Far into the night the citizens continued to discuss and wonder over the strangely mated pair of incidents that had distinguished and exalted the past twenty-four hours above any other twenty-four in the history of their town for picturesqueness and splendid interest; and long before the lights were out and burghers asleep it had been decided on all hands that in capturing these twins Dawson's Landing had drawn a prize in the great lottery of municipal fortune.

At midnight Angelo was sleeping peacefully. His immersion had not harmed him, it had merely made him wholesomely drowsy, and he had been dead asleep many hours now. It had made Luigi drowsy, too, but he had got only brief naps, on account of his having to take the medicine every three-quarters of an hour-and Aunt Betsy Hale was there to see that he did it. When he complained and resisted, she was quietly firm with him, and said in a low voice:

"No-no, that won't do; you mustn't talk, and you mustn't retch and gag that way, either--you'll wake up your poor brother."

"Well, what of it, Aunt Betsy, he--"

"'Sh-h! Don't make a noise, dear. You mustn't: forget that your poor brother is sick and--"

"Sick, is he? Well, I wish I--"

"'Sh-h-h! Will you be quiet, Luigi! Here, now, take the rest of it-- don't keep me holding the dipper all night. I declare if you haven't left a good fourth of it in the bottom! Come-that's a good--

"Aunt Betsy, don't make me! I feel like I've swallowed a cemetery; I do, indeed. Do let me rest a little--just a little; I can't take any more of the devilish stuff now."

"Luigi! Using such language here, and him just baptized! Do you want the roof to fall on you?"

"I wish to goodness it would!"

"Why, you dreadful thing! I've a good notion to--let that blanket alone; do you want your, brother to catch his death?"

"Aunt Betsy, I've got to have it off, I'm being roasted alive; nobody could stand it--you couldn't yourself."

"Now, then, you're sneezing again--I just expected it."

"Because I've caught a cold in my head. I always do, when I go in the water with my clothes on. And it takes me weeks to get over it, too. I think it was a shame to serve me so."

"Luigi, you are unreasonable; you know very well they couldn't baptize him dry. I should think you would be willing to undergo a little inconvenience for your brother's sake."

"Inconvenience! Now how you talk, Aunt Betsy. I came as near as anything to getting drowned you saw that yourself; and do you call this inconvenience?--the room shut up as tight as a drum, and so hot the mosquitoes are trying to get out; and a cold in the head, and dying for sleep and no chance to get any--on account of this infamous medicine that that assassin prescri--"

"There, you're sneezing again. I'm going down and mix some more of this truck for you, dear."

CHAPTER IX

THE DRINKLESS DRUNK

During Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday the twins grew steadily worse; but then the doctor was summoned South to attend his mother's funeral, and they got well in forty-eight hours. They appeared on the street on Friday, and were welcomed with enthusiasm by the new-born parties, the Luigi and Angelo factions. The Luigi faction carried its strength into the Democratic party, the Angelo faction entered into a combination with the Whigs. The Democrats nominated Luigi for alderman under the new city government, and the Whigs put up Angelo against him. The Democrats nominated Pudd'nhead Wilson for mayor, and he was left alone in this glory, for the Whigs had no man who was willing to enter the lists against such a formidable opponent. No politician had scored such a compliment as this before in the history of the Mississippi Valley.

The political campaign in Dawson's Landing opened in a pretty warm fashion, and waned hotter every week. Luigi's whole heart was in it, and even Angelo developed a surprising amount of interest-which was natural, because he was not merely representing Whigism, a matter of no consequence to him; but he was representing something immensely finer and greater--to wit, Reform.

Those Extraordinary Twins Page 28

Mark Twain

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