advice to youth. on unloaded firearms.
Therefore, just the same, don’t you meddle with old unloaded firearms; they are the most deadly and unerring things that have ever been created by man. Mark Twain
Only four days ago, right in the next farm house to the one where I am spending the summer, a grandmother, old and gray and sweet, one of the loveliest spirits in the land, was sitting at her work, when her young grandson crept in and got down an old, battered, rusty gun which had not been touched for many years and was supposed not to be loaded, and pointed it at her, laughing and threatening to shoot.
In her fright she ran screaming and pleading toward the door on the other side of the room; but as she passed him he placed the gun almost against her very breast and pulled the trigger! He had supposed it was not loaded. And he was right–it wasn’t. So there wasn’t any harm done.
It is the only case of that kind I ever heard of.
Therefore, just the same, don’t you meddle with old unloaded firearms; they are the most deadly and unerring things that have ever been created by man. You don’t have to take any pains at all with them; you don’t have to have a rest, you don’t have to have any sights on the gun, you don’t have to take aim, even. No, you just pick out a relative and bang away, and you are sure to get him.
A youth who can’t hit a cathedral at thirty yards with a Gatling gun in three quarters of an hour, can take up an old empty musket and bag his grandmother every time, at a hundred.
30 November 1835 – 21 April 1910