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Mark Twain > Those Extraordinary Twins > Chapter X

Those Extraordinary Twins

Chapter X


SO THEY HANGED LUIGI

Dawson's Landing had a week of repose, after the election, and it needed
it, for the frantic and variegated nightmare which had tormented it all
through the preceding week had left it limp, haggard, and exhausted at
the end. It got the week of repose because Angelo had the legs, and was
in too subdued a condition to want to go out and mingle with an irritated
community that had come to disgust and detest him because there was such
a lack of harmony between his morals, which were confessedly excellent,
and his methods of illustrating them, which were distinctly damnable.
The new city officers were sworn in on the following Monday--at least all
but Luigi. There was a complication in his case. His election was
conceded, but he could not sit in the board of aldermen without his
brother, and his brother could not sit there because he was not a member.
There seemed to be no way out of the difficulty but to carry the matter
into the courts, so this was resolved upon.

The case was set for the Monday fortnight. In due course the time
arrived. In the mean time the city government had been at a standstill,
because with out Luigi there was a tie in the board of aldermen, whereas
with him the liquor interest--the richest in the political field--would
have one majority. But the court decided that Angelo could not sit in
the board with him, either in public or executive sessions, and at the
same time forbade the board to deny admission to Luigi, a fairly and
legally chosen alderman. The case was carried up and up from court to
court, yet still the same old original decision was confirmed every time.
As a result, the city government not only stood still, with its hands
tied, but everything it was created to protect and care for went a steady
gait toward rack and ruin. There was no way to levy a tax, so the minor
officials had to resign or starve; therefore they resigned. There being
no city money, the enormous legal expenses on both sides had to be
defrayed by private subscription. But at last the people came to their
senses, and said:

"Pudd'nhead was right at the start--we ought to have hired the official
half of that human phillipene to resign; but it's too late now; some of
us haven't got anything left to hire him with."

"Yes, we have," said another citizen, "we've got this"--and he produced a
halter.

Many shouted: "That's the ticket." But others said: "No--Count Angelo is
innocent; we mustn't hang him."

"Who said anything about hanging him? We are only going to hang the
other one."

"Then that is all right--there is no objection to that."

So they hanged Luigi. And so ends the history of "Those Extraordinary
Twins."

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