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

are calculated to rend the heart with the profoundest emotions of trouble,

do not fetter that exalted principle imbued in her very nature.

It is true, her tender and feeling heart may often be moved (as she

is thus constituted), but she is not conquered, she has not given up

to the harlequin of disappointments, her energies have not become

clouded in the last movement of misfortune, but she is continually

invigorated by the archetype of her affections. She may bury her face

in her hands, and let the tear of anguish roll, she may promenade

the delightful walks of some garden, decorated with all the flowers

of nature, or she may steal out along some gently rippling stream,

and there, as the silver waters uninterruptedly move forward,

shed her silent tears; they mingle with the waves, and take a last

farewell of their agitated home, to seek a peaceful dwelling among

the rolling floods; yet there is a voice rushing from her breast,

that proclaims VICTORY along the whole line and battlement of

her affections. That voice is the voice of patience and resignation;

that voice is one that bears everything calmly and dispassionately,

amid the most distressing scenes; when the fates are arrayed against

her peace, and apparently plotting for her destruction, still she

is resigned.

Woman’s affections are deep, consequently her troubles may be made

to sink deep. Although you may not be able to mark the traces of her

grief and the furrowings of her anguish upon her winning countenance,

yet be assured they are nevertheless preying upon her inward person,

sapping the very foundation of that heart which alone was made

for the weal and not the woe of man. The deep recesses of the soul

are fields for their operation. But they are not destined simply

to take the regions of the heart for their dominion, they are not

satisfied merely with interrupting her better feelings; but after

a while you may see the blooming cheek beginning to droop and fade,

her intelligent eye no longer sparkles with the starry light of heaven,

her vibrating pulse long since changed its regular motion, and her

palpitating bosom beats once more for the midday of her glory.

Anxiety and care ultimately throw her into the arms of the haggard

and grim monster death. But, oh, how patient, under every

pining influence! Let us view the matter in bolder colors;

see her when the dearest object of her affections recklessly seeks

every bacchanalian pleasure, contents himself with the last rubbish

of creation. With what solicitude she awaits his return! Sleep fails

to perform its office–she weeps while the nocturnal shades of the

night triumph in the stillness. Bending over some favorite book,

whilst the author throws before her mind the most beautiful imagery,

she startles at every sound. The midnight silence is broken

by the solemn announcement of the return of another morning.

He is still absent; she listens for that voice which has so often

been greeted by the melodies of her own; but, alas! stern silence

is all that she receives for her vigilance.

Mark her unwearied watchfulness, as the night passes away.

At last, brutalized by the accursed thing, he staggers along

with rage, and, shivering with cold, he makes his appearance.

Not a murmur is heard from her lips. On the contrary, she meets him

with a smile–she caresses him with tender arms, with all the gentleness

and softness of her sex. Here, then, is seen her disposition,

beautifully arrayed. Woman, thou art more to be admired than the spicy

gales of Arabia, and more sought for than the gold of Golconda.

We believe that Woman should associate freely with man, and we believe

that it is for the preservation of her rights. She should become

acquainted with the metaphysical designs of those who condescended

to sing the siren song of flattery. This, we think, should be

according to the unwritten law of decorum, which is stamped upon

every innocent heart. The precepts of prudery are often steeped

in the guilt of contamination, which blasts the expectations of

better moments. Truth, and beautiful dreams–loveliness, and delicacy

of character, with cherished affections of the ideal woman–

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135

Categories: Twain, Mark