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

to win a victory? I love the sleep of the lover and the mighty;

nor would I give it over till the blood of my enemies should wreak

with that of my own. But God forbid that our fame should soar

on the blood of the slumberer.” Mr. Valeer stands at his door

with the frown of a demon upon his brow, with his dangerous

weapon ready to strike the first man who should enter his door.

“Who will arise and go forward through blood and carnage to the rescue

of my Ambulinia?” said Elfonzo. “All,” exclaimed the multitude;

and onward they went, with their implements of battle. Others, of a

more timid nature, stood among the distant hills to see the result of

the contest.

Elfonzo took the lead of his band. Night arose in clouds;

darkness concealed the heavens; but the blazing hopes that stimulated

them gleamed in every bosom. All approached the anxious spot;

they rushed to the front of the house and, with one exclamation,

demanded Ambulinia. “Away, begone, and disturb my peace no more,”

said Mr. Valeer. “You are a set of base, insolent, and infernal rascals.

Go, the northern star points your path through the dim twilight of

the night; go, and vent your spite upon the lonely hills; pour forth

your love, you poor, weak-minded wretch, upon your idleness and upon

your guitar, and your fiddle; they are fit subjects for your admiration,

for let me assure you, though this sword and iron lever are cankered,

yet they frown in sleep, and let one of you dare to enter my

house this night and you shall have the contents and the weight

of these instruments.” “Never yet did base dishonor blur my name,”

said Elfonzo; “mine is a cause of renown; here are my warriors;

fear and tremble, for this night, though hell itself should oppose,

I will endeavor to avenge her whom thou hast banished in solitude.

The voice of Ambulinia shall be heard from that dark dungeon.”

At that moment Ambulinia appeared at the window above, and with a

tremulous voice said, “Live, Elfonzo! oh! live to raise my stone

of moss! why should such language enter your heart? why should thy

voice rend the air with such agitation? I bid thee live, once more

remembering these tears of mine are shed alone for thee, in this dark

and gloomy vault, and should I perish under this load of trouble,

join the song of thrilling accents with the raven above my grave,

and lay this tattered frame beside the banks of the Chattahoochee

or the stream of Sawney’s brook; sweet will be the song of death to

your Ambulinia. My ghost shall visit you in the smiles of Paradise,

and tell your high fame to the minds of that region, which is far more

preferable than this lonely cell. My heart shall speak for thee till

the latest hour; I know faint and broken are the sounds of sorrow,

yet our souls, Elfonzo, shall hear the peaceful songs together.

One bright name shall be ours on high, if we are not permitted to be

united here; bear in mind that I still cherish my old sentiments,

and the poet will mingle the names of Elfonzo and Ambulinia

in the tide of other days.” “Fly, Elfonzo, ” said the voices

of his united band, “to the wounded heart of your beloved.

All enemies shall fall beneath thy sword. Fly through the clefts,

and the dim spark shall sleep in death.” Elfonzo rushes forward

and strikes his shield against the door, which was barricaded,

to prevent any intercourse. His brave sons throng around him.

The people pour along the streets, both male and female, to prevent or

witness the melancholy scene.

“To arms, to arms!” cried Elfonzo; “here is a victory to be won,

a prize to be gained that is more to me that the whole world beside.”

“It cannot be done tonight,” said Mr. Valeer. “I bear the clang

of death; my strength and armor shall prevail. My Ambulinia shall

rest in this hall until the break of another day, and if we fall,

we fall together. If we die, we die clinging to our tattered rights,

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Categories: Twain, Mark