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

At the moment a tall female figure flitted across his path, with a

bunch of roses in her hand; her countenance showed uncommon vivacity,

with a resolute spirit; her ivory teeth already appeared as she

smiled beautifully, promenading–while her ringlets of hair dangled

unconsciously around her snowy neck. Nothing was wanting to complete

her beauty. The tinge of the rose was in full bloom upon her cheek;

the charms of sensibility and tenderness were always her associates..

In Ambulinia’s bosom dwelt a noble soul–one that never faded–

one that never was conquered. Her heart yielded to no feeling

but the love of Elfonzo, on whom she gazed with intense delight,

and to whom she felt herself more closely bound ,because he sought

the hand of no other. Elfonzo was roused from his apparent reverie.

His books no longer were his inseparable companions–his thoughts

arrayed themselves to encourage him in the field of victory.

He endeavored to speak to his supposed Ambulinia, but his speech

appeared not in words. No, his effort was a stream of fire,

that kindled his soul into a flame of admiration, and carried

his senses away captive. Ambulinia had disappeared, to make him

more mindful of his duty. As she walked speedily away through

the piny woods she calmly echoed: “O! Elfonzo, thou wilt

now look from thy sunbeams. Thou shalt now walk in a new path–

perhaps thy way leads through darkness; but fear not, the stars

foretell happiness.”

Not many days afterward, as surrounded by fragrant flowers she sat

one evening at twilight, to enjoy the cool breeze that whispered

notes of melody along the distant groves, the little birds perched

on every side, as if to watch the movements of their new visitor.

The bells were tolling when Elfonzo silently stole along by the wild

wood flowers, holding in his hand his favorite instrument of music–

his eye continually searching for Ambulinia, who hardly seemed

to perceive him, as she played carelessly with the songsters

that hopped from branch to branch. Nothing could be more striking

than the difference between the two. Nature seemed to have given

the more tender soul to Elfonzo, and the stronger and more courageous

to Ambulinia. A deep feeling spoke from the eyes of Elfonzo–

such a feeling as can only be expressed by those who are blessed

as admirers, and by those who are able to return the same with

sincerity of heart. He was a few years older than Ambulinia:

she had turned a little into her seventeenth. He had almost grown

up in the Cherokee country, with the same equal proportions as one

of the natives. But little intimacy had existed between them until

the year forty-one–because the youth felt that the character of such

a lovely girl was too exalted to inspire any other feeling than

that of quiet reverence. But as lovers will not always be insulted,

at all times and under all circumstances, by the frowns and cold

looks of crabbed old age, which should continually reflect dignity

upon those around, and treat unfortunate as well as the fortunate

with a graceful mien, he continued to use diligence and perseverance.

All this lighted a spark in his heart that changed his whole character,

and like the unyielding Deity that follows the storm to check its

rage in the forest, he resolves for the first time to shake off

his embarrassment and return where he had before only worshiped.

It could not escape Ambulinia’s penetrating eye that he sought

an interview with her, which she as anxiously avoided, and assumed

a more distant calmness than before, seemingly to destroy all hope.

After many efforts and struggles with his own person, with timid

steps the Major approached the damsel, with the same caution

as he would have done in a field of battle. “Lady Ambulinia,”

said he, trembling, “I have long desired a moment like this.

I dare not let it escape. I fear the consequences; yet I hope

your indulgence will at least hear my petition. Can you not

anticipate what I would say, and what I am about to express?

Will not you, like Minerva, who sprung from the brain of Jupiter,

release me from thy winding chains or cure me–” “Say no more,

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Categories: Twain, Mark