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

and our blood alone shall tell the mournful tale of a murdered

daughter and a ruined father.” Sure enough, he kept watch all night,

and was successful in defending his house and family. The bright

morning gleamed upon the hills, night vanished away, the Major

and his associates felt somewhat ashamed that they had not been as

fortunate as they expected to have been; however, they still leaned

upon their arms in dispersed groups; some were walking the streets,

others were talking in the Major’s behalf. Many of the citizen

suspended business, as the town presented nothing but consternation.

A novelty that might end in the destruction of some worthy

and respectable citizens. Mr. Valeer ventured in the streets,

though not without being well armed. Some of his friends congratulated

him on the decided stand he had taken, and hoped he would settle

the matter amicably with Elfonzo, without any serious injury.

“Me,” he replied, “what, me, condescend to fellowship with a coward,

and a low-lived, lazy, undermining villain? no, gentlemen, this cannot be;

I had rather be borne off, like the bubble upon the dark blue ocean,

with Ambulinia by my side, than to have him in the ascending

or descending line of relationship. Gentlemen,” continued he,

“if Elfonzo is so much of a distinguished character, and is so

learned in the fine arts, why do you not patronize such men? why

not introduce him into your families, as a gentleman of taste

and of unequaled magnanimity? why are you so very anxious that he

should become a relative of mine? Oh, gentlemen, I fear you yet

are tainted with the curiosity of our first parents, who were

beguiled by the poisonous kiss of an old ugly serpent, and who,

for one APPLE, DAMNED all mankind. I wish to divest myself, as far

as possible, of that untutored custom. I have long since learned

that the perfection of wisdom, and the end of true philosophy,

is to proportion our wants to our possessions, our ambition to

our capacities; we will then be a happy and a virtuous people.”

Ambulinia was sent off to prepare for a long and tedious journey.

Her new acquaintances had been instructed by her father how to treat her,

and in what manner, and to keep the anticipated visit entirely secret.

Elfonzo was watching the movements of everybody; some friends

had told him of the plot that was laid to carry off Ambulinia.

At night, he rallied some two or three of his forces, and went

silently along to the stately mansion; a faint and glimmering light

showed through the windows; lightly he steps to the door; there were

many voices rallying fresh in fancy’s eye; he tapped the shutter;

it was opened instantly, and he beheld once more, seated beside

several ladies, the hope of all his toils; he rushed toward her,

she rose from her seat, rejoicing; he made one mighty grasp,

when Ambulinia exclaimed, “Huzza for Major Elfonzo! I will defend

myself and you, too, with this conquering instrument I hold in my hand;

huzza, I say, I now invoke time’s broad wing to shed around us some

dewdrops of verdant spring.”

But the hour had not come for this joyous reunion; her friends

struggled with Elfonzo for some time, and finally succeeded

in arresting her from his hands. He dared not injure them,

because they were matrons whose courage needed no spur;

she was snatched from the arms of Elfonzo, with so much eagerness,

and yet with such expressive signification, that he calmly withdrew

from this lovely enterprise, with an ardent hope that he should be

lulled to repose by the zephyrs which whispered peace to his soul.

Several long days and night passed unmolested, all seemed to have

grounded their arms of rebellion, and no callidity appeared to be

going on with any of the parties. Other arrangements were made

by Ambulinia; she feigned herself to be entirely the votary of a

mother’s care, and she, by her graceful smiles, that manhood might

claim his stern dominion in some other region, where such boisterous

love was not so prevalent. This gave the parents a confidence

that yielded some hours of sober joy; they believed that Ambulinia

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Categories: Twain, Mark