I should never had been so successful in my hunting excursions had I waited till the deer, by some magic dream, had been drawn to the muzzle of the gun before I made an attempt to fire at the game that dared my boldness in the wild forest. The great mystery in hunting seems to be--a good marksman, a resolute mind, a fixed determination, and my world for it, you will never return home without sounding your horn with the breath of a new victory. And so with every other undertaking. Be confident that your ammunition is of the right kind--always pull your trigger with a steady hand, and so soon as you perceive a calm, touch her off, and the spoils are yours."

This filled him with redoubled vigor, and he set out with a stronger anxiety than ever to the home of Ambulinia. A few short steps soon brought him to the door, half out of breath. He rapped gently. Ambulinia, who sat in the parlor alone, suspecting Elfonzo was near, ventured to the door, opened it, and beheld the hero, who stood in an humble attitude, bowed gracefully, and as they caught each other's looks the light of peace beamed from the eyes of Ambulinia. Elfonzo caught the expression; a halloo of smothered shouts ran through every vein, and for the first time he dared to impress a kiss upon her cheek. The scene was overwhelming; had the temptation been less animating, he would not have ventured to have acted so contrary to the desired wish of his Ambulinia; but who could have withstood the irrestistable temptation! What society condemns the practice but a cold, heartless, uncivilized people that know nothing of the warm attachments of refined society? Here the dead was raised to his long-cherished hopes, and the lost was found. Here all doubt and danger were buried in the vortex of oblivion; sectional differences no longer disunited their opinions; like the freed bird from the cage, sportive claps its rustling wings, wheels about to heaven in a joyful strain, and raises its notes to the upper sky. Ambulinia insisted upon Elfonzo to be seated, and give her a history of his unnecessary absence; assuring him the family had retired, consequently they would ever remain ignorant of his visit. Advancing toward him, she gave a bright display of her rosy neck, and from her head the ambrosial locks breathed divine fragrance; her robe hung waving to his view, while she stood like a goddess confessed before him.

"It does seem to me, my dear sir," said Ambulinia, "that you have been gone an age. Oh, the restless hours I have spent since I last saw you, in yon beautiful grove. There is where I trifled with your feelings for the express purpose of trying your attachment for me. I now find you are devoted; but ah! I trust you live not unguarded by the powers of Heaven. Though oft did I refuse to join my hand with thine, and as oft did I cruelly mock thy entreaties with borrowed shapes: yes, I feared to answer thee by terms, in words sincere and undissembled. O! could I pursue, and you have leisure to hear the annals of my woes, the evening star would shut Heaven's gates upon the impending day before my tale would be finished, and this night would find me soliciting your forgiveness."

"Dismiss thy fears and thy doubts," replied Elfonzo.

"Look, O! look: that angelic look of thine--bathe not thy visage in tears; banish those floods that are gathering; let my confession and my presence being thee some relief." "Then, indeed, I will be cheerful," said Ambulinia, "and I think if we will go to the exhibition this evening, we certainly will see something worthy of our attention. One of the most tragical scenes is to be acted that has ever been witnessed, and one that every jealous-hearted person should learn a lesson from. It cannot fail to have a good effect, as it will be performed by those who are young and vigorous, and learned as well as enticing. You are aware, Major Elfonzo, who are to appear on the stage, and what the characters are to represent." "I am acquainted with the circumstances," replied Elfonzo, "and as I am to be one of the musicians upon that interesting occasion, I should be much gratified if you would favor me with your company during the hours of the exercises."

"What strange notions are in your mind?" inquired Ambulinia. "Now I know you have something in view, and I desire you to tell me why it is that you are so anxious that I should continue with you while the exercises are going on; though if you think I can add to your happiness and predilections, I have no particular objection to acquiesce in your request.

The $30,000 Bequest Page 50

Mark Twain

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book