Local Column

Mark Twain

Virginia City Territorial Enterprise/c. April 17, 1864

MISSIONARIES WANTED. – Yesterday morning Gashwiler and Charley Funk, citizens of Virginia City and of the Territory of Nevada, and officers of the great Virginia and Gold Hill Water Company, came rushing into our office in a state of excitement bordering on lunacy, and pointed out to us the following advertisement in the Evening Bulletin, with a fierce demand upon us to read it and render unto them our opinion concerning it:

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying: If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. – St. John, vii, 27.

“Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. – St. John, iv, 14.

“The lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. – Rev. vii, 17.”

We ask, now, in all candor, if there is a man in all Virginia who is competent by reason of his extraordinary natural or acquired stupidity, to guess what these gentlemen found in the above extracts to fill their souls with rage? As we hope for mercy past and present, they thought it was an attempt to ring in an opposition water company on the people! We call that infernal ignorance – and if we could think of a stronger term Gashwiler and Charley Funk should have the benefit of it. When men get so far gone that they do not know the Sermon on the Mount from a bid for a water franchise, it is time for them to begin to reform and stop taking desperate chances on the hereafter.


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