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Editorial Wild Oats   By: (1835-1911)

Book cover

First Page:

Editorial Wild Oats

BY

Mark Twain

ILLUSTRATED

NEW YORK AND LONDON HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS MCMV

Copyright, 1875, 1899, 1903, by SAMUEL L. CLEMENS.

Copyright, 1879, 1899, by SAMUEL L. CLEMENS.

Copyright, 1905, by HARPER & BROTHERS.

All rights reserved.

Published September, 1905.

[Illustration: See p. 57

"I FANCIED HE WAS DISPLEASED"]

Contents

PAGE MY FIRST LITERARY VENTURE 3

JOURNALISM IN TENNESSEE 11

NICODEMUS DODGE PRINTER 30

MR. BLOKE'S ITEM 41

HOW I EDITED AN AGRICULTURAL PAPER 52

THE KILLING OF JULIUS CÆSAR "LOCALIZED" 70

Illustrations

"I FANCIED HE WAS DISPLEASED" Frontispiece

"HE HAD CONCLUDED HE WOULDN'T" Facing p. 4

"GILLESPIE HAD CALLED" " 24

"WHEEZING THE MUSIC OF 'CAMPTOWN RACES'" " 38

"I HAVE READ THIS ABSURD ITEM OVER" " 50

"A LONG CADAVEROUS CREATURE" " 58

"THERE WAS NOTHING IN THE POCKETS" " 82

Transcriber's Note: The dialect in this book is transcribed exactly as in the original.

Editorial Wild Oats

My First Literary Venture

I was a very smart child at the age of thirteen an unusually smart child, I thought at the time. It was then that I did my first newspaper scribbling, and most unexpectedly to me it stirred up a fine sensation in the community. It did, indeed, and I was very proud of it, too. I was a printer's "devil," and a progressive and aspiring one. My uncle had me on his paper (the Weekly Hannibal Journal , two dollars a year, in advance five hundred subscribers, and they paid in cord wood, cabbages, and unmarketable turnips), and on a lucky summer's day he left town to be gone a week, and asked me if I thought I could edit one issue of the paper judiciously. Ah! didn't I want to try! Higgins was the editor on the rival paper. He had lately been jilted, and one night a friend found an open note on the poor fellow's bed, in which he stated that he could no longer endure life and had drowned himself in Bear Creek. The friend ran down there and discovered Higgins wading back to shore. He had concluded he wouldn't. The village was full of it for several days, but Higgins did not suspect it. I thought this was a fine opportunity. I wrote an elaborately wretched account of the whole matter, and then illustrated it with villanous cuts engraved on the bottoms of wooden type with a jack knife one of them a picture of Higgins wading out into the creek in his shirt, with a lantern, sounding the depth of the water with a walking stick. I thought it was desperately funny, and was densely unconscious that there was any moral obliquity about such a publication. Being satisfied with this effort, I looked around for other worlds to conquer, and it struck me that it would make good, interesting matter to charge the editor of a neighboring country paper with a piece of gratuitous rascality and "see him squirm."

[Illustration: "HE HAD CONCLUDED HE WOULDN'T"]

I did it, putting the article into the form of a parody on the "Burial of Sir John Moore" and a pretty crude parody it was, too.

Then I lampooned two prominent citizens outrageously not because they had done anything to deserve it, but merely because I thought it was my duty to make the paper lively.

Next I gently touched up the newest stranger the lion of the day, the gorgeous journeyman tailor from Quincy. He was a simpering coxcomb of the first water, and the "loudest" dressed man in the State... Continue reading book >>




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