Home | Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search

Territorial Enterprise, December 29, 1863



CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. - We received from Carson, Saturday, a long yellow box, of suspicious appearance, with the following inscription upon it: "Mark Twain, ENTERPRISE Office, Virginia - Free - Politeness Langton's Pioneer Express - Be-hi-me-soi-vin." That last phrase is Greek, and means "Bully for you!" We are not sure that it was written by Mrs. H. F. R., of Carson, and there was no evidence accompanying the box to show that it was. This is what makes us so obstinate in the opinion that it might have been written by somebody else. The box contained a toy rabbit, of the jackass persuasion, gifted with ears of aggravated dimensions, and swathed in sage-brush; an Indian chief - a mere human creation - made of raisins, strung on a skeleton formed of a single knitting-needle, with a solitary fig for a body, and a chicken feather driven into the head of the effigy, to denote its high official character. One more present remained - the same being a toy watchman's rattle, made of pine and tastefully painted. We are glad to have that rattle now, but when we asked for such a thing at a certain convivial party in Carson, it will be remembered that we meant to bestow it upon another young man who was present, and whose absent mind, we imagined, might be collected together and concentrated by means of such an instrument. We have presented the rabbit to Artemus Ward, to be preserved as a specimen of our resources; the other presents we shall always wear near our heart. The following report of the committee, accompanying the box, has been received, accepted, adopted, and the same referred to the Committee of the Whole people:

CARSON City, December 25, 1863.

Mr. MARK TWAIN - Sir: The undersigned has the honor to be selected by the gay company of ladies and gentlemen and boys and girls and Santa Claus, who came in person with Judge Dixson's wolf-skin cap, coat, pants and a mask, and sleigh bells around his waist, and dashed in the room just after Mrs. Cutter and two long rows of children had sung a pretty piece, and read a letter from Santa Claus, when that individual immediately dashed into the room to the terror of some of the children, thirty-six in all, and climbed the Christmas tree, all covered with presents, and little lighted candles, and handed down things for everybody, and after wards danced with the now reconciled children, and then dashed out; after which there was supper and dancing by the ladies and gentlemen; and the school which was thus made to enjoy them selves last night till midnight, was Miss H. K. Clapp and Mrs. Cutter's Seminary, which is one of the best there is, and instructed me to send you these things, which I do by Langton's Express, handed down from the Christmas tree by Santa Claus, marked "Mark Twain," to wit: One rabbit under a sage brush, to represent your design for a seal in the Constitutional Convention; one rattle, presented by a lady of whom you begged for one when you were here last, and a Pi-Ute to be eaten, being a chief with a chicken feather in his hat, composed of a fig for his body and otherwise raisins, sent to you by request of a lady of the medical profession, all of which is submitted by


[reprinted in The Works of Mark Twain; Early Tales & Sketches, Vol. 1 1851-1864, (Univ. of California Press, 1979), pp. 421-22.] Available from

return to Enterprise index

Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search