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

lap of bright angels! Cursed slave that I am! Jealousy, oh! thou

infernal demon! Lost, lost to every sense of honor! Oh! Amelia–

heaven-born Amelia–dead, dead! Oh! oh! oh!–then let me die with

thee. Farewell! farewell! ye world that deceived me! (STABS HIMSELF.)

Soon after the excitement of this tragical scene was over,

and the enlisted feeling for Amelia had grown more buoyant with

Elfonzo and Ambulinia, he determined to visit his retired home,

and make the necessary improvements to enjoy a better day;

consequently he conveyed the following lines to Ambulinia:

Go tell the world that hope is glowing,

Go bid the rocks their silence break,

Go tell the stars that love is glowing,

Then bid the hero his lover take.

In the region where scarcely the foot of man hath ever trod,

where the woodman hath not found his way, lies a blooming grove,

seen only by the sun when he mounts his lofty throne, visited only

by the light of the stars, to whom are entrusted the guardianship

of earth, before the sun sinks to rest in his rosy bed. High cliffs

of rocks surround the romantic place, and in the small cavity of

the rocky wall grows the daffodil clear and pure; and as the wind

blows along the enchanting little mountain which surrounds the

lonely spot, it nourishes the flowers with the dew-drops of heaven.

Here is the seat of Elfonzo; darkness claims but little victory over

this dominion, and in vain does she spread out her gloomy wings.

Here the waters flow perpetually, and the trees lash their tops

together to bid the welcome visitor a happy muse. Elfonzo, during his

short stay in the country, had fully persuaded himself that it was

his duty to bring this solemn matter to an issue. A duty that he

individually owed, as a gentleman, to the parents of Ambulinia,

a duty in itself involving not only his own happiness and his own

standing in society, but one that called aloud the act of the parties

to make it perfect and complete. How he should communicate his

intentions to get a favorable reply, he was at a loss to know;

he knew not whether to address Esq. Valeer in prose or in poetry,

in a jocular or an argumentative manner, or whether he should use

moral suasion, legal injunction, or seizure and take by reprisal;

if it was to do the latter, he would have no difficulty in deciding

in his own mind, but his gentlemanly honor was at stake; so he

concluded to address the following letter to the father and mother

of Ambulinia, as his address in person he knew would only aggravate

the old gentleman, and perhaps his lady.

Cumming, Ga., January 22, 1844

Mr. and Mrs. Valeer–

Again I resume the pleasing task of addressing you, and once more beg

an immediate answer to my many salutations. From every circumstance

that has taken place, I feel in duty bound to comply with my obligations;

to forfeit my word would be more than I dare do; to break my pledge,

and my vows that have been witnessed, sealed, and delivered in the

presence of an unseen Deity, would be disgraceful on my part, as well

as ruinous to Ambulinia. I wish no longer to be kept in suspense

about this matter. I wish to act gentlemanly in every particular.

It is true, the promises I have made are unknown to any but Ambulinia,

and I think it unnecessary to here enumerate them, as they who

promise the most generally perform the least. Can you for a moment

doubt my sincerity or my character? My only wish is, sir, that you

may calmly and dispassionately look at the situation of the case,

and if your better judgment should dictate otherwise, my obligations

may induce me to pluck the flower that you so diametrically opposed.

We have sword by the saints–by the gods of battle, and by that

faith whereby just men are made perfect–to be united. I hope,

my dear sir, you will find it convenient as well as agreeable

to give me a favorable answer, with the signature of Mrs. Valeer,

as well as yourself.

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Categories: Twain, Mark