Eve's Diary, Complete eBook: Page1
Mark Twain (2004)
Produced by David Widger and Cindy Rosenthal
By Mark Twain
Illustrated by Lester Ralph
Translated from the Original
SATURDAY.--I am almost a whole day old, now. I arrived yesterday.That is as it seems to me. And it must be so, for if there was aday-before-yesterday I was not there when it happened, or I shouldremember it. It could be, of course, that it did happen, and that Iwas not noticing. Very well; I will be very watchful now, and if anyday-before-yesterdays happen I will make a note of it. It will be bestto start right and not let the record get confused, for some instincttells me that these details are going to be important to the historiansome day. For I feel like an experiment, I feel exactly like anexperiment; it would be impossible for a person to feel more like anexperiment than I do, and so I am coming to feel convinced that thatis what I AM--an experiment; just an experiment, and nothing more.
Then if I am an experiment, am I the whole of it? No, I think not; Ithink the rest of it is part of it. I am the main part of it, but Ithink the rest of it has its share in the matter. Is my positionassured, or do I have to watch it and take care of it? The latter,perhaps. Some instinct tells me that eternal vigilance is the priceof supremacy. [That is a good phrase, I think, for one so young.]
Everything looks better today than it did yesterday. In the rush offinishing up yesterday, the mountains were left in a ragged condition,and some of the plains were so cluttered with rubbish and remnants thatthe aspects were quite distressing. Noble and beautiful works of artshould not be subjected to haste; and this majestic new world is indeeda most noble and beautiful work. And certainly marvelously near tobeing perfect, notwithstanding the shortness of the time. There are toomany stars in some places and not enough in others, but that can beremedied presently, no doubt. The moon got loose last night, and sliddown and fell out of the scheme--a very great loss; it breaks my heartto think of it. There isn't another thing among the ornaments anddecorations that is comparable to it for beauty and finish. It shouldhave been fastened better. If we can only get it back again--
But of course there is no telling where it went to. And besides,whoever gets it will hide it; I know it because I would do it myself.I believe I can be honest in all other matters, but I already begin torealize that the core and center of my nature is love of the beautiful,a passion for the beautiful, and that it would not be safe to trust mewith a moon that belonged to another person and that person didn't knowI had it. I could give up a moon that I found in the daytime, because Ishould be afraid some one was looking; but if I found it in the dark, Iam sure I should find some kind of an excuse for not saying anythingabout it. For I do love moons, they are so pretty and so romantic. Iwish we had five or six; I would never go to bed; I should never gettired lying on the moss-bank and looking up at them.
Stars are good, too. I wish I could get some to put in my hair. But Isuppose I never can. You would be surprised to find how far off theyare, for they do not look it. When they first showed, last night, Itried to knock some down with a pole, but it didn't reach, whichastonished me; then I tried clods till I was all tired out, but I nevergot one. It was because I am left-handed and cannot throw good. Evenwhen I aimed at the one I wasn't after I couldn't hit the other one,though I did make some close shots, for I saw the black blot of the clodsail right into the midst of the golden clusters forty or fifty times,just barely missing them, and if I could have held out a little longermaybe I could have got one.
So I cried a little, which was natural, I suppose, for one of my age,and after I was rested I got a basket and started for a place on theextreme rim of the circle, where the stars were close to the ground andI could get them with my hands, which would be better, anyway, because Icould gather them tenderly then, and not break them. But it was fartherthan I thought, and at last I had to give it up; I was so tired Icouldn't drag my feet another step; and besides, they were sore and hurtme very much.
I couldn't get back home; it was too far and turning cold; but I foundsome tigers and nestled in among them and was most adorably comfortable,and their breath was sweet and pleasant, because they live onstrawberries. I had never seen a tiger before, but I knew them in aminute by the stripes. If I could have one of those skins, it wouldmake a lovely gown.
Today I am getting better ideas about distances. I was so eager to gethold of every pretty thing that I giddily grabbed for it, sometimes whenit was too far off, and sometimes when it was but six inches away butseemed a foot--alas, with thorns between! I learned a lesson; also Imade an axiom, all out of my own head--my very first one; THE SCRATCHEDEXPERIMENT SHUNS THE THORN. I think it is a very good one for one soyoung.
I followed the other Experiment around, yesterday afternoon, at adistance, to see what it might be for, if I could. But I was not ableto make [it] out. I think it is a man. I had never seen a man, but itlooked like one, and I feel sure that that is what it is. I realize thatI feel more curiosity about it than about any of the other reptiles. Ifit is a reptile, and I suppose it is; for it has frowzy hair and blueeyes, and looks like a reptile. It has no hips; it tapers like a carrot;when it stands, it spreads itself apart like a derrick; so I think it isa reptile, though it may be architecture.
I was afraid of it at first, and started to run every time it turnedaround, for I thought it was going to chase me; but by and by I found itwas only trying to get away, so after that I was not timid any more, buttracked it along, several hours, about twenty yards behind, which madeit nervous and unhappy. At last it was a good deal worried, and climbeda tree. I waited a good while, then gave it up and went home.
Today the same thing over. I've got it up the tree again.
