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Page:Sketches by Mark Twain.djvu/273

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[[Category:]]THE PETRIFIED MAN. 271 THE PETRIFIED MAN. NOW, to show how really hard it is to foist a moral or a truth upon an unsuspecting public through a bur lesque without entirely and absurdly missing one s mark, I will here set down two experiences of my own in this thing. In the fall of 1862, in Nevada and California, the people got to running wild about extraordinary petrifica- tions and other natural marvels. One could scarcely pick up a paper without finding in it one or two glorified dis coveries of this kind. The mania was becoming a little ridiculous. I was a bran-new local editor in Virginia City, and I felt called upon to destroy this growing evil ; we all have our benignant fatherly moods at one time or another, I suppose. I chose to kill the petrifaction mania with a   delicate, a very delicate satire. But maybe it was alto gether too delicate, for nobody ever perceived the satire part of it at all. I put my scheme in the shape of the dis covery of a remarkably petrified man. I had had a temporary falling out with Mr. , the new coroner and justice of the peace of Humboldt, and thought I might touch him up a little at the same time and make him ridiculous, and thus combine pleasure with