I wish no longer to be kept in suspense about this matter. I wish to act gentlemanly in every particular. It is true, the promises I have made are unknown to any but Ambulinia, and I think it unnecessary to here enumerate them, as they who promise the most generally perform the least. Can you for a moment doubt my sincerity or my character? My only wish is, sir, that you may calmly and dispassionately look at the situation of the case, and if your better judgment should dictate otherwise, my obligations may induce me to pluck the flower that you so diametrically opposed. We have sword by the saints--by the gods of battle, and by that faith whereby just men are made perfect--to be united. I hope, my dear sir, you will find it convenient as well as agreeable to give me a favorable answer, with the signature of Mrs. Valeer, as well as yourself.

With very great esteem,

your humble servant,

J. I. Elfonzo.

The moon and stars had grown pale when Ambulinia had retired to rest. A crowd of unpleasant thoughts passed through her bosom. Solitude dwelt in her chamber--no sound from the neighboring world penetrated its stillness; it appeared a temple of silence, of repose, and of mystery. At that moment she heard a still voice calling her father. In an instant, like the flash of lightning, a thought ran through her mind that it must be the bearer of Elfonzo's communication. "It is not a dream!" she said, "no, I cannot read dreams. Oh! I would to Heaven I was near that glowing eloquence--that poetical language--it charms the mind in an inexpressible manner, and warms the coldest heart." While consoling herself with this strain, her father rushed into her room almost frantic with rage, exclaiming: "Oh, Ambulinia! Ambulinia!! undutiful, ungrateful daughter! What does this mean? Why does this letter bear such heart-rending intelligence? Will you quit a father's house with this debased wretch, without a place to lay his distracted head; going up and down the country, with every novel object that many chance to wander through this region. He is a pretty man to make love known to his superiors, and you, Ambulinia, have done but little credit to yourself by honoring his visits. Oh, wretchedness! can it be that my hopes of happiness are forever blasted! Will you not listen to a father's entreaties, and pay some regard to a mother's tears. I know, and I do pray that God will give me fortitude to bear with this sea of troubles, and rescue my daughter, my Ambulinia, as a brand from the eternal burning." "Forgive me, father, oh! forgive thy child," replied Ambulinia. "My heart is ready to break, when I see you in this grieved state of agitation. Oh! think not so meanly of me, as that I mourn for my own danger. Father, I am only woman. Mother, I am only the templement of thy youthful years, but will suffer courageously whatever punishment you think proper to inflict upon me, if you will but allow me to comply with my most sacred promises--if you will but give me my personal right and my personal liberty. Oh, father! if your generosity will but give me these, I ask nothing more. When Elfonzo offered me his heart, I gave him my hand, never to forsake him, and now may the mighty God banish me before I leave him in adversity. What a heart must I have to rejoice in prosperity with him whose offers I have accepted, and then, when poverty comes, haggard as it may be, for me to trifle with the oracles of Heaven, and change with every fluctuation that may interrupt our happiness-- like the politician who runs the political gantlet for office one day, and the next day, because the horizon is darkened a little, he is seen running for his life, for fear he might perish in its ruins. Where is the philosophy, where is the consistency, where is the charity, in conduct like this? Be happy then, my beloved father, and forget me; let the sorrow of parting break down the wall of separation and make us equal in our feeling; let me now say how ardently I love you; let me kiss that age-worn cheek, and should my tears bedew thy face, I will wipe them away.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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