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

would now cease to love Elfonzo, and that her stolen affections

would now expire with her misguided opinions. They therefore

declined the idea of sending her to a distant land. But oh! they

dreamed not of the rapture that dazzled the fancy of Ambulinia,

who would say, when alone, youth should not fly away on his rosy

pinions, and leave her to grapple in the conflict with unknown admirers.

No frowning age shall control

The constant current of my soul,

Nor a tear from pity’s eye

Shall check my sympathetic sigh.

With this resolution fixed in her mind, one dark and dreary night,

when the winds whistled and the tempest roared, she received intelligence

that Elfonzo was then waiting, and every preparation was then ready,

at the residence of Dr. Tully, and for her to make a quick escape

while the family was reposing. Accordingly she gathered her books,

went the wardrobe supplied with a variety of ornamental dressing,

and ventured alone in the streets to make her way to Elfonzo,

who was near at hand, impatiently looking and watching her arrival.

“What forms,” said she, “are those rising before me? What is

that dark spot on the clouds? I do wonder what frightful ghost

that is, gleaming on the red tempest? Oh, be merciful and tell me

what region you are from. Oh, tell me, ye strong spirits, or ye

dark and fleeting clouds, that I yet have a friend.” “A friend,”

said a low, whispering voice. “I am thy unchanging, thy aged,

and thy disappointed mother. Why brandish in that hand of thine

a javelin of pointed steel? Why suffer that lip I have kissed

a thousand times to equivocate? My daughter, let these tears sink

deep into thy soul, and no longer persist in that which may be your

destruction and ruin. Come, my dear child, retract your steps,

and bear me company to your welcome home.” Without one retorting word,

or frown from her brow, she yielded to the entreaties of her mother,

and with all the mildness of her former character she went along

with the silver lamp of age, to the home of candor and benevolence.

Her father received her cold and formal politeness–“Where has

Ambulinia been, this blustering evening, Mrs. Valeer?” inquired he.

“Oh, she and I have been taking a solitary walk,” said the mother;

“all things, I presume, are now working for the best.”

Elfonzo heard this news shortly after it happened. “What,” said he,

“has heaven and earth turned against me? I have been disappointed

times without number. Shall I despair?–must I give it over?

Heaven’s decrees will not fade; I will write again–I will try again;

and if it traverses a gory field, I pray forgiveness at the altar

of justice.”

Desolate Hill, Cumming, Geo., 1844.

Unconquered and Beloved Ambulinia–

I have only time to say to you, not to despair; thy fame shall

not perish; my visions are brightening before me. The whirlwind’s

rage is past, and we now shall subdue our enemies without doubt.

On Monday morning, when your friends are at breakfast, they will

not suspect your departure, or even mistrust me being in town,

as it has been reported advantageously that I have left for the west.

You walk carelessly toward the academy grove, where you will find

me with a lightning steed, elegantly equipped to bear you off where

we shall be joined in wedlock with the first connubial rights.

Fail not to do this–think not of the tedious relations of our wrongs–

be invincible. You alone occupy all my ambition, and I alone will

make you my happy spouse, with the same unimpeached veracity.

I remain, forever, your devoted friend and admirer, J. L. Elfonzo.

The appointed day ushered in undisturbed by any clouds; nothing disturbed

Ambulinia’s soft beauty. With serenity and loveliness she obeys

the request of Elfonzo. The moment the family seated themselves

at the table–“Excuse my absence for a short time,” said she,

“while I attend to the placing of those flowers, which should have

been done a week ago.” And away she ran to the sacred grove,

surrounded with glittering pearls, that indicated her coming.

Elfonzo hails her with his silver bow and his golden harp. They meet–

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Categories: Twain, Mark