Mark Twain

Virginia City Territorial Enterprise/February 26, 1863

He became a newspaper reporter, and crushed Truth to earth and kept her there; he bought and sold his own notes, and never paid his board; he pretended great friendship for Gillespie, in order to get to sleep with him; then he took advantage of his bed fellow and robbed him of his glass eye and his false teeth; of course he sold the articles, and Gillespie was obliged to issue more county scrip than the law allowed, in order to get them back again; the Unreliable broke into my trunk at Washoe City, and took jewelry and fine clothes and things, worth thousands and thousands of dollars; he was present, without invitation, at every party and ball and wedding which transpired in Carson during thirteen years.

But the last act of his life was the crowning meanness of it: I refer to the abuse of me in the Virginia Union of last Saturday, and also to a list of Langton’s stage passengers sent to the same paper by him, wherein my name appears between those of “Sam Chung” and “Sam Lee.” This is his treatment of me, his benefactor. That malicious joke was his dying atrocity. During thirteen years he played himself for a white man: he fitly closed his vile career by trying to play me for a Chinaman. He is dead and buried now, though: let him rest, let him rot. Let his vices be forgotten, but let his virtues be remembered: it will not infringe much upon any man’s time.


  1. S.—By private letters from Carson, since the above was in type, I am pained to learn that the Unreliable, true to his unnatural instincts, came to life again in the midst of his funeral sermon, and remains so to this moment. He was always unreliable in life—he could not even be depended upon in death. The shrouded corpse shoved the coffin lid to one side, rose to a sitting posture, cocked his eye at the minister and smilingly said, “O let up, Dominie, this is played out, you know—loan me two bits!” The frightened congregation rushed from the house, and the Unreliable followed them, with his coffin on his shoulder. He sold it for two dollars and a half, and got drunk at a “bit house” on the proceeds. He is still drunk.

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