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

A-COMIN’ UPSTAIRS! Den he hear de latch, en he KNOW it’s in de room!

Den pooty soon he know it’s a-STANNIN’ BY DE BED! (Pause.) Den–

he know it’s a-BENDIN’ DOWN OVER HIM–en he cain’t skasely git

his breath! Den–den–he seem to feel someth’n’ C-O-L-D, right down

‘most agin his head! (Pause.)

Den de voice say, RIGHT AT HIS YEAR–“W-h-o–g-o-t–m-y g-o-l-d-e-n ARM?”

(You must wail it out very plaintively and accusingly; then you stare

steadily and impressively into the face of the farthest-gone auditor–

a girl, preferably–and let that awe-inspiring pause begin to build

itself in the deep hush. When it has reached exactly the right length,

jump suddenly at that girl and yell, “YOU’VE got it!”

If you’ve got the PAUSE right, she’ll fetch a dear little yelp and

spring right out of her shoes. But you MUST get the pause right;

and you will find it the most troublesome and aggravating and

uncertain thing you ever undertook.



A Biographical Sketch

The stirring part of this celebrated colored man’s life properly began

with his death–that is to say, the notable features of his biography

began with the first time he died. He had been little heard of up

to that time, but since then we have never ceased to hear of him;

we have never ceased to hear of him at stated, unfailing intervals.

His was a most remarkable career, and I have thought that its history

would make a valuable addition to our biographical literature.

Therefore, I have carefully collated the materials for such a work,

from authentic sources, and here present them to the public. I have

rigidly excluded from these pages everything of a doubtful character,

with the object in view of introducing my work into the schools

for the instruction of the youth of my country.

The name of the famous body-servant of General Washington was George.

After serving his illustrious master faithfully for half a century,

and enjoying throughout his long term his high regard and confidence,

it became his sorrowful duty at last to lay that beloved master

to rest in his peaceful grave by the Potomac. Ten years afterward–

in 1809–full of years and honors, he died himself, mourned by all

who knew him. The Boston GAZETTE of that date thus refers to

the event:

George, the favorite body-servant of the lamented Washington,

died in Richmond, Va., last Tuesday, at the ripe age of 95 years.

His intellect was unimpaired, and his memory tenacious, up to

within a few minutes of his decease. He was present at the second

installation of Washington as President, and also at his funeral,

and distinctly remembered all the prominent incidents connected with

those noted events.

From this period we hear no more of the favorite body-servant of

General Washington until May, 1825, at which time he died again.

A Philadelphia paper thus speaks of the sad occurrence:

At Macon, Ga., last week, a colored man named George, who was the

favorite body-servant of General Washington, died at the advanced

age of 95 years. Up to within a few hours of his dissolution he

was in full possession of all his faculties, and could distinctly

recollect the second installation of Washington, his death

and burial, the surrender of Cornwallis, the battle of Trenton,

the griefs and hardships of Valley Forge, etc. Deceased was

followed to the grave by the entire population of Macon.

On the Fourth of July, 1830, and also of 1834 and 1836, the subject

of this sketch was exhibited in great state upon the rostrum

of the orator of the day, and in November of 1840 he died again.

The St. Louis REPUBLICAN of the 25th of that month spoke as follows:


“George, once the favorite body-servant of General Washington,

died yesterday at the house of Mr. John Leavenworth in this city,

at the venerable age of 95 years. He was in the full possession

of his faculties up to the hour of his death, and distinctly

recollected the first and second installations and death of

President Washington, the surrender of Cornwallis, the battles

of Trenton and Monmouth, the sufferings of the patriot army at

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Categories: Twain, Mark