Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain | Full Audiobook | Part 1

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain Notice Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot By order of the Author Per G.G. Chief of Ordnance EXPLANATORY In this book a number of dialects are used, to wit: the Missouri negro dialect; the extremest form of the backwoods Southwestern dialect; the ordinary “Pike County” dialect; and four modified varieties of this last The shadings have not been done in a haphazard fashion, or by guesswork; but painstakingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech I make this explanation for the reason that without it many readers would suppose that all these characters were trying to talk alike and not succeeding Huckleberry Finn Scene: The Mississippi Valley Time: Forty to fifty years ago CHAPTER I YOU don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth. That is nothing I never seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary Aunt Polly—Tom’s Aunt Polly, she is—and Mary, and the Widow Douglas is all told about in that book, which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as I said before Now the way that the book winds up is this: Tom and me found the money that the robbers hid in the cave, and it made us rich We got six thousand dollars apiece–all gold It was an awful sight of money when it was piled up Well, Judge Thatcher he took it and put it out at interest, and it fetched us a dollar a day apiece all the year round–more than a body could tell what to do with The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn’t stand it no longer I lit out I got into my old rags and my sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied But Tom Sawyer he hunted me up and said he was going to start a band of robbers, and I might join if I would go back to the widow and be respectable So I went back The widow she cried over me, and called me a poor lost lamb, and she called me a lot of other names, too, but she never meant no harm by it She put me in them new clothes again, and I couldn’t do nothing but sweat and sweat, and feel all cramped up Well, then, the old thing commenced again The widow rung a bell for supper, and you had to come to time When you got to the table you couldn’t go right to eating, but you had to wait for the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little over the victuals, though there warn’t really anything the matter with them,–that is, nothing only everything was cooked by itself In a barrel of odds and ends it is different; things get mixed up, and the juice kind of swaps around, and the things go better After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I didn’t care no more about him, because I don’t take no stock in

dead people Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked the widow to let me But she wouldn’t She said it was a mean practice and wasn’t clean, and I must try to not do it any more That is just the way with some people They get down on a thing when they don’t know nothing about it Here she was a-bothering about Moses, which was no kin to her, and no use to anybody, being gone, you see, yet finding a power of fault with me for doing a thing that had some good in it And she took snuff, too; of course that was all right, because she done it herself Her sister, Miss Watson, a tolerable slim old maid, with goggles on, had just come to live with her, and took a set at me now with a spelling-book She worked me middling hard for about an hour, and then the widow made her ease up I couldn’t stood it much longer Then for an hour it was deadly dull, and I was fidgety Miss Watson would say, “Don’t put your feet up there, Huckleberry;” and “Don’t scrunch up like that, Huckleberry–set up straight;” and pretty soon she would say, “Don’t gap and stretch like that, Huckleberry–why don’t you try to behave?” Then she told me all about the bad place, and I said I wished I was there She got mad then, but I didn’t mean no harm All I wanted was to go somewheres; all I wanted was a change, I warn’t particular She said it was wicked to say what I said; said she wouldn’t say it for the whole world; she was going to live so as to go to the good place Well, I couldn’t see no advantage in going where she was going, so I made up my mind I wouldn’t try for it But I never said so, because it would only make trouble, and wouldn’t do no good Now she had got a start, and she went on and told me all about the good place She said all a body would have to do there was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever So I didn’t think much of it But I never said so I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she said not by a considerable sight I was glad about that, because I wanted him and me to be together Miss Watson she kept pecking at me, and it got tiresome and lonesome By and by they fetched the niggers in and had prayers, and then everybody was off to bed I went up to my room with a piece of candle, and put it on the table Then I set down in a chair by the window and tried to think of something cheerful, but it warn’t no use I felt so lonesome I most wished I was dead The stars were shining, and the leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and