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

himself as well as he conveniently could, until the scene was over,

and then he would plant himself at the door, to 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. Accordingly he made

himself sentinel, immediately after the performance of the evening–

retained his position apparently in defiance of all the world; he waited,

he gazed at every lady, his whole frame trembled; here he stood,

until everything like human shape had disappeared from the institution,

and he had done nothing; he had failed to accomplish that which he

so eagerly sought for. Poor, unfortunate creature! he had not

the eyes of an Argus, or he might have seen his Juno and Elfonzo,

assisted by his friend Sigma, make their escape from the window,

and, with the rapidity of a race-horse, hurry through the blast of

the storm to the residence of her father, without being recognized.

He did not tarry long, but assured Ambulinia the endless chain

of their existence was more closely connected than ever, since he

had seen the virtuous, innocent, imploring, and the constant

Amelia murdered by the jealous-hearted Farcillo, the accursed of

the land.

The following is the tragical scene, which is only introduced

to show the subject-matter that enabled Elfonzo to come to such

a determinate resolution that nothing of the kind should ever

dispossess him of his true character, should he be so fortunate

as to succeed in his present undertaking.

Amelia was the wife of Farcillo, and a virtuous woman; Gracia,

a young lady, was her particular friend and confidant. Farcillo grew

jealous of Amelia, murders her, finds out that he was deceived,

AND STABS HIMSELF. Amelia appears alone, talking to herself.

A. Hail, ye solitary ruins of antiquity, ye sacred tombs and

silent walks! it is your aid I invoke; it is to you, my soul,

wrapt in deep mediating, pours forth its prayer. Here I wander upon

the stage of mortality, since the world hath turned against me.

Those whom I believed to be my friends, alas! are now my enemies,

planting thorns in all my paths, poisoning all my pleasures,

and turning the past to pain. What a lingering catalogue of sighs

and tears lies just before me, crowding my aching bosom with

the fleeting dream of humanity, which must shortly terminate.

And to what purpose will all this bustle of life, these agitations

and emotions of the heart have conduced, if it leave behind it

nothing of utility, if it leave no traces of improvement? Can it

be that I am deceived in my conclusions? No, I see that I have

nothing to hope for, but everything for fear, which tends to drive

me from the walks of time.

Oh! in this dead night, if loud winds arise,

To lash the surge and bluster in the skies,

May the west its furious rage display,

Toss me with storms in the watery way.

(Enter Gracia.)

G. Oh, Amelia, is it you, the object of grief, the daughter of opulence,

of wisdom and philosophy, that thus complaineth? It cannot be you

are the child of misfortune, speaking of the monuments of former ages,

which were allotted not for the reflection of the distressed,

but for the fearless and bold.

A. Not the child of poverty, Gracia, or the heir of glory and peace,

but of fate. Remember, I have wealth more than wit can number; I have

had power more than kings could emcompass; yet the world seems a desert;

all nature appears an afflictive spectacle of warring passions.

This blind fatality, that capriciously sports with the rules

and lives of mortals, tells me that the mountains will never again

send forth the water of their springs to my thirst. Oh, that I

might be freed and set at liberty from wretchedness! But I fear,

I fear this will never be.

G. Why, Amelia, this untimely grief? What has caused the sorrows

that bespeak better and happier days, to those lavish out such

heaps of misery? You are aware that your instructive lessons

embellish the mind with holy truths, by wedding its attention

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Categories: Twain, Mark