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

of the burned place and stood looking down, and said:

“What are these?”


He picked up one to examine it, but changed his mind and put it

down again. Then he went away. NOTHING interests him.

But I was interested. There were ashes, gray and soft and delicate

and pretty–I knew what they were at once. And the embers;

I knew the embers, too. I found my apples, and raked them out,

and was glad; for I am very young and my appetite is active.

But I was disappointed; they were all burst open and spoiled.

Spoiled apparently; but it was not so; they were better than raw ones.

Fire is beautiful; some day it will be useful, I think.

FRIDAY.–I saw him again, for a moment, last Monday at nightfall,

but only for a moment. I was hoping he would praise me for trying

to improve the estate, for I had meant well and had worked hard.

But he was not pleased, and turned away and left me. He was also

displeased on another account: I tried once more to persuade him

to stop going over the Falls. That was because the fire had revealed

to me a new passion–quite new, and distinctly different from love,

grief, and those others which I had already discovered–FEAR. And it

is horrible!–I wish I had never discovered it; it gives me dark moments,

it spoils my happiness, it makes me shiver and tremble and shudder.

But I could not persuade him, for he has not discovered fear yet,

and so he could not understand me.

Extract from Adam’s Diary

Perhaps I ought to remember that she is very young, a mere girl and

make allowances. She is all interest, eagerness, vivacity, the world

is to her a charm, a wonder, a mystery, a joy; she can’t speak for

delight when she finds a new flower, she must pet it and caress it

and smell it and talk to it, and pour out endearing names upon it.

And she is color-mad: brown rocks, yellow sand, gray moss, green foliage,

blue sky; the pearl of the dawn, the purple shadows on the mountains,

the golden islands floating in crimson seas at sunset, the pallid moon

sailing through the shredded cloud-rack, the star-jewels glittering

in the wastes of space–none of them is of any practical value,

so far as I can see, but because they have color and majesty,

that is enough for her, and she loses her mind over them.

If she could quiet down and keep still a couple minutes at a time,

it would be a reposeful spectacle. In that case I think I could

enjoy looking at her; indeed I am sure I could, for I am coming

to realize that she is a quite remarkably comely creature–

lithe, slender, trim, rounded, shapely, nimble, graceful; and once

when she was standing marble-white and sun-drenched on a boulder,

with her young head tilted back and her hand shading her eyes,

watching the flight of a bird in the sky, I recognized that she

was beautiful.

MONDAY NOON.–If there is anything on the planet that she is not

interested in it is not in my list. There are animals that I am

indifferent to, but it is not so with her. She has no discrimination,

she takes to all of them, she thinks they are all treasures,

every new one is welcome.

When the mighty brontosaurus came striding into camp, she regarded

it as an acquisition, I considered it a calamity; that is a good

sample of the lack of harmony that prevails in our views of things.

She wanted to domesticate it, I wanted to make it a present of the

homestead and move out. She believed it could be tamed by kind

treatment and would be a good pet; I said a pet twenty-one feet

high and eight-four feet long would be no proper thing to have

about the place, because, even with the best intentions and without

meaning any harm, it could sit down on the house and mash it,

for any one could see by the look of its eye that it was absent-minded.

Still, her heart was set upon having that monster, and she

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Categories: Twain, Mark