Dear Twain List members,
I recently discovered a book in a backpacking store in Mammoth Mtn. CA
that was a compendium of stories concerning the Sierra Mtn. range of
California. The book was entitled, "A Treasury of the Sierra Nevada",
edited by Robert Leonard Reid, Wilderness Press - Berkeley.
In it was a short story by Mark Twain recounting a trip he took with
a friend to Lake Tahoe during the time that he worked with the
Territorial Enterprise newspaper in Virginia City, NV.
It was entitiled, "The Fairest Picture".
For the naturalist, it is filled with breathtaking descriptions of the
nature of the time. For the followers of TWAIN, it is filled with several
humorous anecdotes about his trip.
The part I remember best is an account of how Twain inadvertently
almost burned down the entire forest around Lake Tahoe, and for
fear of their lives, he and his friend "Johnny" sought refuge in their
boat on the lake and watched spell-bound as the fire lit up the entire
evening sky. Having burned down their campsite along with all their
food, He and his friend had little to do but head back to Virginia City.
To add to their problems, a storm came up, and capsized their boat.
He indicates in closing in the story that, "We made many trips to the lake
that, and had many a hairbreadth escape and blood-curdling adventure which
will never be recorded of any history."