A Dead Horse" originally appeared in the Grass Valley Union on December 10, 1865.]
The readers of the Alta California perfectly dote on the works of the accomplished romancist, Fitz Smythe, whose writing possess the moral features of T. S. Arthur, the sensational qualities of Miss Braddon, and the originality of W. J. Reynolds as regards style of composition. We had thought that Fitz Smythe had the field to himself; but, alas! all great men have their imitators -- and Fitz Smythe is no exception to the rule. The reporter of the Union, a paper published in that verdant vale, Grass Valley, has jumped into Fitz Smythe's pasture and commenced cavorting around. Thus:
A DEAD HORSE -- Most our readers are doubtless well acquainted with the little balck horse that has been hauling milk about town during the past Summer. IThat little creature has conveyed milk to us for several months. But now he id dead, and Alderman is disconsolate. We are not to see his little black form again, for he has been hauled off to the place appointed for "dead horses." The unfortunate pony died on Friday last.
It is not every reporter that would work thus for a dead horse; not every reporter could do up a dead horse in that style. In Grass Valley that horse "hauled milk;" in the Grass Valley Union he draws tears from many an eye. "The little creature has conveyed milk to us for several months." What touching pathos! Fitz Smythe, look to your laurels. Was the little creature a mare, and does the reporter of the Grass Valley Union do up that style of item under the gentle stimulant of mare's milk? The author of that "Dead Horse" romance announced in the same issue of the paper in which it appeared that he is coming to San Francisco. Even as we pen these lines he may be in this city! Is it possible that he has come down here to run Fitz Smythe off the Alta? We do fear it exceeding. Arouse thee, Fitz Smythe; write a romance about a deceased Jerusalem pony which has conveyed milk to you, that shall knock spots out of that "Dead Horse" romance! Strain yourself! Try stimulants. Ass milk isn't strong enough for you; try mare's milk. Lo, the reporter for the Grass Valley Union has come down "like a wolf on the fold," and if you don't keep your eyes peeled he'll yank you out of the position which you now so eminently adorn. Look to it, Fitz Smythe -- look to it.
[transcribed from microfilm]
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