"MELTON MOWBRAY," Dutch Flat.--This correspondent sends a lot of doggerel, and says it has been regarded as very good in Dutch Flat. I give a specimen verse:

The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold, And his cohorts were gleaming with purple and gold; And the sheen of his spears was like stars on the sea, When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.**

**This piece of pleasantry, published in a San Francisco paper, was mistaken by the country journals for seriousness, and many and loud were the denunciations of the ignorance of author and editor, in not knowing that the lines in question were "written by Byron."

There, that will do. That may be very good Dutch Flat poetry, but it won't do in the metropolis. It is too smooth and blubbery; it reads like butter milk gurgling from a jug. What the people ought to have is something spirited--something like "Johnny Comes Marching Home." However keep on practising, and you may succeed yet. There is genius in you, but too much blubber.

"ST. CLAIR HIGGINS." Los Angeles.--"My life is a failure; I have adored, wildly, madly, and she whom I love has turned coldly from me and shed her affections upon another. What would you advise me to do?"

You should set your affections on another also--or on several, if there are enough to go round. Also, do everything you can to make your former flame unhappy. There is an absurd idea disseminated in novels, that the happier a girl is with another man, the happier it makes the old lover she has blighted. Don't allow yourself to believe any such nonsense as that. The more cause that girl finds to regret that she did not marry you, the more comfortable you will feel over it. It isn't poetical, but it is mighty sound doctrine.

"ARITHMETICUS." Virginia, Nevada.--"If it would take a cannon-ball 3 and 1/3 seconds to travel four miles, and 3 and 3/8 seconds to travel the next four, and 3 and 5/8 to travel the next four, and if its rate of progress continued to diminish in the same ratio, how long would it take it to go fifteen hundred million miles?"

I don't know.

"AMBITIOUS LEARNER," Oakland.--Yes; you are right America was not discovered by Alexander Selkirk.

"DISCARDED LOVER."--"I loved, and still love, the beautiful Edwitha Howard, and intended to marry her. Yet, during my temporary absence at Benicia, last week, alas! she married Jones. Is my happiness to be thus blasted for life? Have I no redress?"

Of course you have. All the law, written and unwritten, is on your side. The intention and not the act constitutes crime--in other words, constitutes the deed. If you call your bosom friend a fool, and intend it for an insult, it is an insult; but if you do it playfully, and meaning no insult, it is not an insult. If you discharge a pistol accidentally, and kill a man, you can go free, for you have done no murder; but if you try to kill a man, and manifestly intend to kill him, but fail utterly to do it, the law still holds that the intention constituted the crime, and you are guilty of murder. Ergo, if you had married Edwitha accidentally, and without really intending to do it, you would not actually be married to her at all, because the act of marriage could not be complete without the intention. And ergo, in the strict spirit of the law, since you deliberately intended to marry Edwitha, and didn't do it, you are married to her all the same--because, as I said before, the intention constitutes the crime. It is as clear as day that Edwitha is your wife, and your redress lies in taking a club and mutilating Jones with it as much as you can. Any man has a right to protect his own wife from the advances of other men. But you have another alternative--you were married to Edwitha first, because of your deliberate intention, and now you can prosecute her for bigamy, in subsequently marrying Jones. But there is another phase in this complicated case: You intended to marry Edwitha, and consequently, according to law, she is your wife--there is no getting around that; but she didn't marry you, and if she never intended to marry you, you are not her husband, of course.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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