THE $30,000 BEQUEST and Other Stories by Mark Twain

THE $30,000 BEQUEST and Other Stories by Mark Twain

THE $30,000 BEQUEST and Other Stories by Mark Twain

(Samuel L. Clemens)

The $30,000 Bequest

A Dog’s Tale

Was It Heaven? Or Hell?

A Cure for the Blues

The Enemy Conquered; or, Love Triumphant

The Californian’s Tale

A Helpless Situation

A Telephonic Conversation

Edward Mills and George Benton: A Tale

The Five Boons of Life

The First Writing-machines

Italian without a Master

Italian with Grammar

A Burlesque Biography

How to Tell a Story

General Washington’s Negro Body-servant

Wit Inspirations of the “Two-year-olds”

An Entertaining Article

A Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury

Amended Obituaries

A Monument to Adam

A Humane Word from Satan

Introduction to “The New Guide of the

Conversation in Portuguese and English”

Advice to Little Girls

Post-mortem Poetry

The Danger of Lying in Bed

Portrait of King William III

Does the Race of Man Love a Lord?

Extracts from Adam’s Diary

Eve’s Diary




Lakeside was a pleasant little town of five or six thousand inhabitants,

and a rather pretty one, too, as towns go in the Far West.

It had church accommodations for thirty-five thousand, which is

the way of the Far West and the South, where everybody is religious,

and where each of the Protestant sects is represented and has a plant

of its own. Rank was unknown in Lakeside–unconfessed, anyway;

everybody knew everybody and his dog, and a sociable friendliness

was the prevailing atmosphere.

Saladin Foster was book-keeper in the principal store, and the only

high-salaried man of his profession in Lakeside. He was thirty-five

years old, now; he had served that store for fourteen years;

he had begun in his marriage-week at four hundred dollars a year,

and had climbed steadily up, a hundred dollars a year, for four years;

from that time forth his wage had remained eight hundred–a handsome

figure indeed, and everybody conceded that he was worth it.

His wife, Electra, was a capable helpmeet, although–like himself–

a dreamer of dreams and a private dabbler in romance. The first thing

she did, after her marriage–child as she was, aged only nineteen–

was to buy an acre of ground on the edge of the town, and pay

down the cash for it–twenty-five dollars, all her fortune.

Saladin had less, by fifteen. She instituted a vegetable garden there,

got it farmed on shares by the nearest neighbor, and made it pay

her a hundred per cent. a year. Out of Saladin’s first year’s wage

she put thirty dollars in the savings-bank, sixty out of his second,

a hundred out of his third, a hundred and fifty out of his fourth.

His wage went to eight hundred a year, then, and meantime two children

had arrived and increased the expenses, but she banked two hundred

a year from the salary, nevertheless, thenceforth. When she had been

married seven years she built and furnished a pretty and comfortable

two-thousand-dollar house in the midst of her garden-acre, paid

half of the money down and moved her family in. Seven years later

she was out of debt and had several hundred dollars out earning

its living.

Earning it by the rise in landed estate; for she had long ago bought

another acre or two and sold the most of it at a profit to pleasant

people who were willing to build, and would be good neighbors and

furnish a general comradeship for herself and her growing family.

She had an independent income from safe investments of about a hundred

dollars a year; her children were growing in years and grace;

and she was a pleased and happy woman. Happy in her husband, happy in

her children, and the husband and the children were happy in her.

It is at this point that this history begins.

The youngest girl, Clytemnestra–called Clytie for short–

was eleven; her sister, Gwendolen–called Gwen for short–

was thirteen; nice girls, and comely. The names betray the latent

romance-tinge in the parental blood, the parents’ names indicate

that the tinge was an inheritance. It was an affectionate family,

hence all four of its members had pet names, Saladin’s was a curious

and unsexing one–Sally; and so was Electra’s–Aleck. All day

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Categories: Twain, Mark