SUNDAY.--It is up there yet. Resting, apparently. But that is asubterfuge: Sunday isn't the day of rest; Saturday is appointed forthat. It looks to me like a creature that is more interested in restingthan in anything else. It would tire me to rest so much. It tires mejust to sit around and watch the tree. I do wonder what it is for; Inever see it do anything.
They returned the moon last night, and I was SO happy! I think it isvery honest of them. It slid down and fell off again, but I was notdistressed; there is no need to worry when one has that kind ofneighbors; they will fetch it back. I wish I could do something to showmy appreciation. I would like to send them some stars, for we have morethan we can use. I mean I, not we, for I can see that the reptile caresnothing for such things.
It has low tastes, and is not kind. When I went there yesterday eveningin the gloaming it had crept down and was trying to catch the littlespeckled fishes that play in the pool, and I had to clod it to make itgo up the tree again and let them alone. I wonder if THAT is what it isfor? Hasn't it any heart? Hasn't it any compassion for those littlecreature? Can it be that it was designed and manufactured for suchungentle work? It has the look of it. One of the clods took it back ofthe ear, and it used language. It gave me a thrill, for it was thefirst time I had ever heard speech, except my own. I did not understandthe words, but they seemed expressive.
When I found it could talk I felt a new interest in it, for I love totalk; I talk, all day, and in my sleep, too, and I am very interesting,but if I had another to talk to I could be twice as interesting, andwould never stop, if desired.
If this reptile is a man, it isn't an IT, is it? That wouldn't begrammatical, would it? I think it would be HE. I think so. In thatcase one would parse it thus: nominative, HE; dative, HIM; possessive,HIS'N. Well, I will consider it a man and call it he until it turns outto be something else. This will be handier than having so manyuncertainties.
NEXT WEEK SUNDAY.--All the week I tagged around after him and tried toget acquainted. I had to do
WEDNESDAY.--We are getting along very well indeed, now, and gettingbetter and better acquainted. He does not try to avoid me any more,which is a good sign, and shows that he likes to have me with him. Thatpleases me, and I study to be useful to him in every way I can, so as toincrease his regard.
During the last day or two I have taken all the work of naming thingsoff his hands, and this has been a great relief to him, for he has nogift in that line, and is evidently very grateful. He can't think of arational name to save him, but I do not let him see that I am aware ofhis defect. Whenever a new creature comes along I name it before he hastime to expose himself by an awkward silence. In this way I have savedhim many embarrassments. I have no defect like this. The minute I seteyes on an animal I know what it is. I don't have to reflect a moment;the right name comes out instantly, just as if it were an inspiration,as no doubt it is, for I am sure it wasn't in me half a minute before.I seem to know just by the shape of the creature and the way it actswhat animal it is.
When the dodo came along he thought it was a wildcat--I saw it in hiseye. But I saved him. And I was careful not to do it in a way thatcould hurt his pride. I just spoke up in a quite natural way ofpleasing surprise, and not as if I was dreaming of conveyinginformation, and said, "Well, I do declare, if there isn't the dodo!" Iexplained--without seeming to be explaining--how I know it for a dodo,and although I thought maybe he was a little piqued that I knew thecreature when he didn't, it was quite evident that he admired me. Thatwas very agreeable, and I thought of it more than once withgratification before I slept. How little a thing can make us happy whenwe feel that we have earned it!
THURSDAY.--my first sorrow. Yesterday he avoided me and seemed to wishI would not talk to him. I could not believe it, and thought there wassome mistake, for I loved to be with him, and loved to hear him talk,and so how could it be that he could feel unkind toward me when I hadnot done anything? But at last it seemed true, so I went away and satlonely in the place where I first saw him the morning that we were madeand I did not know what he was and was indifferent about him; but now itwas a mournful place, and every little thing spoke of him, and my heartwas very sore. I did not know why very clearly, for it was a newfeeling; I had not experienced it before, and it was all a mystery, andI could not make it out.
But when night came I could not bear the lonesomeness, and went to thenew shelter which he has built, to ask him what I had done that waswrong and how I could mend it and get back his kindness again; but heput me out in the rain, and it was my first sorrow.
SUNDAY.--It is pleasant again, now, and I am happy; but those were heavydays; I do not think of them when I can help it.
I tried to get him some of those apples, but I cannot learn to throwstraight. I failed, but I think the good intention pleased him. Theyare forbidden, and he says I shall come to harm; but so I come to harmthrough pleasing him, why shall I care for that harm?
MONDAY.--This morning I told him my name, hoping it would interest him.But he did not care for it. It is strange. If he should tell me hisname, I would care. I think it would be pleasanter in my ears than anyother sound.
He talks very little. Perhaps it is because he is not bright, and issensitive about it and wishes to conceal it. It is such a pity that heshould feel so, for brightness is nothing; it is in the heart that thevalues lie. I wish I could make him understand that a loving good heartis riches, and riches enough, and that without it intellect is poverty.
Although he talks so little, he has quite a considerable vocabulary.This morning he used a surprisingly good word. He evidently recognized,himself, that it was a good one, for he worked it in twice afterward,casually. It was good casual art, still it showed that he possesses acertain quality of perception. Without a doubt that seed can be made togrow, if cultivated.
