Journalism in Tennessee

Journalism in Tennessee – Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) (1835-1910)

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, universally known under his pen-name of Mark Twain, was born at Florida, Mo., in 1835. His early education was fragmentary. He spent some years of his youth as a journeyman printer, wandering from town to town. At the age of seventeen he worked on a Mississippi boat, and later went West with his brother. In Nevada he began to write for the newspapers.

In i86g he achieved his first great success with Innocents Abroad, based on his experiences in Europe. Then followed a long period of travelling, lecturing, business enterprise, and writing. He is one of the best-known American authors throughout the world. Though Mark Twain’s brief sketches can for the most part hardly be considered short stories, there are a few, like that which follows, that may legitimately be included in the category. It is reprinted from Sketches, Mew and Old, 1875.

Journalism in Tennessee

From Sketches, New and Old

I was told by the physician that a Southern climate would improve my health, and so I went down to Tennessee, and got a berth on the Morning Glory and Johnson County War-Whoop as associate editor. When I went on duty I found the chief editor sitting tilted back in a three-legged chair with his feet on a pine table.

There was another pine table in the room and another afflicted chair, and both were half buried under newspapers and scraps and sheets of manuscript. There was a wooden box of sand, sprinkled with cigar stubs and “old soldiers,” and a stove with a door hanging by its upper hinge. The chief editor had a long-tailed black frock coat on, and white linen pants. His boots were small and neatly blacked.

Journalism in Tennessee – He wore a ruffled shirt, a large seal ring, a standing collar of obsolete pattern, and a checkered neckerchief with the ends hanging down. Date of costume about 1848. He was smoking a cigar, and trying to think of a word, and in pawing his hair he had rumpled his locks a good deal. He was scowling fearfully, and I judged that he was concocting a particularly knotty editorial. He told me to take the exchanges and skim through them and write up the “Spirit of the Tennessee Press,” condensing into the article all of their contents that seemed of interest.

Journalism in Tennessee part 5

I said, “I`ll have to get you to excuse me; I think maybe I might write to suit you after a while; as soon as I had had some practice and learned the language I am confident I could. But, to speak the plain truth, that sort of energy of expression has its inconveniences, and a man is liable to interruption. You see that yourself.

Vigorous writing is calculated to elevate the public, no doubt, but then I do not like to attract so much attention as it calls forth. I can`t write with comfort when I am interrupted so much as I have been to-day. I like this berth well enough, but I don`t like to be left here to wait on the customers.

The experiences are novel, I grant you, and entertaining too, after a fashion, but they are not judiciously distributed. A gentleman shoots at you through the window and cripples me; a bomb-shell comes down the stove-pipe for your gratification and sends the stove- door down my throat; a friend drops in to swap compliments with yo

Journalism in Tennessee part 4

They then talked about the elections and the crops while they reloaded, and I fell to tying up my wounds. But presently they opened fire again with animation, and every shot took effect but it is proper to remark that five out of the six fell to my share. The sixth one mortally wounded the Colonel, who remarked, with fine humor, that he would have to say good morning now, as he had business up town. He then inquired the way to the undertaker`s and left.

The chief turned to me and said, “I am expecting company to dinner, and shall have to get ready. It will be a favor to me if you will read proofs and attend to the customers.”

I winced a little at the idea of attending to the customers, but I was too bewildered by the fusillade that was still ringing in my ears to think of anything to say.

Blistering article

He continued, “Jones will be here at three cowhide him. Gillespie will call earlier, perhaps throw him out of the window. Fergus

Journalism in Tennessee part 3

That ass, Blossom, of the Higginsville Thunderbolt and Battle Cry of Freedom, is down here again sponging at the Van Buren.

We observe that the besotted blackguard of the Mud Spring Morning Howl is giving out, with his usual propensity for lying, that Van Werter is not elected. The heaven-born mission of journalism is to disseminate truth; to eradicate error; to educate, refine and elevate the tone of public morals and manners, and make all men more gentle, more virtuous, more charitable, and in all ways better, and holier, and happier; and yet this black-hearted scoundrel degrades his great office persistently to the dissemination of falsehood, calumny, vituperation, and vulgarity.

Idea of a pavement

Blathersville wants a Nicholson pavement—it wants a jail and a poor- house more. The idea of a pavement in a one-horse town composed of two gin-mills, a blacksmith`s shop, and that mustard-plaster of a news-paper, the Daily Hurrah! The crawling insec

Journalism in Tennessee part 2

John W. Blossom, Esq., the able editor of the Higginsville Thunderbolt and Battle Cry of Freedom, arrived in the city yesterday. He is stopping at the Van Buren House.

We observe that our contemporary of the Mud Springs Morning Howl, has fallen into’ the error of supposing that the election of Van Werter is not an established fact, but he will have discovered his mistake before this reminder reaches him, no doubt. He was doubtless misled by incomplete election returns.

It is pleasant to note that the city of Blathersville is endeavoring to contract with some New York gentleman to pave its well-nigh impassable streets with the Nicholson pavement. The Daily Hurrah urges the measure with ability, and seems confident of ultimate success.

Presently

I passed my manuscript over to the chief editor for acceptance, alteration, or destruction. He glanced at it and his face clouded. He ran his eye down the pages, and his countenance grew portento

Journalism in Tennessee part 1

Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) (1835-1910)

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, universally known under his pen-name of Mark Twain, was born at Florida, Mo., in 1835. His early education was fragmentary. He spent some years of his youth as a journeyman printer, wandering from town to town. At the age of seventeen he worked on a Mississippi boat, and later went West with his brother. In Nevada he began to write for the newspapers.

In i86g he achieved his first great success with Innocents Abroad, based on his experiences in Europe. Then followed a long period of travelling, lecturing, business enterprise, and writing. He is one of the best-known American authors throughout the world. Though Mark Twain`s brief sketches can for the most part hardly be considered short stories, there are a few, like that which follows, that may legitimately be included in the category. It is reprinted from Sketches, Mew and Old, 1875.

Journalism in Tennessee

From Sketc