I heard an owl, away off, who-whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog crying about somebody that was going to die; and the wind was trying to whisper something to me, and I couldn’t make out what it was, and so it made the cold shivers run over me Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that’s on its mind and can’t make itself understood, and so can’t rest easy in its grave, and has to go about that way every night grieving I got so down-hearted and scared I did wish I had some company Pretty soon a spider went crawling up my shoulder, and I flipped it off and it lit in the candle; and before I could budge it was all shriveled up I didn’t need anybody to tell me that that was an awful bad sign and would fetch me some bad luck, so I was scared and most shook the clothes off of me I got up and turned around in my tracks three times and crossed my breast every time; and then I tied up a little lock of my hair with a thread to keep witches away But I hadn’t no confidence You do that when you’ve lost a horseshoe that you’ve found, instead of nailing it up over the door, but I hadn’t ever heard anybody say it was any way to keep off bad luck when you’d killed a spider I set down again, a-shaking all over, and got out my pipe for a smoke; for the house was all as still as death now, and so the widow wouldn’t know Well, after a long time I heard the clock away off in the town

go boom–boom–boom–twelve licks; and all still again–stiller than ever Pretty soon I heard a twig snap down in the dark amongst the trees–something was a stirring I set still and listened Directly I could just barely hear a “me-yow! me-yow!” down there That was good! Says I, “me-yow! me-yow!” as soft as I could, and then I put out the light and scrambled out of the window on to the shed Then I slipped down to the ground and crawled in among the trees, and, sure enough, there was Tom Sawyer waiting for me CHAPTER II WE went tiptoeing along a path amongst the trees back towards the end of the widow’s garden, stooping down so as the branches wouldn’t scrape our heads When we was passing by the kitchen I fell over a root and made a noise We scrouched down and laid still Miss Watson’s big nigger, named Jim, was setting in the kitchen door; we could see him pretty clear, because there was a light behind him He got up and stretched his neck out about a minute, listening Then he says: “Who dah?” He listened some more; then he come tiptoeing down and stood right between us; we could a touched him, nearly Well, likely it was minutes and minutes that there warn’t a sound, and we all there so close together There was a place on my ankle that got to itching, but I dasn’t scratch it; and then my ear begun to itch; and next my back, right between my shoulders Seemed like I’d die if I couldn’t scratch Well, I’ve noticed that thing plenty times since If you are with the quality, or at a funeral, or trying to go to sleep when you ain’t sleepy–if you are anywheres where it won’t do for you to scratch, why you will itch all over in upwards of a thousand places Pretty soon Jim says: “Say, who is you? Whar is you? Dog my cats ef I didn’ hear sumf’n Well, I know what I’s gwyne to do: I’s gwyne to set down here and listen tell I hears it agin.” So he set down on the ground betwixt me and Tom He leaned his back up against a tree, and stretched his legs out till one of them most touched one of mine My nose begun to itch It itched till the tears come into my eyes But I dasn’t scratch Then it begun to itch on the inside Next I got to itching underneath I didn’t know how I was going to set still This miserableness went on as much as six or seven minutes; but it seemed a sight longer than that I was itching in eleven different places now I reckoned I couldn’t stand it more’n a minute longer, but I set my teeth hard and got ready to try Just then Jim begun to breathe heavy; next he begun to snore–and then I was pretty soon comfortable again Tom he made a sign to me–kind of a little noise with his mouth–and we went creeping away on our hands and knees When we was ten foot off Tom whispered to me, and wanted to tie Jim to the tree for fun But I said no; he might wake and make a disturbance, and then they’d find out I warn’t in Then Tom said he hadn’t got candles enough, and he would slip in the kitchen and get some more I didn’t want him to try I said Jim might wake up and come But Tom wanted to resk it; so we slid in there and got three candles, and Tom laid five cents on the table for pay Then we got out, and I was in a sweat to get away; but nothing would do Tom but he must crawl to where Jim was, on his hands and knees, and play something on him I waited, and it seemed a good while, everything was

