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

Perseverance is a principle that should be commendable in those who have

judgment to govern it. I should never had been so successful in my

hunting excursions had I waited till the deer, by some magic dream,

had been drawn to the muzzle of the gun before I made an attempt to fire

at the game that dared my boldness in the wild forest. The great

mystery in hunting seems to be–a good marksman, a resolute mind,

a fixed determination, and my world for it, you will never return

home without sounding your horn with the breath of a new victory.

And so with every other undertaking. Be confident that your ammunition

is of the right kind–always pull your trigger with a steady hand,

and so soon as you perceive a calm, touch her off, and the spoils

are yours.”

This filled him with redoubled vigor, and he set out with a stronger

anxiety than ever to the home of Ambulinia. A few short steps soon

brought him to the door, half out of breath. He rapped gently.

Ambulinia, who sat in the parlor alone, suspecting Elfonzo was near,

ventured to the door, opened it, and beheld the hero, who stood

in an humble attitude, bowed gracefully, and as they caught each

other’s looks the light of peace beamed from the eyes of Ambulinia.

Elfonzo caught the expression; a halloo of smothered shouts ran

through every vein, and for the first time he dared to impress a kiss

upon her cheek. The scene was overwhelming; had the temptation

been less animating, he would not have ventured to have acted

so contrary to the desired wish of his Ambulinia; but who could

have withstood the irrestistable temptation! What society condemns

the practice but a cold, heartless, uncivilized people that know

nothing of the warm attachments of refined society? Here the dead

was raised to his long-cherished hopes, and the lost was found.

Here all doubt and danger were buried in the vortex of oblivion;

sectional differences no longer disunited their opinions; like the freed

bird from the cage, sportive claps its rustling wings, wheels about

to heaven in a joyful strain, and raises its notes to the upper sky.

Ambulinia insisted upon Elfonzo to be seated, and give her a history

of his unnecessary absence; assuring him the family had retired,

consequently they would ever remain ignorant of his visit.

Advancing toward him, she gave a bright display of her rosy neck,

and from her head the ambrosial locks breathed divine fragrance;

her robe hung waving to his view, while she stood like a goddess

confessed before him.

“It does seem to me, my dear sir,” said Ambulinia, “that you have

been gone an age. Oh, the restless hours I have spent since I last

saw you, in yon beautiful grove. There is where I trifled with your

feelings for the express purpose of trying your attachment for me.

I now find you are devoted; but ah! I trust you live not unguarded

by the powers of Heaven. Though oft did I refuse to join my hand

with thine, and as oft did I cruelly mock thy entreaties with

borrowed shapes: yes, I feared to answer thee by terms, in words

sincere and undissembled. O! could I pursue, and you have leisure

to hear the annals of my woes, the evening star would shut Heaven’s

gates upon the impending day before my tale would be finished,

and this night would find me soliciting your forgiveness.”

“Dismiss thy fears and thy doubts,” replied Elfonzo.

“Look, O! look: that angelic look of thine–bathe not thy visage

in tears; banish those floods that are gathering; let my confession

and my presence being thee some relief.” “Then, indeed, I will

be cheerful,” said Ambulinia, “and I think if we will go to the

exhibition this evening, we certainly will see something worthy

of our attention. One of the most tragical scenes is to be acted

that has ever been witnessed, and one that every jealous-hearted person

should learn a lesson from. It cannot fail to have a good effect,

as it will be performed by those who are young and vigorous,

and learned as well as enticing. You are aware, Major Elfonzo, who are

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Categories: Twain, Mark