A monologue from the book by Mark Twain

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson And The Comedy Of Those Extraordinary Twins. Mark Twain. Hartford: American Publishing Co., 1894.
  • ANGELO: I keep that weapon yet--that Luigi killed the man with, and I'll show it to you sometime. That incident makes it interesting, and it had a history before it came into Luigi's hands which adds to its interest. It was given to Luigi by a great Indian prince, the Gaikowar of Baroda, and it had been in his family two or three centuries. It killed a good many disagreeable people who troubled the hearthstone at one time or another. It isn't much too look at, except it isn't shaped like other knives, or dirks, or whatever it may be called--here, I'll draw it for you. [He takes a sheet of paper and makes a rapid sketch.] There it is--a broad and murderous blade, with edges like a razor for sharpness. The devices engraved on it are the ciphers or names of its long line of possessors--I had Luigi's name added in Roman letters myself with our coat of arms, as you see. You notice what a curious handle the thing has. It is solid ivory, polished like a mirror, and is four or five inches long--round, and as thick as a large man's wrist, with the end squared off flat, for your thumb to rest on; for you grasp it, with your thumb resting on the blunt end--so--and lift it along and strike downward. The Gaikowar showed us how the thing was done when he gave it to Luigi, and before that night was ended, Luigi had used the knife, and the Gaikowar was a man short by reason of it. He did it to save my life, that's what he did it for. A native servant slipped into our room in the palace in the night, to kill us and steal the knife on account of the fortune encrusted on its sheath, without a doubt. Luigi had it under his pillow; we were in bed together. There was a dim night-light burning. I was asleep, but Luigi was awake, and he thought he detected a vague form nearing the bed. He slipped the knife out of the sheath and was ready and unembarrassed by hampering bedclothes, for the weather was hot and we hadn't any. Suddenly that native rose at the bedside, and bent over me with his right hand lifted and a dirk in it aimed at my throat; but Luigi grabbed his wrist, pulled him downward, and drove his own knife into the man's neck. That is the whole story.