so still and lonesome As soon as Tom was back we cut along the path, around the garden fence, and by and by fetched up on the steep top of the hill the other side of the house Tom said he slipped Jim’s hat off of his head and hung it on a limb right over him, and Jim stirred a little, but he didn’t wake Afterwards Jim said the witches be witched him and put him in a trance, and rode him all over the State, and then set him under the trees again, and hung his hat on a limb to show who done it And next time Jim told it he said they rode him down to New Orleans; and, after that, every time he told it he spread it more and more, till by and by he said they rode him all over the world, and tired him most to death, and his back was all over saddle-boils Jim was monstrous proud about it, and he got so he wouldn’t hardly notice the other niggers Niggers would come miles to hear Jim tell about it, and he was more looked up to than any nigger in that country Strange niggers would stand with their mouths open and look him all over, same as if he was a wonder Niggers is always talking about witches in the dark by the kitchen fire; but whenever one was talking and letting on to know all about such things, Jim would happen in and say, “Hm! What you know ’bout witches?” and that nigger was corked up and had to take a back seat Jim always kept that five-center piece round his neck with a string, and said it was a charm the devil give to him with his own hands, and told him he could cure anybody with it and fetch witches whenever he wanted to just by saying something to it; but he never told what it was he said to it Niggers would come from all around there and give Jim anything they had, just for a sight of that five-center piece; but they wouldn’t touch it, because the devil had had his hands on it Jim was most ruined for a servant, because he got stuck up on account of having seen the devil and been rode by witches Well, when Tom and me got to the edge of the hilltop we looked away down into the village and could see three or four lights twinkling, where there was sick folks, maybe; and the stars over us was sparkling ever so fine; and down by the village was the river, a whole mile broad, and awful still and grand We went down the hill and found Jo Harper and Ben Rogers, and two or three more of the boys, hid in the old tanyard So we unhitched a skiff and pulled down the river two mile and a half, to the big scar on the hillside, and went ashore We went to a clump of bushes, and Tom made everybody swear to keep the secret, and then showed them a hole in the hill, right in the thickest part of the bushes Then we lit the candles, and crawled in on our hands and knees We went about two hundred yards, and then the cave opened up Tom poked about amongst the passages, and pretty soon ducked under a wall where you wouldn’t a noticed that there was a hole We went along a narrow place and got into a kind of room, all damp and sweaty and cold, and there we stopped Tom says: “Now, we’ll start this band of robbers and call it Tom Sawyer’s Gang Everybody that wants to join has got to take an oath, and write his name in blood.” Everybody was willing So Tom got out a sheet of paper that he had wrote the oath on, and read it It swore every boy to stick to the band, and never tell any of the secrets; and if anybody done anything to any boy in the band, whichever boy was ordered to kill that person and his family must do it, and he mustn’t eat and he mustn’t sleep till he had killed them and hacked a cross in their breasts, which was the sign of the band And nobody that didn’t belong to the band could use that mark, and if he did he must be sued; and if he done it again he must be killed And if anybody that belonged to the band told the secrets, he must have his throat cut, and then have his carcass burnt up and the ashes scattered all around, and his name blotted off of the list with blood and never mentioned again by the gang, but have a curse put on it and be forgot forever Everybody said it was a real beautiful oath, and asked Tom if he got

it out of his own head He said, some of it, but the rest was out of pirate-books and robber-books, and every gang that was high-toned had it Some thought it would be good to kill the _families_ of boys that told the secrets Tom said it was a good idea, so he took a pencil and wrote it in Then Ben Rogers says: “Here’s Huck Finn, he hain’t got no family; what you going to do ’bout him?” “Well, hain’t he got a father?” says Tom Sawyer “Yes, he’s got a father, but you can’t never find him these days He used to lay drunk with the hogs in the tanyard, but he hain’t been seen in these parts for a year or more.” They talked it over, and they was going to rule me out, because they said every boy must have a family or somebody to kill, or else it wouldn’t be fair and square for the others Well, nobody could think of anything to do–everybody was stumped, and set still I was most ready to cry; but all at once I thought of a way, and so I offered them Miss Watson–they could kill her Everybody said: “Oh, she’ll do That’s all right Huck can come in.” Then they all stuck a pin in their fingers to get blood to sign with, and I made my mark on the paper “Now,” says Ben Rogers, “what’s the line of business of this Gang?” “Nothing only robbery and murder,” Tom said “But who are we going to rob?