[EDITOR'S NOTE: These items have not been previously republished elsewhere. They are included in this collection because of their potential to be the work of Clemens and are deserving of further research and consideration. The item "What Does He Mean?" may be in response to an earlier item which mocked the Grass Valley Union which appeared December 15 titled "Charming Romance." The item "This Won't Go Down" is similar in its complaint to a letter Clemens published in the San Francisco Examiner on February 7, 1866 titled "Explanation of a Mysterious Sentence." The item "Are You There, Old Truepenny?" relates to Beriah Brown who was mentioned in a Chronicle article on December 11.]
FLOWERS OF IMAGINATION
It is with profound sorrow, not unmixed with a feeling of admiration for the sublime audacity such an act involves, that we call attention to the following statement which we find in the theatrical column of last Sunday's Mercury. The critic is speaking of the operatic performance which was given at the Academy of Music on Saturday night last: "The trio in the second act between 'Norma,' 'Adalgisa' and 'Pollione,' was sung with great effect and loudly applauded. As the curtain rose in response to the call of the audience, a shower of bouquets fell upon the stage." Now that "shower" consisted, to matter-of-fact observation, of a solitary bouquet. If the Mercury's critic argues that a shower ought to have fallen, we coincide; but if he insists upon asserting that the aforesaid shower did fall, we stand from under -- because however serene things may appear, something is liable to fall at any moment, and it's as likely to be a descent of bats of the vicious brick species, as flowers -- just as the man's imagination takes a notion to open up on a feller. There are circumstances under which, even in our rigid judgment, a gentle stretching of the truth is permissible; but good Lord! a few more yanks like the foregoing, and there won't be any truth left to stretch. We can't help envying the critic of the Mercury, though. He's got the wealthiest imagination within our knowledge. Why, he could surpass the "Arabian Nights" easy, and still have capital enough left to set up a batch of maniac poets, including one or two of the "Prophetic" sort. He could. But don't mix your facts and fancies in that way any more and then serve up the compound as criticism, Mr. Critic of the Mercury. It isn't good, you know, to poke down that sort of "hash." It's too rich for every day diet.
IT'S COME AT LAST
We knew it all along; we warned poor "Bret" of it -- but he wouldn't heed our friendly monitions, and thought it was all a joke, and wouldn't prove anything serious. And so he went on, either in the guileless and unsuspecting innocence of childhood, or the austere courage of a martyr, and published his "Outcroppings." And now the thing is done, and poor Bret is done for. The storm has burst. Sage Brush land is in arms, and the Sage Brush poets have taken off their coats and commenced sailing in with a ferocity that indicates war to the knife. The Gold Hill News sounded the first trumpet blast, and then throwing its cap into the ring jumped in after it, bawling "purp stuff!" which is, we understand, some mysterious sage brush or Digger shibboleth. Next the Enterprise sounds a loud alarm, and after a big pull at the Tripple-Thunderer's own jug, belabors the wretched "Bret" and his poetical protegees through five mortal columns of that literary organ. We are informed that the Enterprise man is himself regarded as one of the sons of Apollo by Sage Brushers generally, and that this fearful paroxism of wrath is due to the fact that "Bret" did not make him an "outcropper." If so, "Bret" will bitterly repent the slight to Sage Brush genius when he comes to see how he has been belabored.
WHAT DOES HE MEAN?
"Satellite," the San Francisco corespondent of the Grass Valley paper, seems to think that the CHRONICLE is just now in a state of extra ferocity, for some reason or other. "The sprightly, sarcastic CHRONICLE" quoth "Satellite," "is now on the war path, has bedaubed itself with paint of the blackest hue, put an extra feather in its cap, and has raised high in air tomahawk." Good gracious, what an appalling picture! But it is all news to us; we didn't know that anything specially exciting had taken place, and supposed that we were jogging along in our usual meek and inoffensive way.
THIS WON'T GO DOWN
The new local items man of the little Call is a lucid paragraphist in the main, but he got off a paragraph in yesterday's paper that won't do, Mr. Brown. This sort of composition requires instant explanation and apology. The perpetrator of it calls it "New Sort of Sport," and it may amuse him immensely, but as sure as it is persisted in the readers of the Call will become as "crazy of coots:" "Yesterday afternoon we stopped for a half hour on one of the wharves, watching a lot of boys lassoing gulls. They [now who does he mean by they, the boys or gulls?] had thrown a quantity of bread crumbs into the water, and when the birds come to gather them into their crops, the youths would throw their lassoes with unerring dexterity, and before they became aware of their danger, were being hauled upon terra firma." We haven't been able to enjoy a minute's peace since reading the above paragraph. Who, oh! who "were being hauled upon terra firma before they became aware of their danger" -- the youths or the gulls? Confound it, no wonder people get disgusted daily and commit suicide. This sort of cold-blooded botheration must be stopped!
ARE YOU THERE, OLD TRUEPENNY?
Beriah Brown has at last turned up again, as editor of the Santa Rosa Democrat. We have seen a late copy of Beriah's new paper, which proves that he is a clear grit and not by any means subjugated. Beriah has turned poet, and Frank Bret Harte has made a serious mistake in not placing him among the "outcroppers." Here is an extract from Beriah's last effusion, glorifying the secesh flag:
"Take that banner down, 'tis tattered,
Broken is its staff, and shattered,
And its valiant host are scattered
Over whom it floated high.
Oh! 'tis hard for us to fold it,
Hard to think there's none to hold it,
Hard that those who once unrolled it,
Now must furl it with a sigh"
[transcribed from microfilm]
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