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Territorial Enterprise, November 4, 1866


The following characteristic card from Mark Twain is in reply to a general invitation of the residents of Carson extended to him to visit the State Capital and deliver his lecture on the Sandwich Islands:


VIRGINIA, November 1.

His Excellency H. G. Blasdel, Governor, and Messrs. A. Helm, O. A. F. Gilbert, H. F. Rice and others:

Gentlemen: Your kind and cordial invitation to lecture before my old friends in Carson has reached me, and I hasten to thank you gratefully for this generous recognition -- this generous toleration, I should say -- of one who has shamefully deserted the high office of Governor of the Third House of Nevada and gone into the Missionary business, thus leaving you to the mercy of scheming politicians -- an act which, but for your forgiving disposition, must have stamped my name with infamy.

I take a natural pride in being welcomed home by so long a list of old personal friends, and shall do my level best to please them, hoping at the same time that they will be more indulgent toward my shortcomings than they would feel called upon to be toward those of a stranger.

Kindly thanking you again, gentlemen, I gladly accept your invitation, and shall appear on the stage of the Carson Theatre on Saturday evening, November 3d, and disgorge a few lines and as much truth as I can pump out without damaging my constitution.

Yours sincerely,

Ex-Gov. Third House, and late Independent Missionary to the Sandwich Islands.

P.S. -- I would have answered yesterday, but I was on the sick list, and I thought I had better wait a day and see whether I was going to get well or not.


[reprinted in Mark Twain in Nevada, Effie Mona Mack, (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1947), p. 335-36; also reprinted in Mark Twain's Western Years, Ivan Benson, (Stanford University Press, 1938), p. 200.]

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