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

The pain was cruel, but, no matter, I must not lose any time;

he might come back at any moment; so I limped on three legs to the

other end of the hall, where there was a dark little stairway leading

up into a garret where old boxes and such things were kept, as I had

heard say, and where people seldom went. I managed to climb up there,

then I searched my way through the dark among the piles of things,

and hid in the secretest place I could find. It was foolish to be

afraid there, yet still I was; so afraid that I held in and hardly

even whimpered, though it would have been such a comfort to whimper,

because that eases the pain, you know. But I could lick my leg,

and that did some good.

For half an hour there was a commotion downstairs, and shoutings,

and rushing footsteps, and then there was quiet again. Quiet for

some minutes, and that was grateful to my spirit, for then my fears

began to go down; and fears are worse than pains–oh, much worse.

Then came a sound that froze me. They were calling me–calling me

by name–hunting for me!

It was muffled by distance, but that could not take the terror out of it,

and it was the most dreadful sound to me that I had ever heard.

It went all about, everywhere, down there: along the halls, through all

the rooms, in both stories, and in the basement and the cellar;

then outside, and farther and farther away–then back, and all

about the house again, and I thought it would never, never stop.

But at last it did, hours and hours after the vague twilight of

the garret had long ago been blotted out by black darkness.

Then in that blessed stillness my terrors fell little by little away,

and I was at peace and slept. It was a good rest I had, but I woke

before the twilight had come again. I was feeling fairly comfortable,

and I could think out a plan now. I made a very good one;

which was, to creep down, all the way down the back stairs,

and hide behind the cellar door, and slip out and escape when the

iceman came at dawn, while he was inside filling the refrigerator;

then I would hide all day, and start on my journey when night came;

my journey to–well, anywhere where they would not know me and betray

me to the master. I was feeling almost cheerful now; then suddenly

I thought: Why, what would life be without my puppy!

That was despair. There was no plan for me; I saw that;

I must say where I was; stay, and wait, and take what might come–

it was not my affair; that was what life is–my mother had said it.

Then–well, then the calling began again! All my sorrows came back.

I said to myself, the master will never forgive. I did not know

what I had done to make him so bitter and so unforgiving, yet I

judged it was something a dog could not understand, but which was

clear to a man and dreadful.

They called and called–days and nights, it seemed to me.

So long that the hunger and thirst near drove me mad, and I

recognized that I was getting very weak. When you are this way you

sleep a great deal, and I did. Once I woke in an awful fright–

it seemed to me that the calling was right there in the garret!

And so it was: it was Sadie’s voice, and she was crying; my name

was falling from her lips all broken, poor thing, and I could not

believe my ears for the joy of it when I heard her say:

“Come back to us–oh, come back to us, and forgive–it is all so sad

without our–”

I broke in with SUCH a grateful little yelp, and the next moment

Sadie was plunging and stumbling through the darkness and the lumber

and shouting for the family to hear, “She’s found, she’s found!”

The days that followed–well, they were wonderful. The mother

and Sadie and the servants–why, they just seemed to worship me.

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Categories: Twain, Mark