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

if he is a jealous person. But this is a sham, and pretty shallow.

McClintock merely wants a pretext to drag in a plagiarism of his upon

a scene or two in “Othello.”

The lovers went to the play. Elfonzo was one of the fiddlers.

He and Ambulinia must not been seen together, lest trouble follow with

the girl’s malignant father; we are made to understand that clearly.

So the two sit together in the orchestra, in the midst of the musicians.

This does not seem to be good art. In the first place, the girl would

be in the way, for orchestras are always packed closely together,

and there is no room to spare for people’s girls; in the next place,

one cannot conceal a girl in an orchestra without everybody taking

notice of it. There can be no doubt, it seems to me, that this is

bad art.

Leos is present. Of course, one of the first things that catches

his eye is the maddening spectacle of Ambulinia “leaning upon

Elfonzo’s chair.” This poor girl does not seem to understand even

the rudiments of concealment. But she is “in her seventeenth,”

as the author phrases it, and that is her justification.

Leos meditates, constructs a plan–with personal violence as a basis,

of course. It was their way down there. It is a good plain plan,

without any imagination in it. He will go out and stand at the

front door, and when these two come out he will “arrest Ambulinia

from the hands of the insolent Elfonzo,” and thus make for himself

a “more prosperous field of immortality than ever was decreed

by Omnipotence, or ever pencil drew or artist imagined.” But, dear me,

while he is waiting there the couple climb out at the back window

and scurry home! This is romantic enough, but there is a lack

of dignity in the situation.

At this point McClintock puts in the whole of his curious play–

which we skip.

Some correspondence follows now. The bitter father and the

distressed lovers write the letters. Elopements are attempted.

They are idiotically planned, and they fail. Then we have several

pages of romantic powwow and confusion dignifying nothing.

Another elopement is planned; it is to take place on Sunday,

when everybody is at church. But the “hero” cannot keep the secret;

he tells everybody. Another author would have found another

instrument when he decided to defeat this elopement; but that is

not McClintock’s way. He uses the person that is nearest at hand.

The evasion failed, of course. Ambulinia, in her flight,

takes refuge in a neighbor’s house. Her father drags her home.

The villagers gather, attracted by the racket.

Elfonzo was moved at this sight. The people followed on to see

what was going to become of Ambulinia, while he, with downcast looks,

kept at a distance, until he saw them enter the abode of the father,

thrusting her, that was the sigh of his soul, out of his presence

into a solitary apartment, when she exclaimed, “Elfonzo! Elfonzo! oh,

Elfonzo! where art thou, with all thy heroes? haste, oh! haste,

come thou to my relief. Ride on the wings of the wind! Turn thy

force loose like a tempest, and roll on thy army like a whirlwind,

over this mountain of trouble and confusion. Oh friends! if any

pity me, let your last efforts throng upon the green hills,

and come to the relief of Ambulinia, who is guilty of nothing

but innocent love.” Elfonzo called out with a loud voice, “My God,

can I stand this! arouse up, I beseech you, and put an end to

this tyranny. Come, my brave boys,” said he, “are you ready to go

forth to your duty?” They stood around him. “Who,” said he,

“will call us to arms? Where are my thunderbolts of war? Speak ye,

the first who will meet the foe! Who will go forward with me

in this ocean of grievous temptation? If there is one who desires

to go, let him come and shake hands upon the altar of devotion,

and swear that he will be a hero; yes, a Hector in a cause like this,

which calls aloud for a speedy remedy.” “Mine be the deed,”

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Categories: Twain, Mark