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

is indeed a most noble and beautiful work. And certainly marvelously

near to being perfect, notwithstanding the shortness of the time.

There are too many stars in some places and not enough in others,

but that can be remedied presently, no doubt. The moon got

loose last night, and slid down and fell out of the scheme–

a very great loss; it breaks my heart to think of it. There isn’t

another thing among the ornaments and decorations that is comparable

to it for beauty and finish. It should have been fastened better.

If we can only get it back again–

But of course there is no telling where it went to. And besides,

whoever gets it will hide it; I know it because I would do it myself.

I believe I can be honest in all other matters, but I already

begin to realize that the core and center of my nature is love

of the beautiful, a passion for the beautiful, and that it would

not be safe to trust me with a moon that belonged to another person

and that person didn’t know I had it. I could give up a moon that I

found in the daytime, because I should be afraid some one was looking;

but if I found it in the dark, I am sure I should find some kind

of an excuse for not saying anything about it. For I do love moons,

they are so pretty and so romantic. I wish we had five or six;

I would never go to bed; I should never get tired lying on the moss-bank

and looking up at them.

Stars are good, too. I wish I could get some to put in my hair.

But I suppose I never can. You would be surprised to find how far

off they are, for they do not look it. When they first showed,

last night, I tried to knock some down with a pole, but it didn’t reach,

which astonished me; then I tried clods till I was all tired out,

but I never got one. It was because I am left-handed and cannot

throw good. Even when I aimed at the one I wasn’t after I

couldn’t hit the other one, though I did make some close shots,

for I saw the black blot of the clod sail right into the midst of

the golden clusters forty or fifty times, just barely missing them,

and if I could have held out a little longer maybe I could have

got one.

So I cried a little, which was natural, I suppose, for one of my age,

and after I was rested I got a basket and started for a place on the

extreme rim of the circle, where the stars were close to the ground

and I could get them with my hands, which would be better, anyway,

because I could gather them tenderly then, and not break them.

But it was farther than I thought, and at last I had go give it up;

I was so tired I couldn’t drag my feet another step; and besides,

they were sore and hurt me very much.

I couldn’t get back home; it was too far and turning cold;

but I found some tigers and nestled in among them and was most

adorably comfortable, and their breath was sweet and pleasant,

because they live on strawberries. I had never seen a tiger before,

but I knew them in a minute by the stripes. If I could have one

of those skins, it would make a lovely gown.

Today I am getting better ideas about distances. I was so eager

to get hold of every pretty thing that I giddily grabbed for it,

sometimes when it was too far off, and sometimes when it was but

six inches away but seemed a foot–alas, with thorns between!

I learned a lesson; also I made an axiom, all out of my own head–


I think it is a very good one for one so young.

I followed the other Experiment around, yesterday afternoon,

at a distance, to see what it might be for, if I could. But I was

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Categories: Twain, Mark