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

He did not dare to say no to the dread poet–for such a poet

must have been something of an apparition–but he just shoveled

it into his paper anywhere that came handy, and felt ashamed,

and put that disgusted “Published by Request” over it, and hoped

that his subscribers would overlook it or not feel an impulse to read it:

(Published by Request


Composed on the death of Samuel and Catharine Belknap’s children

by M. A. Glaze

Friends and neighbors all draw near,

And listen to what I have to say;

And never leave your children dear

When they are small, and go away.

But always think of that sad fate,

That happened in year of ’63;

Four children with a house did burn,

Think of their awful agony.

Their mother she had gone away,

And left them there alone to stay;

The house took fire and down did burn;

Before their mother did return.

Their piteous cry the neighbors heard,

And then the cry of fire was given;

But, ah! before they could them reach,

Their little spirits had flown to heaven.

Their father he to war had gone,

And on the battle-field was slain;

But little did he think when he went away,

But what on earth they would meet again.

The neighbors often told his wife

Not to leave his children there,

Unless she got some one to stay,

And of the little ones take care.

The oldest he was years not six,

And the youngest only eleven months old,

But often she had left them there alone,

As, by the neighbors, I have been told.

How can she bear to see the place.

Where she so oft has left them there,

Without a single one to look to them,

Or of the little ones to take good care.

Oh, can she look upon the spot,

Whereunder their little burnt bones lay,

But what she thinks she hears them say,

”Twas God had pity, and took us on high.’

And there may she kneel down and pray,

And ask God her to forgive;

And she may lead a different life

While she on earth remains to live.

Her husband and her children too,

God has took from pain and woe.

May she reform and mend her ways,

That she may also to them go.

And when it is God’s holy will,

O, may she be prepared

To meet her God and friends in peace,

And leave this world of care.

– – –

1. Written in 1870.



The man in the ticket-office said:

“Have an accident insurance ticket, also?”

“No,” I said, after studying the matter over a little. “No, I

believe not; I am going to be traveling by rail all day today.

However, tomorrow I don’t travel. Give me one for tomorrow.”

The man looked puzzled. He said:

“But it is for accident insurance, and if you are going to travel

by rail–”

“If I am going to travel by rail I sha’n’t need it. Lying at home

in bed is the thing _I_ am afraid of.”

I had been looking into this matter. Last year I traveled twenty

thousand miles, almost entirely by rail; the year before, I traveled

over twenty-five thousand miles, half by sea and half by rail;

and the year before that I traveled in the neighborhood of ten

thousand miles, exclusively by rail. I suppose if I put in all

the little odd journeys here and there, I may say I have traveled

sixty thousand miles during the three years I have mentioned.


For a good while I said to myself every morning: “Now I

have escaped thus far, and so the chances are just that much

increased that I shall catch it this time. I will be shrewd,

and buy an accident ticket.” And to a dead moral certainty I

drew a blank, and went to bed that night without a joint started

or a bone splintered. I got tired of that sort of daily bother,

and fell to buying accident tickets that were good for a month.

I said to myself, “A man CAN’T buy thirty blanks in one bundle.”

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Categories: Twain, Mark