Orion, by the way, was acquiring "feet" on his own account, and in one instance, at least, seems to have won his brother's commendation.

The 'Enterprise' letters mentioned we shall presently hear of again.

To Orion Clemens, in Carson City:

ESMERALDA, Sunday, May--, 1862. MY DEAR BROTHER,--Well, if you haven't "struck it rich--"that is, if the piece of rock you sent me came from a bona fide ledge--and it looks as if it did. If that is a ledge, and you own 200 feet in it, why, it's a big thing--and I have nothing more to say. If you have actually made something by helping to pay somebody's prospecting expenses it is a wonder of the first magnitude, and deserves to rank as such.

If that rock came from a well-defined ledge, that particular vein must be at least an inch wide, judging from this specimen, which is fully that thick.

When I came in the other evening, hungry and tired and ill-natured, and threw down my pick and shovel, Raish gave me your specimen--said Bagley brought it, and asked me if it were cinnabar. I examined it by the waning daylight, and took the specks of fine gold for sulphurets--wrote you I did not think much of it--and posted the letter immediately.

But as soon as I looked at it in the broad light of day, I saw my mistake. During the week, we have made three horns, got a blow-pipe, &c, and yesterday, all prepared, we prospected the "Mountain House." I broke the specimen in two, and found it full of fine gold inside. Then we washed out one-fourth of it, and got a noble prospect. This we reduced with the blow-pipe, and got about two cents (herewith enclosed) in pure gold.

As the fragment prospected weighed rather less than an ounce, this would give about $500 to the ton. We were eminently well satisfied. Therefore, hold on to the "Mountain House," for it is a "big thing." Touch it lightly, as far as money is concerned, though, for it is well to reserve the code of justice in the matter of quartz ledges--that is, consider them all (and their owners) guilty (of "shenanigan") until they are proved innocent.

P. S.--Monday--Ratio and I have bought one-half of a segregated claim in the original "Flyaway," for $100--$50 down. We haven't a cent in the house. We two will work the ledge, and have full control, and pay all expenses. If you can spare $100 conveniently, let me have it--or $50, anyhow, considering that I own one fourth of this, it is of course more valuable than one 1/7 of the "Mountain House," although not so rich ....

There is too much of a sameness in the letters of this period to use all of them. There are always new claims, and work done, apparently without system or continuance, hoping to uncover sudden boundless affluence.

In the next letter and the one following it we get a hint of an episode, or rather of two incidents which he combined into an episode in Roughing It. The story as told in that book is an account of what might have happened, rather than history. There was never really any money in the "blind lead" of the Wide West claim, except that which was sunk in it by unfortunate investors. Only extracts from these letters are given. The other portions are irrelevant and of slight value.

Extract from a letter to Orion Clemens, in Carson City:

1862. Two or three of the old "Salina" company entered our hole on the Monitor yesterday morning, before our men got there, and took possession, armed with revolvers. And according to the d---d laws of this forever d---d country, nothing but the District Court (and there ain't any) can touch the matter, unless it assumes the shape of an infernal humbug which they call "forcible entry and detainer," and in order to bring that about, you must compel the jumpers to use personal violence toward you! We went up and demanded possession, and they refused.

Mark Twain
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