–houses, or cattle, or–” “Stuff! stealing cattle and such things ain’t robbery; it’s burglary,” says Tom Sawyer “We ain’t burglars That ain’t no sort of style We are highwaymen We stop stages and carriages on the road, with masks on, and kill the people and take their watches and money.” “Must we always kill the people?” “Oh, certainly It’s best Some authorities think different, but mostly it’s considered best to kill them–except some that you bring to the cave here, and keep them till they’re ransomed.” “Ransomed? What’s that?” “I don’t know But that’s what they do I’ve seen it in books; and so of course that’s what we’ve got to do.” “But how can we do it if we don’t know what it is?” “Why, blame it all, we’ve _got_ to do it Don’t I tell you it’s in the books? Do you want to go to doing different from what’s in the books, and get things all muddled up?” “Oh, that’s all very fine to _say_, Tom Sawyer, but how in the nation are these fellows going to be ransomed if we don’t know how to do it to them?–that’s the thing I want to get at Now, what do you reckon it is?” “Well, I don’t know But per’aps if we keep them till they’re ransomed, it means that we keep them till they’re dead.” “Now, that’s something _like_ That’ll answer Why couldn’t you said that before? We’ll keep them till they’re ransomed to death; and a bothersome lot they’ll be, too–eating up everything, and always trying to get loose.” “How you talk, Ben Rogers How can they get loose when there’s a guard over them, ready to shoot them down if they move a peg?” “A guard! Well, that _is_ good So somebody’s got to set up all night and never get any sleep, just so as to watch them I think that’s foolishness Why can’t a body take a club and ransom them as soon as they get here?” “Because it ain’t in the books so–that’s why Now, Ben Rogers, do you want to do things regular, or don’t you?–that’s the idea Don’t you reckon that the people that made the books knows what’s the correct thing to do? Do you reckon _you_ can learn ’em anything? Not by a good deal No, sir, we’ll just go on and ransom them in the regular way.” “All right I don’t mind; but I say it’s a fool way, anyhow Say, do we kill the women, too?” “Well, Ben Rogers, if I was as ignorant as you I wouldn’t let on Kill the women? No; nobody ever saw anything in the books like that You fetch them to the cave, and you’re always as polite as pie to them; and by and by they fall in love with you, and never want to go home any more.” “Well, if that’s the way I’m agreed, but I don’t take no stock in it Mighty soon we’ll have the cave so cluttered up with women, and fellows waiting to be ransomed, that there won’t be no place for the robbers But go ahead, I ain’t got nothing to say.” Little Tommy Barnes was asleep now, and when they waked him up he was

scared, and cried, and said he wanted to go home to his ma, and didn’t want to be a robber any more So they all made fun of him, and called him cry-baby, and that made him mad, and he said he would go straight and tell all the secrets But Tom give him five cents to keep quiet, and said we would all go home and meet next week, and rob somebody and kill some people Ben Rogers said he couldn’t get out much, only Sundays, and so he wanted to begin next Sunday; but all the boys said it would be wicked to do it on Sunday, and that settled the thing They agreed to get together and fix a day as soon as they could, and then we elected Tom Sawyer first captain and Jo Harper second captain of the Gang, and so started home I clumb up the shed and crept into my window just before day was breaking My new clothes was all greased up and clayey, and I was dog-tired CHAPTER III WELL, I got a good going-over in the morning from old Miss Watson on account of my clothes; but the widow she didn’t scold, but only cleaned off the grease and clay, and looked so sorry that I thought I would behave awhile if I could Then Miss Watson she took me in the closet and prayed, but nothing come of it She told me to pray every day, and whatever I asked for I would get it But it warn’t so I tried it Once I got a fish-line, but no hooks It warn’t any good to me without hooks I tried for the hooks three or four times, but somehow I couldn’t make it work By and by, one day, I asked Miss Watson to try for me, but she said I was a fool She never told me why, and I couldn’t make it out no way I set down one time back in the woods, and had a long think about it I says to myself, if a body can get anything they pray for, why don’t Deacon Winn get back the money he lost on pork? Why can’t the widow get back her silver snuffbox that was stole? Why can’t Miss Watson fat up? No, says I to my self, there ain’t nothing in it I went and told the widow about it, and she said the thing a body could get by praying for it was “spiritual gifts.” This was too many for me, but she told me what she meant–I must help other people, and do everything I could for other people, and look out for them all the time, and never think about myself This was including Miss Watson, as I took it I went out in the woods and turned it over in my mind a long time, but I couldn’t see no advantage about it–except for the other people; so at last I reckoned I wouldn’t worry about it any more, but just let it go Sometimes the widow would take me one side and talk about Providence in a way to make a body’s mouth water; but maybe next day Miss Watson would take hold and knock it all down again I judged I could see that there was two Providences, and a poor chap would stand considerable show with the widow’s Providence, but if Miss Watson’s got him there warn’t no help for him any more I thought it all out, and reckoned I would belong to the widow’s if he wanted me, though I couldn’t make out how he was a-going to be any better off then than what he was before, seeing I was so ignorant, and so kind of low-down and ornery Pap he hadn’t been seen for more than a year, and that was comfortable for me; I didn’t want to see him no more He used to always whale me when he was sober and could get his hands on me; though I used to take to the woods most of the time when he was around Well, about this time he was found in the river drownded, about twelve mile above town, so people said They judged it was him, anyway; said this drownded man was just his size, and was ragged, and had uncommon long hair, which was all