Where did he get that word? I do not think I have ever used it.
No, he took no interest in my name. I tried to hide my disappointment,but I suppose I did not succeed. I went away and sat on the moss-bankwith my feet in the water. It is where I go when I hunger forcompanionship, some one to look at, some one to talk to. It is notenough--that lovely white body painted there in the pool--but it issomething, and something is better than utter loneliness. It talks whenI talk; it is sad when I am sad; it comforts me with its sympathy; itsays, "Do not be downhearted, you poor friendless girl; I will be yourfriend." It IS a good friend to me, and my only one; it is my sister.
That first time that she forsook me! ah, I shall never forget that--never, never. My heart was lead in my body! I said, "She was all Ihad, and now she is gone!" In my despair I said, "Break, my heart; Icannot bear my life any more!" and hid my face in my hands, and therewas no solace for me. And when I took them away, after a little, thereshe was again, white and shining and beautiful, and I sprang into herarms!
That was perfect happiness; I had known happiness before, but it was notlike this, which was ecstasy. I never doubted her afterward. Sometimesshe stayed away--maybe an hour, maybe almost the whole day, but I waitedand did not doubt; I said, "She is busy, or she is gone on a journey,but she will come." And it was so: she always did. At night she wouldnot come if it was dark, for she was a timid little thing; but if therewas a moon she would come. I am not afraid of the dark, but she isyounger than I am; she was born after I was. Many and many are thevisits I have paid her; she is my comfort and my refuge when my life ishard--and it is mainly that.
TUESDAY.--All the morning I was at work improving the estate; and Ipurposely kept away from him in the hope that he would get lonely andcome. But he did not.
At noon I stopped for the day and took my recreation by flitting allabout with the bees and the butterflies and reveling in the flowers,those beautiful creatures that catch the smile of God out of the sky andpreserve it! I gathered them, and made them into wreaths and garlandsand clothed myself in them while I ate my luncheon--apples, of course;then I sat in the shade and wished and waited. But he did not come.
But no matter. Nothing would have come of it, for he does not care forflowers. He called them rubbish, and cannot tell one from another, andthinks it is superior to feel like that. He does not care for me, hedoes not care for flowers, he does not care for the painted sky ateventide--is there anything he does care for, except building shacks tocoop himself up in from the good clean rain, and thumping the melons,and sampling the grapes, and fingering the fruit on the trees, to seehow those properties are coming along?
I laid a dry stick on the ground and tried to bore a hole in it withanother one, in order to carry out a scheme that I had, and soon I gotan awful fright. A thin, transparent bluish film rose out of the hole,and I dropped everything and ran! I thought it was a spirit, and I WASso frightened! But I looked back, and it was not coming; so I leanedagainst a rock and rested and panted, and let my limbs go on tremblinguntil they got steady again; then I crept warily back, alert, watching,and ready to fly if there was occasion; and when I was come near, Iparted the branches of a rose-bush and peeped through--wishing the manwas about, I was looking so cunning and pretty--but the sprite was gone.I went there, and there was a pinch of delicate pink dust in the hole. Iput my finger in, to feel it, and said OUCH! and took it out again. Itwas a cruel pain. I put my finger in my mouth; and by standing first onone foot and then the other, and grunting, I presently eased my misery;then I was full of interest, and began to examine.
I was curious to know what the pink dust was. Suddenly the name of itoccurred to me, though I had never heard of it before. It was FIRE! Iwas as certain of it as a person could be of anything in the world. Sowithout hesitation I named it that--fire.
I had created something that didn't exist before; I had added a newthing to the world's uncountable properties; I realized this, and wasproud of my achievement, and was going to run and f
So I sighed, and did not go. For it wasn't good for anything; it couldnot build a shack, it could not improve melons, it could not hurry afruit crop; it was useless, it was a foolishness and a vanity; he woulddespise it and say cutting words. But to me it was not despicable; Isaid, "Oh, you fire, I love you, you dainty pink creature, for you areBEAUTIFUL--and that is enough!" and was going to gather it to my breast.But refrained. Then I made another maxim out of my head, though it wasso nearly like the first one that I was afraid it was only a plagiarism:"THE BURNT EXPERIMENT SHUNS THE FIRE."
I wrought again; and when I had made a good deal of fire-dust I emptiedit into a handful of dry brown grass, intending to carry it home andkeep it always and play with it; but the wind struck it and it sprayedup and spat out at me fiercely, and I dropped it and ran. When I lookedback the blue spirit was towering up and stretching and rolling awaylike a cloud, and instantly I thought of the name of it--SMOKE!--though,upon my word, I had never heard of smoke before.
Soon brilliant yellow and red flares shot up through the smoke, and Inamed them in an instant--FLAMES--and I was right, too, though thesewere the very first flames that had ever been in the world. Theyclimbed the trees, then flashed splendidly in and out of the vast andincreasing volume of tumbling smoke, and I had to clap my hands andlaugh and dance in my rapture, it was so new and strange and sowonderful and so beautiful!