This is earlyish for Twain, a sketch for the Californian that tells the story of naughty boy Jim, who never gets caught or learns a lesson. It's three pages of pure parody about the sanctimonious moral literature of the time plus one final page of pure righteous indignation at America for holding up Jim as a model for success.
Although Twain is winking at us throughout, there's so much annoyance-to-anger here that I think he reaches his limit at four pages--any more and the feeling would sour. At this short length we can laugh at how Twain sets up what we expect and then undercuts it: when Jim frames good boy George for a stolen penknife, we hear a lot about the justice of the peace who could out the guilty party--if this were some sort of Sunday-school book. He'll go to great lengths to make sure we understand the trope that he's avoiding, telling us what didn't happen:
And then Jim didn't get whaled, and the venerable justice didn't read the tearful school a homily, and take George by the hand and say such a boy deserved to be exalted, and then tell him to come and make his home with him, and sweep out the office...And what becomes of genre-busting Jim? He gets off scot-free and becomes wealthy and respected even though he's immoral and possibly homicidal. Twain tosses off the rest of this boy's life in a penultimate paragraph that is almost surrealistic in its concentration and juxtaposition:
And he grew up, and married, and raised a large family, and brained them all with an axe one night, and got wealthy by all manner of cheating and rascality; and now he is the infernalest wickedest scoundrel in his native village, and is universally respected, and belongs to the Legislature.There's comedy in there, sure, but it's pretty dark comedy.