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

There will be a noble income and if we can spend that–”

“Not ALL of it, dear, not all of it, but you can spend a part of it.

That is, a reasonable part. But the whole of the capital–

every penny of it–must be put right to work, and kept at it.

You see the reasonableness of that, don’t you?”

“Why, ye-s. Yes, of course. But we’ll have to wait so long.

Six months before the first interest falls due.”

“Yes–maybe longer.”

“Longer, Aleck? Why? Don’t they pay half-yearly?”

“THAT kind of an investment–yes; but I sha’n’t invest in that way.”

“What way, then?”

“For big returns.”

“Big. That’s good. Go on, Aleck. What is it?”

“Coal. The new mines. Cannel. I mean to put in ten thousand.

Ground floor. When we organize, we’ll get three shares for one.”

“By George, but it sounds good, Aleck! Then the shares will be worth–

how much? And when?”

“About a year. They’ll pay ten per cent. half yearly, and be

worth thirty thousand. I know all about it; the advertisement

is in the Cincinnati paper here.”

“Land, thirty thousand for ten–in a year! Let’s jam in the whole

capital and pull out ninety! I’ll write and subscribe right now–

tomorrow it maybe too late.”

He was flying to the writing-desk, but Aleck stopped him and put

him back in his chair. She said:

“Don’t lose your head so. WE mustn’t subscribe till we’ve got

the money; don’t you know that?”

Sally’s excitement went down a degree or two, but he was not

wholly appeased.

“Why, Aleck, we’ll HAVE it, you know–and so soon, too. He’s probably

out of his troubles before this; it’s a hundred to nothing he’s

selecting his brimstone-shovel this very minute. Now, I think–”

Aleck shuddered, and said:

“How CAN you, Sally! Don’t talk in that way, it is perfectly scandalous.”

“Oh, well, make it a halo, if you like, _I_ don’t care for his outfit,

I was only just talking. Can’t you let a person talk?”

“But why should you WANT to talk in that dreadful way? How would

you like to have people talk so about YOU, and you not cold yet?”

“Not likely to be, for ONE while, I reckon, if my last act was

giving away money for the sake of doing somebody a harm with it.

But never mind about Tilbury, Aleck, let’s talk about something worldly.

It does seem to me that that mine is the place for the whole thirty.

What’s the objection?”

“All the eggs in one basket–that’s the objection.”

“All right, if you say so. What about the other twenty?

What do you mean to do with that?”

“There is no hurry; I am going to look around before I do anything

with it.”

“All right, if your mind’s made up,” signed Sally. He was deep

in thought awhile, then he said:

“There’ll be twenty thousand profit coming from the ten a year

from now. We can spend that, can we, Aleck?”

Aleck shook her head.

“No, dear,” she said, “it won’t sell high till we’ve had the first

semi-annual dividend. You can spend part of that.”

“Shucks, only THAT–and a whole year to wait! Confound it, I–”

“Oh, do be patient! It might even be declared in three months–

it’s quite within the possibilities.”

“Oh, jolly! oh, thanks!” and Sally jumped up and kissed his wife

in gratitude. “It’ll be three thousand–three whole thousand!

how much of it can we spend, Aleck? Make it liberal!–do, dear,

that’s a good fellow.”

Aleck was pleased; so pleased that she yielded to the pressure and

conceded a sum which her judgment told her was a foolish extravagance–

a thousand dollars. Sally kissed her half a dozen times and even

in that way could not express all his joy and thankfulness.

This new access of gratitude and affection carried Aleck quite

beyond the bounds of prudence, and before she could restrain

herself she had made her darling another grant–a couple

of thousand out of the fifty or sixty which she meant to clear

within a year of the twenty which still remained of the bequest.

The happy tears sprang to Sally’s eyes, and he said:

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Categories: Twain, Mark