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

you a great debt from henceforth,” and they crowded around him,

and wrung his hand cordially and thankfully, and praised him.

But I hardly saw or heard these things, for I ran at once to my

little darling, and snuggled close to it where it lay, and licked

the blood, and it put its head against mine, whimpering softly,

and I knew in my heart it was a comfort to it in its pain and

trouble to feel its mother’s touch, though it could not see me.

Then it dropped down, presently, and its little velvet nose rested

upon the floor, and it was still, and did not move any more.

Soon the master stopped discussing a moment, and rang in the footman,

and said, “Bury it in the far corner of the garden,” and then went

on with the discussion, and I trotted after the footman, very happy

and grateful, for I knew the puppy was out of its pain now, because it

was asleep. We went far down the garden to the farthest end,

where the children and the nurse and the puppy and I used to play

in the summer in the shade of a great elm, and there the footman dug

a hole, and I saw he was going to plant the puppy, and I was glad,

because it would grow and come up a fine handsome dog, like Robin Adair,

and be a beautiful surprise for the family when they came home;

so I tried to help him dig, but my lame leg was no good, being stiff,

you know, and you have to have two, or it is no use. When the

footman had finished and covered little Robin up, he patted my head,

and there were tears in his eyes, and he said: “Poor little doggie,

you saved HIS child!”

I have watched two whole weeks, and he doesn’t come up! This last week

a fright has been stealing upon me. I think there is something terrible

about this. I do not know what it is, but the fear makes me sick,

and I cannot eat, though the servants bring me the best of food;

and they pet me so, and even come in the night, and cry, and say,

“Poor doggie–do give it up and come home; DON’t break our hearts!”

and all this terrifies me the more, and makes me sure something

has happened. And I am so weak; since yesterday I cannot stand on my

feet anymore. And within this hour the servants, looking toward the

sun where it was sinking out of sight and the night chill coming on,

said things I could not understand, but they carried something cold

to my heart.

“Those poor creatures! They do not suspect. They will come home

in the morning, and eagerly ask for the little doggie that did

the brave deed, and who of us will be strong enough to say the truth

to them: ‘The humble little friend is gone where go the beasts

that perish.'”




“You told a LIE?”

“You confess it–you actually confess it–you told a lie!”


The family consisted of four persons: Margaret Lester, widow,

aged thirty six; Helen Lester, her daughter, aged sixteen;

Mrs. Lester’s maiden aunts, Hannah and Hester Gray, twins, aged

sixty-seven. Waking and sleeping, the three women spent their days

and night in adoring the young girl; in watching the movements

of her sweet spirit in the mirror of her face; in refreshing their

souls with the vision of her bloom and beauty; in listening to the

music of her voice; in gratefully recognizing how rich and fair

for them was the world with this presence in it; in shuddering

to think how desolate it would be with this light gone out of it.

By nature–and inside–the aged aunts were utterly dear and lovable

and good, but in the matter of morals and conduct their training

had been so uncompromisingly strict that it had made them

exteriorly austere, not to say stern. Their influence was effective

in the house; so effective that the mother and the daughter

conformed to its moral and religious requirements cheerfully,

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Categories: Twain, Mark