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

Since her art and beauty first captivated man, she has been his

delight and his comfort; she has shared alike in his misfortunes

and in his prosperity.

Whenever the billows of adversity and the tumultuous waves of trouble

beat high, her smiles subdue their fury. Should the tear of sorrow

and the mournful sigh of grief interrupt the peace of his mind,

her voice removes them all, and she bends from her circle to encourage

him onward. When darkness would obscure his mind, and a thick cloud

of gloom would bewilder its operations, her intelligent eye darts

a ray of streaming light into his heart. Mighty and charming is that

disinterested devotion which she is ever ready to exercise toward man,

not waiting till the last moment of his danger, but seeks to relieve

him in his early afflictions. It gushes forth from the expansive

fullness of a tender and devoted heart, where the noblest, the purest,

and the most elevated and refined feelings are matured and developed

in those may kind offices which invariably make her character.

In the room of sorrow and sickness, this unequaled characteristic

may always been seen, in the performance of the most charitable acts;

nothing that she can do to promote the happiness of him who she

claims to be her protector will be omitted; all is invigorated by

the animating sunbeams which awaken the heart to songs of gaiety.

Leaving this point, to notice another prominent consideration,

which is generally one of great moment and of vital importance.

Invariably she is firm and steady in all her pursuits and aims.

There is required a combination of forces and extreme opposition to

drive her from her position; she takes her stand, not to be moved by

the sound of Apollo’s lyre or the curved bow of pleasure.

Firm and true to what she undertakes, and that which she requires

by her own aggrandizement, and regards as being within the strict rules

of propriety, she will remain stable and unflinching to the last.

A more genuine principle is not to be found in the most determined,

resolute heart of man. For this she deserves to be held in the

highest commendation, for this she deserves the purest of all

other blessings, and for this she deserves the most laudable reward

of all others. It is a noble characteristic and is worthy of imitation

of any age. And when we look at it in one particular aspect,

it is still magnified, and grows brighter and brighter the more we

reflect upon its eternal duration. What will she not do, when her

word as well as her affections and LOVE are pledged to her lover?

Everything that is dear to her on earth, all the hospitalities

of kind and loving parents, all the sincerity and loveliness

of sisters, and the benevolent devotion of brothers, who have

surrounded her with every comfort; she will forsake them all,

quit the harmony and sweet sound of the lute and the harp,

and throw herself upon the affections of some devoted admirer,

in whom she fondly hopes to find more than she has left behind,

which is not often realized by many. Truth and virtue all combined!

How deserving our admiration and love! Ah cruel would it be in man,

after she has thus manifested such an unshaken confidence in him,

and said by her determination to abandon all the endearments and

blandishments of home, to act a villainous part, and prove a traitor

in the revolution of his mission, and then turn Hector over the

innocent victim whom he swore to protect, in the presence of Heaven,

recorded by the pen of an angel.

Striking as this train may unfold itself in her character,

and as pre-eminent as it may stand among the fair display of her

other qualities, yet there is another, which struggles into existence,

and adds an additional luster to what she already possesses.

I mean that disposition in woman which enables her, in sorrow,

in grief, and in distress, to bear all with enduring patience.

This she has done, and can and will do, amid the din of war and

clash of arms. Scenes and occurrences which, to every appearance,

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Categories: Twain, Mark