Mark Twain on Artemus Ward

Mark Twain

Virginia City Territorial Enterprise/November 27, 1863

We understand that Artemus Ward contemplates visiting this region to deliver his lectures, and perhaps make some additions to his big “sho.” In his last letter to us he appeared particularly anxious to “sekure a kupple ov horned todes; alsowe, a lizard which it may be persessed of 2 tales, or any comical snaix, and enny sich little unconsidered trifles, as the poets say, which they do not interest the kommun mind. Further, be it nown, that I would like a opportunity for to maik a moddel in wax of a average size wash-owe man, with feet attached, as an kompanion pictur to a waxen figger of a nigger I have sekured, at an large outlaye, whitch it has a unnatural big hed onto it. Could you also manage to gobbel up the skulp of the layte Missus Hopkins? I adore sich foot-prints of atrocity as it were, muchly. I was roominatin’ on gittin’ a bust of Mark Twain, but I’ve kwit kontemplatin’ the work. They tell me down heer to the Bay that the busts air so kommun it wood only bee an waist of wax too git us kounterfit presentiment.” We shall assist Mr. Ward in every possible way about making his Washoe collection and have no doubt but he will pick up many curious things during his sojourn.