Ambrose Bierce

San Francisco News Letter/September 11, 1869

On last Monday evening the venerable Paleozoics met as usual—just as if nothing had happened since the creation. Professor Iguanodon Blake took the chair, and the others stretched their proportions miscellaneously along the floor, and drowsily munched their prehistoric peanuts. After the minutes of a previous meeting in the latter part of the twelfth century had been read everybody was waked for business. Dr. Ichthyosaurus Saxe took from the tail-pocket of his coat a redwood log about a foot in diameter, which he explained he had found firmly imbedded in his neighbor’s wood pile. The bark showed that it had been there ever so many years, but it would probably never be there again. He thought it might be the butt cut of original sin described by Professor Parson Brownlow in his scientific work the Knoxville Whig. He also exhibited a specimen of clay found at the bottom of a well, and intimated that there was more where that came from. This being discredited, the Doctor mounted his velocipede and went off home at a tangent. Captain Sammon (vulgate, Gammon) presented a shell found on the very summit of Telegraph Hill. It resembled that of the common oyster very much indeed. Dr. Pterodactylus Ayres exhibited the tooth of a mastodon, extracted without pain by a well-known dentist, a friend of his, whose card he begged leave to present. He also made some highly intelligent remarks about the fibrous texture of the bark of the Mexican dog. Some apples from Alameda which had lain for years exposed to the sun and hogs were shown and then devoured by Dr. Megatherium Gibbons Dr. Plesiosaurus Cooper  gave warning that he had prepared an article on the animals of California. this intelligence was received with some apprehension and the article was not received at all. The Chair called attention to the singular light observed in the heavens some time ago. (Dr. Gibbons wished to know if he referred to the sun.) This had been seen at Sacramento, Grass Valley and Mud Springs. At the latter place the entire fire department had been unable to extinguish it. He could explain it only through the agency of mist and vapor, and he proceeded to throw such a quantity of these around the subject that it was as clear as mud. At this juncture Professor Troglodyte got into a scientific discussion on a political issue with Dr. Trilobite, and the two came into active competition, employing relics of a remote geologic period, with a total disregard of occipital and parietal integrity. Our reporter suddenly remembered a bill he was anxious to liquidate, and hastily quitted the temple of science, materially assisted as to celerity by limestone formation in the back.


(Source: California State Library, Microfilm Collection)