The Golden Arm
by Mark Twain
Once 'pon a time dey wuz a monsus mean man, en he live 'way out in
de prairie all 'lone by hisself, 'cep'n he had a wife. En bimeby she
died, en he tuck en toted her way out dah in de prairie en buried her.
Well, she had a golden arm--all solid gold, fum de shoulder down. He
wuz pow'ful mean--pow'ful; en dat night he couldn't sleep, Gaze he
want dat golden arm so bad.
When it come midnight he couldn't stan' it no mo'; so he git up, he
did, en tuck his lantern en shoved out thoo de storm en dug her up en
got de golden arm; en he bent his head down 'gin de win', en plowed en
plowed en plowed thoo de snow. Den all on a sudden he stop (make a
considerable pause here, and look startled, and take a listening
attitude) en say: "My LAN', what's dat!"
En he listen--en listen--en de win' say (set your teeth together
and imitate the wailing and wheezing singsong of the wind),
"Bzzz-z-zzz"--- en den, way back yonder whah de grave is, he hear a
voice! he hear a voice all mix' up in de win' can't hardly tell 'em
'part--" Bzzz-zzz-- W-h-o--g-o-t--m-y--g-o-l-d-e-n arm? --zzz--zzz--
W-h-o g-o-t m-y g-o-l- d-e-n arm!" (You must begin to shiver violently
En he begin to shiver en shake, en say, "Oh, my! OH, my lan'! "en
de win' blow de lantern out, en de snow en sleet blow in his face en
mos' choke him, en he start a-plowin' knee-deep towards home mos'
dead, he so sk'yerd--en pooty soon he hear de voice agin, en (pause)
it 'us comin' after him! "Bzzz--zzz--zzz--W-h-o--g-o-t
When he git to de pasture he hear it agin closter now, en
a-comin'!-- a-comin' back dah in de dark en de storm--(repeat the wind
and the voice). When he git to de house he rush up-stairs en jump in
de bed en kiver up, head and years, en lay dah shiverin' en
shakin'--en den way out dah he hear it agin! --en a-comin'! En bimeby
he hear (pause--awed, listening attitude)--pat--pat--pat --hit's
acomin' up-stairs! Den he hear de latch, en he know it's in de room!
Den pooty soon he know it's a-stannin' by de bed ! (Pause.)
Den--he know it's a-bendin' down over him--en he cain't skasely git
his breath! Den-- den--he seem to feel someth' n c-o-l-d, right down
'most agin his head! (Pause.)
Den de voice say, right at his year-- " W-h-o
g-o-t--m-y--g-o-l-d-e-n arm?" (You must wail it out very plaintively
and accusingly; then you stare steadily and impressively into the face
of the farthest-gone auditor--a girl, preferably --and let that
awe-inspiring pause begin to build itself in the deep hush. When it
has reached exactly the right length, jump suddenly at that girl and
yell, "You've got it!"
If you've got the pause right, she'll fetch a dear little yelp and
spring right out of her shoes. But you must get the pause right; and
you will find it the most troublesome and aggravating and uncertain
thing you ever undertook.