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Answers To Correspondents
by [?]

“SIMON WHEELER,” Sonora.–The following simple and touching remarks and accompanying poem have just come to hand from the rich gold-mining region of Sonora:

To Mr. Mark Twain: The within parson, which I have set to poetry under the name and style of “He Done His Level Best,” was one among the whitest men I ever see, and it ain’t every man that knowed him that can find it in his heart to say he’s glad the poor cuss is busted and gone home to the States. He was here in an early day, and he was the handyest man about takin’ holt of anything that come along you most ever see, I judge. He was a cheerful, stirnn’ cretur, always doin’ somethin’, and no man can say he ever see him do anything by halvers. Preachin was his nateral gait, but he warn’t a man to lay back a twidle his thumbs because there didn’t happen to be nothin’ do in his own especial line–no, sir, he was a man who would meander forth and stir up something for hisself. His last acts was to go his pile on “Kings-and” (calkatin’ to fill, but which he didn’t fill), when there was a “flush” out agin him, and naterally, you see, he went under. And so he was cleaned out as you may say, and he struck the home-trail, cheerful but flat broke. I knowed this talonted man in Arkansaw, and if you would print this humbly tribute to his gorgis abilities, you would greatly obleege his onhappy friend.

Was he a mining on the flat–
He done it with a zest;
Was he a leading of the choir–
He done his level best.

If he’d a reg’lar task to do,
He never took no rest;
Or if ’twas off-and-on-the same–
He done his level best.

If he was preachin’ on his beat,
He’d tramp from east to west,
And north to south-in cold and heat
He done his level best.

He’d yank a sinner outen (Hades),**
And land him with the blest;
Then snatch a prayer’n waltz in again,
And do his level best.

**Here I have taken a slight liberty with the original MS. “Hades” does not make such good meter as the other word of one syllable, but it sounds better.

He’d cuss and sing and howl and pray,
And dance and drink and jest,
And lie and steal-all one to him–
He done his level best.

Whate’er this man was sot to do,
He done it with a zest;
No matter what his contract was,

Verily, this man was gifted with “gorgis abilities,” and it is a happiness to me to embalm the memory of their luster in these columns. If it were not that the poet crop is unusually large and rank in California this year, I would encourage you to continue writing, Simon Wheeler; but, as it is, perhaps it might be too risky in you to enter against so much opposition.

“PROFESSIONAL BEGGAR.”–NO; you are not obliged to take greenbacks at par.

“MELTON MOWBRAY,” Dutch Flat.–This correspondent sends a lot of doggerel, and says it has been regarded as very good in Dutch Flat. I give a specimen verse:

The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold, And his cohorts were gleaming with purple and gold; And the sheen of his spears was like stars on the sea, When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.**

**This piece of pleasantry, published in a San Francisco paper, was mistaken by the country journals for seriousness, and many and loud were the denunciations of the ignorance of author and editor, in not knowing that the lines in question were “written by Byron.”

There, that will do. That may be very good Dutch Flat poetry, but it won’t do in the metropolis. It is too smooth and blubbery; it reads like butter milk gurgling from a jug. What the people ought to have is something spirited–something like “Johnny Comes Marching Home.” However keep on practising, and you may succeed yet. There is genius in you, but too much blubber.