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

understanding that the remark shall not be taken at par. WE–

worms of the dust! Oh, no, we are not that. Except in fact;

and we do not deal much in fact when we are contemplating ourselves.

As a race, we do certainly love a lord–let him be Croker, or a duke,

or a prize-fighter, or whatever other personage shall chance to be the

head of our group. Many years ago, I saw a greasy youth in overalls

standing by the HERALD office, with an expectant look in his face.

Soon a large man passed out, and gave him a pat on the shoulder.

That was what the boy was waiting for–the large man’s notice.

The pat made him proud and happy, and the exultation inside of him

shone out through his eyes; and his mates were there to see the pat

and envy it and wish they could have that glory. The boy belonged

down cellar in the press-room, the large man was king of the

upper floors, foreman of the composing-room. The light in the boy’s

face was worship, the foreman was his lord, head of his group.

The pat was an accolade. It was as precious to the boy as it would

have been if he had been an aristocrat’s son and the accolade had

been delivered by his sovereign with a sword. The quintessence

of the honor was all there; there was no difference in values;

in truth there was no difference present except an artificial one–


All the human race loves a lord–that is, loves to look upon

or be noticed by the possessor of Power or Conspicuousness;

and sometimes animals, born to better things and higher ideals,

descend to man’s level in this matter. In the Jardin des Plantes

I have see a cat that was so vain of being the personal friend

of an elephant that I was ashamed of her.



MONDAY.–This new creature with the long hair is a good deal

in the way. It is always hanging around and following me about.

I don’t like this; I am not used to company. I wish it would stay

with the other animals. . . . Cloudy today, wind in the east;

think we shall have rain. . . . WE? Where did I get that word–

the new creature uses it.

TUESDAY.–Been examining the great waterfall. It is the finest thing

on the estate, I think. The new creature calls it Niagara Falls–

why, I am sure I do not know. Says it LOOKS like Niagara Falls.

That is not a reason, it is mere waywardness and imbecility.

I get no chance to name anything myself. The new creature names

everything that comes along, before I can get in a protest.

And always that same pretext is offered–it LOOKS like the thing.

There is a dodo, for instance. Says the moment one looks at it

one sees at a glance that it “looks like a dodo.” It will have to

keep that name, no doubt. It wearies me to fret about it, and it

does no good, anyway. Dodo! It looks no more like a dodo than

I do.

WEDNESDAY.–Built me a shelter against the rain, but could not

have it to myself in peace. The new creature intruded. When I

tried to put it out it shed water out of the holes it looks with,

and wiped it away with the back of its paws, and made a noise

such as some of the other animals make when they are in distress.

I wish it would not talk; it is always talking. That sounds like a

cheap fling at the poor creature, a slur; but I do not mean it so.

I have never heard the human voice before, and any new and strange

sound intruding itself here upon the solemn hush of these dreaming

solitudes offends my ear and seems a false note. And this new sound

is so close to me; it is right at my shoulder, right at my ear,

first on one side and then on the other, and I am used only to sounds

that are more or less distant from me.

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Categories: Twain, Mark