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

another one somewhere, and this one will be less dangerous when it

has company of its own species. I will go straightway; but I will

muzzle this one first.

THREE MONTHS LATER.–It has been a weary, weary hunt, yet I have

had no success. In the mean time, without stirring from the

home estate, she has caught another one! I never saw such luck.

I might have hunted these woods a hundred years, I never would

have run across that thing.

NEXT DAY.–I have been comparing the new one with the old one,

and it is perfectly plain that they are of the same breed.

I was going to stuff one of them for my collection, but she

is prejudiced against it for some reason or other; so I have

relinquished the idea, though I think it is a mistake. It would

be an irreparable loss to science if they should get away.

The old one is tamer than it was and can laugh and talk like a parrot,

having learned this, no doubt, from being with the parrot so much,

and having the imitative faculty in a high developed degree.

I shall be astonished if it turns out to be a new kind of parrot;

and yet I ought not to be astonished, for it has already been

everything else it could think of since those first days when it

was a fish. The new one is as ugly as the old one was at first;

has the same sulphur-and-raw-meat complexion and the same singular

head without any fur on it. She calls it Abel.

TEN YEARS LATER.–They are BOYS; we found it out long ago.

It was their coming in that small immature shape that puzzled us;

we were not used to it. There are some girls now. Abel is a good boy,

but if Cain had stayed a bear it would have improved him. After all

these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning;

it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it

without her. At first I thought she talked too much; but now I should

be sorry to have that voice fall silent and pass out of my life.

Blessed be the chestnut that brought us near together and taught me

to know the goodness of her heart and the sweetness of her spirit!



Translated from the Original

SATURDAY.–I am almost a whole day old, now. I arrived yesterday.

That is as it seems to me. And it must be so, for if there was

a day-before-yesterday I was not there when it happened, or I

should remember it. It could be, of course, that it did happen,

and that I was not noticing. Very well; I will be very watchful now,

and if any day-before-yesterdays happen I will make a note of it.

It will be best to start right and not let the record get confused,

for some instinct tells me that these details are going to be

important to the historian some day. For I feel like an experiment,

I feel exactly like an experiment; it would be impossible for a person

to feel more like an experiment than I do, and so I am coming to feel

convinced that that is what I AM–an experiment; just an experiment,

and nothing more.

Then if I am an experiment, am I the whole of it? No, I think not;

I think the rest of it is part of it. I am the main part of it,

but I think the rest of it has its share in the matter. Is my

position assured, or do I have to watch it and take care of it?

The latter, perhaps. Some instinct tells me that eternal vigilance

is the price of supremacy. [That is a good phrase, I think, for one

so young.]

Everything looks better today than it did yesterday. In the rush of

finishing up yesterday, the mountains were left in a ragged condition,

and some of the plains were so cluttered with rubbish and remnants

that the aspects were quite distressing. Noble and beautiful works

of art should not be subjected to haste; and this majestic new world

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Categories: Twain, Mark