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

They couldn’t seem to make me a bed that was fine enough;

and as for food, they couldn’t be satisfied with anything but game

and delicacies that were out of season; and every day the friends

and neighbors flocked in to hear about my heroism–that was the

name they called it by, and it means agriculture. I remember my

mother pulling it on a kennel once, and explaining it in that way,

but didn’t say what agriculture was, except that it was synonymous

with intramural incandescence; and a dozen times a day Mrs. Gray

and Sadie would tell the tale to new-comers, and say I risked my life

to say the baby’s, and both of us had burns to prove it, and then

the company would pass me around and pet me and exclaim about me,

and you could see the pride in the eyes of Sadie and her mother;

and when the people wanted to know what made me limp, they looked

ashamed and changed the subject, and sometimes when people hunted

them this way and that way with questions about it, it looked to me

as if they were going to cry.

And this was not all the glory; no, the master’s friends came,

a whole twenty of the most distinguished people, and had me in

the laboratory, and discussed me as if I was a kind of discovery;

and some of them said it was wonderful in a dumb beast, the finest

exhibition of instinct they could call to mind; but the master said,

with vehemence, “It’s far above instinct; it’s REASON, and many a man,

privileged to be saved and go with you and me to a better world

by right of its possession, has less of it that this poor silly

quadruped that’s foreordained to perish”; and then he laughed,

and said: “Why, look at me–I’m a sarcasm! bless you, with all

my grand intelligence, the only think I inferred was that the dog

had gone mad and was destroying the child, whereas but for the

beast’s intelligence–it’s REASON, I tell you!–the child would

have perished!”

They disputed and disputed, and _I_ was the very center of subject

of it all, and I wished my mother could know that this grand honor

had come to me; it would have made her proud.

Then they discussed optics, as they called it, and whether a certain

injury to the brain would produce blindness or not, but they could

not agree about it, and said they must test it by experiment by and by;

and next they discussed plants, and that interested me, because in

the summer Sadie and I had planted seeds–I helped her dig the holes,

you know–and after days and days a little shrub or a flower came

up there, and it was a wonder how that could happen; but it did,

and I wished I could talk–I would have told those people about it

and shown then how much I knew, and been all alive with the subject;

but I didn’t care for the optics; it was dull, and when the came back

to it again it bored me, and I went to sleep.

Pretty soon it was spring, and sunny and pleasant and lovely,

and the sweet mother and the children patted me and the puppy

good-by, and went away on a journey and a visit to their kin,

and the master wasn’t any company for us, but we played together

and had good times, and the servants were kind and friendly,

so we got along quite happily and counted the days and waited

for the family.

And one day those men came again, and said, now for the test,

and they took the puppy to the laboratory, and I limped

three-leggedly along, too, feeling proud, for any attention shown

to the puppy was a pleasure to me, of course. They discussed

and experimented, and then suddenly the puppy shrieked,

and they set him on the floor, and he went staggering around,

with his head all bloody, and the master clapped his hands and shouted:

“There, I’ve won–confess it! He’s a blind as a bat!”

And they all said:

“It’s so–you’ve proved your theory, and suffering humanity owes

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Categories: Twain, Mark