like pap; but they couldn’t make nothing out of the face, because it had been in the water so long it warn’t much like a face at all They said he was floating on his back in the water They took him and buried him on the bank But I warn’t comfortable long, because I happened to think of something I knowed mighty well that a drownded man don’t float on his back, but on his face So I knowed, then, that this warn’t pap, but a woman dressed up in a man’s clothes So I was uncomfortable again I judged the old man would turn up again by and by, though I wished he wouldn’t We played robber now and then about a month, and then I resigned All the boys did We hadn’t robbed nobody, hadn’t killed any people, but only just pretended We used to hop out of the woods and go charging down on hog-drivers and women in carts taking garden stuff to market, but we never hived any of them Tom Sawyer called the hogs “ingots,” and he called the turnips and stuff “julery,” and we would go to the cave and powwow over what we had done, and how many people we had killed and marked But I couldn’t see no profit in it One time Tom sent a boy to run about town with a blazing stick, which he called a slogan (which was the sign for the Gang to get together), and then he said he had got secret news by his spies that next day a whole parcel of Spanish merchants and rich A-rabs was going to camp in Cave Hollow with two hundred elephants, and six hundred camels, and over a thousand “sumter” mules, all loaded down with di’monds, and they didn’t have only a guard of four hundred soldiers, and so we would lay in ambuscade, as he called it, and kill the lot and scoop the things He said we must slick up our swords and guns, and get ready He never could go after even a turnip-cart but he must have the swords and guns all scoured up for it, though they was only lath and broomsticks, and you might scour at them till you rotted, and then they warn’t worth a mouthful of ashes more than what they was before I didn’t believe we could lick such a crowd of Spaniards and A-rabs, but I wanted to see the camels and elephants, so I was on hand next day, Saturday, in the ambuscade; and when we got the word we rushed out of the woods and down the hill But there warn’t no Spaniards and A-rabs, and there warn’t no camels nor no elephants It warn’t anything but a Sunday-school picnic, and only a primer-class at that We busted it up, and chased the children up the hollow; but we never got anything but some doughnuts and jam, though Ben Rogers got a rag doll, and Jo Harper got a hymn-book and a tract; and then the teacher charged in, and made us drop everything and cut I didn’t see no di’monds, and I told Tom Sawyer so He said there was loads of them there, anyway; and he said there was A-rabs there, too, and elephants and things I said, why couldn’t we see them, then? He said if I warn’t so ignorant, but had read a book called Don Quixote, I would know without asking He said it was all done by enchantment He said there was hundreds of soldiers there, and elephants and treasure, and so on, but we had enemies which he called magicians; and they had turned the whole thing into an infant Sunday-school, just out of spite I said, all right; then the thing for us to do was to go for the magicians Tom Sawyer said I was a numskull “Why,” said he, “a magician could call up a lot of genies, and they would hash you up like nothing before you could say Jack Robinson They are as tall as a tree and as big around as a church.” “Well,” I says, “s’pose we got some genies to help _us_–can’t we lick the other crowd then?” “How you going to get them?” “I don’t know How do _they_ get them?” “Why, they rub an old tin lamp or an iron ring, and then the genies come tearing in, with the thunder and lightning a-ripping around and the smoke a-rolling, and everything they’re told to do they up and do it They don’t think nothing of pulling a shot-tower up by the roots, and belting a Sunday-school superintendent over the head with it–or any other man.” “Who makes them tear around so?” “Why, whoever rubs the lamp or the ring They belong to whoever rubs the lamp or the ring, and they’ve got to do

