<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Letter from Mark Twain to Orion Clemens - May 11, 1862
Mark Twain Letters

Letter from Mark Twain to Orion Clemens

ESMERALDA, May 11, 1862.

Mark Twain Orion Clemens

MY DEAR BRO.,—TO use a French expression I have "got my d—d satisfy" at last. Two years' time will make us capitalists, in spite of anything. Therefore, we need fret and fume, and worry and doubt no more, but just lie still and put up with privations for six months. Perhaps three months will "let us out." Then, if Government refuses to pay the rent on your new office we can do it ourselves. We have got to wait six weeks, anyhow, for a dividend, maybe longer—but that it will come there is no shadow of a doubt, I have got the thing sifted down to a dead moral certainty. I own one-eighth of the new "Monitor Ledge, Clemens Company," and money can't buy a foot of it; because I know it to contain our fortune. The ledge is six feet wide, and one needs no glass to see gold and silver in it. Phillips and I own one half of a segregated claim in the "Flyaway" discovery, and good interests in two extensions on it. We put men to work on our part of the discovery yesterday, and last night they brought us some fine specimens. Rock taken from ten feet below the surface on the other part of the discovery, has yielded $150.00 to the ton in the mill and we are at work 300 feet from their shaft.

May 12—Yours by the mail received last night. "Eighteen hundred feet in the C. T. Rice's Company!" Well, I am glad you did not accept of the 200 feet. Tell Rice to give it to some poor man.

But hereafter, when anybody holds up a glittering prospect before you, just argue in this wise, viz: That, if all spare change be devoted to working the "Monitor" and "Flyaway," 12 months, or 24 at furthest, will find all our earthly wishes satisfied, so far as money is concerned—and the more "feet" we have, the more anxiety we must bear—therefore, why not say "No—d—-n your 'prospects,' I wait on a sure thing—and a man is less than a man, if he can't wait 2 years for a fortune?" When you and I came out here, we did not expect '63 or '64 to find us rich men—and if that proposition had been made, we would have accepted it gladly. Now, it is made.

Well, I am willing, now, that "Neary's tunnel," or anybody else's tunnel shall succeed. Some of them may beat us a few months, but we shall be on hand in the fullness of time, as sure as fate. I would hate to swap chances with any member of the "tribe"—in fact, I am so lost to all sense and reason as to be capable of refusing to trade "Flyaway" (with but 200 feet in the Company of four,) foot for foot for that splendid "Lady Washington," with its lists of capitalist proprietors, and its 35,000 feet of Priceless ground.

I wouldn't mind being in some of those Clear Creek claims, if I lived in Carson and we could spare the money. But I have struck my tent in Esmeralda, and I care for no mines but those which I can superintend myself. I am a citizen here now, and I am satisfied—although R. and I are strapped and we haven't three days' rations in the house.

Raish is looking anxiously for money and so am I. Send me whatever you can spare conveniently—I want it to work the Flyaway with. My fourth of that claim only cost me $50, (which isn't paid yet, though,) and I suppose I could sell it here in town for ten times that amount today, but I shall probably hold onto it till the cows come home. I shall work the "Monitor" and the other claims with my own hands. I prospected of a pound of "M," yesterday, and Raish reduced it with the blow-pipe, and got about ten or twelve cents in gold and silver, besides the other half of it which we spilt on the floor and didn't get. The specimen came from the croppings, but was a choice one, and showed much free gold to the naked eye.

Well, I like the corner up-stairs office amazingly—provided, it has one fine, large front room superbly carpeted, for the safe and a $150 desk, or such a matter—one handsome room amidships, less handsomely gotten up, perhaps, for records and consultations, and one good-sized bedroom and adjoining it a kitchen, neither of which latter can be entered by anybody but yourself—and finally, when one of the ledges begins to pay, the whole to be kept in parlor order by two likely contrabands at big wages, the same to be free of expense to the Government. You want the entire second story—no less room than you would have had in Harris and Co's. Make them fix for you before the 1st of July-for maybe you might want to "come out strong" on the 4th, you know.

No, the Post Office is all right and kept by a gentleman but W. F. Express isn't. They charge 25 cts to express a letter from here, but I believe they have quit charging twice for letters that arrive prepaid.

The "Flyaway" specimen I sent you, (taken by myself from DeKay's shaft, 300 feet from where we are going to sink) cannot be called "choice," exactly—say something above medium, to be on the safe side. But I have seen exceedingly choice chunks from that shaft. My intention at first in sending the Antelope specimen was that you might see that it resembles the Monitor—but, come to think, a man can tell absolutely nothing about that without seeing both ledges themselves. I tried to break a handsome chunk from a huge piece of my darling Monitor which we brought from the croppings yesterday, but it all splintered up, and I send you the scraps. I call that "choice"—any d—-d fool would. Don't ask if it has been assayed, for it hasn't. It don't need it. It is amply able to speak for itself. It is six feet wide on top, and traversed through and through with veins whose color proclaims their worth. What the devil does a man want with any more feet when he owns in the Flyaway and the invincible bomb-proof Monitor?

If I had anything more to say I have forgotten what it was, unless, perhaps, that I want a sum of money—anywhere from $20 to $150, as soon as possible.

Raish sends regards. He or I, one will drop a line to the "Age" occasionally. I suppose you saw my letters in the "Enterprise."

Yr. BRO,

P. S. I suppose Pamela never will regain her health, but she could improve it by coming to California—provided the trip didn't kill her.

You see Bixby is on the flag-ship. He always was the best pilot on the Mississippi, and deserves his "posish." They have done a reckless thing, though, in putting Sam Bowen on the "Swan"—for if a bomb-shell happens to come his way, he will infallibly jump overboard.

Send me another package of those envelopes, per Bagley's coat pocket.

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