What to do next?
It was a momentous question. I had gone out into the world to shift for myself, at the age of thirteen (for my father had endorsed for friends; and although he left us a sumptuous legacy of pride in his fine Virginian stock and its national distinction, I found that I could not live on that alone without occasional bread to wash it down with...)
Now in pleasanter days, I had amused myself with writing letters to the chief paper of the Territory, the Virginia Daily Territorial Enterprise, and had always been surprised when they appeared in print. My good opinion of its editors had steadily declined; for it seemed to me that they might have found something better to fill up with than my literature. I had found a letter in the post office as I came home from the hill side, and finally I opened it. Eureka! (I never did know what Eureka meant, but it seems to be as proper a word to heave in as any other when no other that sounds pretty offers.) It was a deliberate offer to me of Twenty-Five Dollars a week to come up to Virginia and be city editor of the Enterprise...
Necessity is the mother of taking chances. I do not doubt that if, at that time, I had been offered a salary to translate the entire Talmud from the original Hebrew, I would have acceptedalbeit with diffidence and some misgivingand thrown as much variety into it as I could for the money...
I went up to Virginia and entered upon my new vocation. I was a rusty looking city editor, I am free to confesscoatless, slouch hat, blue woolen shirt, pantaloons stuffed into boot-tops, whiskered half down to the waist, and the universal navy revolver slung to my belt. But I secured a more Christian costume and discarded the revolver.Mark Twain, Roughing It, 1872