[the text of this article is from C. A. V. Putman's "Dan De Quille and Mark Twain," published in the Salt Lake City Tribune on April 25, 1898. It may be based upon memory and incomplete.]
I TAKE IT ALL BACK
The story published in the Enterprise reciting the slaughter of a family near Empire was all a fiction. It was understood to be such by all acquainted with the locality in which the alleged affair occurred. In the first place, Empire City and Dutch Nick's are one, and in the next there is no "great pine forest" nearer than the Sierra Nevada mountains. But it was necessary to publish the story in order to get the fact into the San Francisco papers that the Spring Valley Water company was "cooking" dividends by borrowing money to declare them on for its stockholders. The only way you can get a fact into a San Francisco journal is to smuggle it in through some great tragedy.
The Works of Mark Twain; Early Tales & Sketches, Vol. 1 1851-1864,
(Univ. of California Press, 1979), p. 320-21.]
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