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The $30,000 bequest

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Pages: 198

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC

By: Mark Twain

Excerpt from book: WAS IT HEAVEN? OR HELL? CHAPTER I YOU told a lie?" "You confess it—you actually confess it— you told a lie!" CHAPTER II THE family consisted of four persons: Margaret Lester, widow, aged thirty-six: Helen Lester, her daughter, aged sixteen: Mrs. Lester's maiden aunts, Hannah and Hester Gray, twins, aged sixty-seven. Waking and sleeping, the three women spent their days and nights in adoring the young girl: in watching the movements of her sweet spirit in the mirror of her face: in refreshing their souls with the vision of her bloom and beauty: in listening to the music of her voice: in gratefully recognizing how rich and fair for them was the world with this presence in it: in shuddering to think how desolate it would be with this light gone out of it. By nature—and inside—the aged aunts were utterly dear and lovable and good, but in the matter of morals and conduct their training had been so uncompromisingly strict that it had made them exteriorly austere, not to say stern. Their influence was effective in the house: so effective that the mother and the daughter conformed to its moral and religious requirements cheerfully, contentedly, happily, unquestionably. To do this was become second nature to them. And so in this peaceful heaven there were no clashings, no irritations, no faultfindings, no heart-burnings. In it a lie had no place. In it a lie was unthinkable. In it speech was restricted to absolute truth, iron-bound truth, implacable and uncompromising truth, let the resulting consequences be what they might. At last, one day, under stress of circumstances, the darling of the house sullied her lips with a lie—and confessed it, with tears and self-upbraid- ings. There are not any words that can paint the consternation of the aunts. It was as if the sky had ...  


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