n Gold Hill the robbers all went up on the Divide to wait, but Mark's audience gave him a kind of reception after his lecture, and we nearly froze to death up there before he came along. By and by I went back to see what was the matter. Sam and Denis were coming, and carrying a carpet-sack about half full of silver between them. I shadowed them and blew a policeman's whistle as a signal to the boys when the lecturers were within about a hundred yards of the place. I heard Sam say to Denis:

"'I'm glad they've got a policeman on the Divide. They never had one in my day.'

"Just about that time the boys, all with black masks on and silver dollars at the sides of their tongues to disguise their voices, stepped out and stuck six-shooters at Sam and Denis and told them to put up their hands. The robbers called each other 'Beauregard' and 'Stonewall Jackson.' Of course Denis's hands went up, and Mark's, too, though Mark wasn't a bit scared or excited. He talked to the robbers in his regular fashion. He said:

"'Don't flourish those pistols so promiscuously. They might go off by accident.'

"They told him to hand over his watch and money; but when he started to take his hands down they made him put them up again. Then he asked how they expected him to give them his valuables with his hands up in the sky. He said his treasures didn't lie in heaven. He told them not to take his watch, which was the one Sandy Baldwin and Theodore Winters had given him as Governor of the Third House, but we took it all the same.

"Whenever he started to put his hands down we made him put them up again. Once he said:

"'Don't you fellows be so rough. I was tenderly reared.'

"Then we told him and Denis to keep their hands up for fifteen minutes after we were gone--this was to give us time to get back to Virginia and be settled when they came along. As we were going away Mark called:

"'Say, you forgot something.'

"'What is it?'

"Why, the carpet-bag.'

"He was cool all the time. Senator Bill Stewart, in his Autobiography, tells a great story of how scared Mark was, and how he ran; but Stewart was three thousand miles from Virginia by that time, and later got mad at Mark because he made a joke about him in 'Roughing It'.

"Denis wanted to take his hands down pretty soon after we were gone, but Mark said:

"'No, Denis, I'm used to obeying orders when they are given in that convincing way; we'll just keep our hands up another fifteen minutes or so for good measure.'

"We were waiting in a big saloon on C Street when Mark and Denis came along. We knew they would come in, and we expected Mark would be excited; but he was as unruffled as a mountain lake. He told us they had been robbed, and asked me if I had any money. I gave him a hundred dollars of his own money, and he ordered refreshments for everybody. Then we adjourned to the Enterprise office, where he offered a reward, and Dan de Quille wrote up the story and telegraphed it to the other newspapers. Then somebody suggested that Mark would have to give another lecture now, and that the robbery would make a great subject. He entered right into the thing, and next day we engaged Piper's Opera House, and people were offering five dollars apiece for front seats. It would have been the biggest thing that ever came to Virginia if it had come off. "But we made a mistake, then, by taking Sandy Baldwin into the joke. We took in Joe here, too, and gave him the watch and money to keep, which made it hard for Joe afterward. But it was Sandy Baldwin that ruined us. He had Mark out to dinner the night before the show was to come off, and after he got well warmed up with champagne he thought it would be a smart thing to let Mark into what was really going on.

"Mark didn't see it our way. He was mad clear through."

At this point Joseph Goodman took up the story. He said:

"Those devils put Sam's money, watch, keys, pencils, and all his things into my hands. I felt particularly mean at being made accessory to the crime, especially as Sam was my guest, and I had grave doubts as to how he would take it when he found out the robbery was not genuine.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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