Eighteen year-old Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain): “Such is life, and such is Washington!”

Young-Samuel-Clemens-mark-twain-15008214-302-328Then, if you should be seized with a desire to go to the Capitol, or somewhere else, you may stand in a puddle of water, with the snow driving in your face for fifteen minutes or more, before an omnibus rolls lazily by; and when one does come, ten to one there are nineteen passengers inside and fourteen outside, and while the driver casts on you a look of commiseration, you have the inexpressible satisfaction of knowing that you closely resemble a very moist dishrag, (and feel so, too,) at the same time that you are unable to discover what benefit you have derived from your fifteen minutes’ soaking; and so, driving your fists into the inmost recesses of your breeches pockets, you stride away in despair, with a step and a grimace that would make the fortune of a tragedy actor, while your “onery” appearance is greeted with “screams of laftur” from a pack of vagabond boys over the way. Such is life, and such is Washington!” – Eighteen year-old Samuel L. Clemens, on his first visit to Washington, in February 1854, writing for the Muscatine Journal. [1]

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