whatever he says If he tells them to build a palace forty miles long out of di’monds, and fill it full of chewing-gum, or whatever you want, and fetch an emperor’s daughter from China for you to marry, they’ve got to do it–and they’ve got to do it before sun-up next morning, too And more: they’ve got to waltz that palace around over the country wherever you want it, you understand.” “Well,” says I, “I think they are a pack of flat-heads for not keeping the palace themselves ‘stead of fooling them away like that And what’s more–if I was one of them I would see a man in Jericho before I would drop my business and come to him for the rubbing of an old tin lamp.” “How you talk, Huck Finn Why, you’d _have_ to come when he rubbed it, whether you wanted to or not.” “What! and I as high as a tree and as big as a church? All right, then; I _would_ come; but I lay I’d make that man climb the highest tree there was in the country.” “Shucks, it ain’t no use to talk to you, Huck Finn You don’t seem to know anything, somehow–perfect saphead.” I thought all this over for two or three days, and then I reckoned I would see if there was anything in it I got an old tin lamp and an iron ring, and went out in the woods and rubbed and rubbed till I sweat like an Injun, calculating to build a palace and sell it; but it warn’t no use, none of the genies come So then I judged that all that stuff was only just one of Tom Sawyer’s lies I reckoned he believed in the A-rabs and the elephants, but as for me I think different It had all the marks of a Sunday-school CHAPTER IV WELL, three or four months run along, and it was well into the winter now I had been to school most all the time and could spell and read and write just a little, and could say the multiplication table up to six times seven is thirty-five, and I don’t reckon I could ever get any further than that if I was to live forever I don’t take no stock in mathematics, anyway At first I hated the school, but by and by I got so I could stand it Whenever I got uncommon tired I played hookey, and the hiding I got next day done me good and cheered me up So the longer I went to school the easier it got to be I was getting sort of used to the widow’s ways, too, and they warn’t so raspy on me Living in a house and sleeping in a bed pulled on me pretty tight mostly, but before the cold weather I used to slide out and sleep in the woods sometimes, and so that was a rest to me I liked the old ways best, but I was getting so I liked the new ones, too, a little bit The widow said I was coming along slow but sure, and doing very satisfactory She said she warn’t ashamed of me One morning I happened to turn over the salt-cellar at breakfast I reached for some of it as quick as I could to throw over my left shoulder and keep off the bad luck, but Miss Watson was in ahead of me, and crossed me off She says, “Take your hands away, Huckleberry; what a mess you are always making!” The widow put in a good word for me, but that warn’t going to keep off the bad luck, I knowed that well enough I started out, after breakfast, feeling worried and shaky, and wondering where it was going to fall on me, and what it was going to be There is ways to keep off some kinds of bad luck, but this wasn’t one of them kind; so I never tried to do anything, but just poked along low-spirited and on the watch-out I went down to the front garden and clumb over the stile where you go through the high board fence There was an inch of new snow on the ground, and I seen somebody’s tracks They had come up from the quarry and stood around the stile a while, and then went on around the garden fence It was funny they hadn’t come in, after standing around so

I couldn’t make it out It was very curious, somehow I was going to follow around, but I stooped down to look at the tracks first I didn’t notice anything at first, but next I did There was a cross in the left boot-heel made with big nails, to keep off the devil I was up in a second and shinning down the hill I looked over my shoulder every now and then, but I didn’t see nobody I was at Judge Thatcher’s as quick as I could get there He said: “Why, my boy, you are all out of breath Did you come for your interest?” “No, sir,” I says; “is there some for me?” “Oh, yes, a half-yearly is in last night–over a hundred and fifty dollars Quite a fortune for you You had better let me invest it along with your six thousand, because if you take it you’ll spend it.” “No, sir,” I says, “I don’t want to spend it I don’t want it at all–nor the six thousand, nuther I want you to take it; I want to give it to you–the six thousand and all.” He looked surprised He couldn’t seem to make it out He says: “Why, what can you mean, my boy?” I says, “Don’t you ask me no questions about it, please You’ll take it–won’t you?” He says: “Well, I’m puzzled Is something the matter?” “Please take it,” says I, “and don’t ask me nothing–then I won’t have to tell no lies.” He studied a while, and then he says: “Oho-o! I think I see You want to _sell_ all your property to me–not give it That’s the correct idea.” Then he wrote something on a paper and read it over, and says: “There; you see it says ‘for a consideration.’ That means I have bought it of you and paid you for it Here’s a dollar for you Now you sign it.” So I signed it, and left Miss Watson’s nigger, Jim, had a hair-ball as big as your fist, which had been took out of the fourth stomach of an ox, and he used to do magic with it He said there was a spirit inside of it, and it knowed everything So I went to him that night and told him pap was here again, for I found his tracks in the snow What I wanted to know was, what he was going to do, and was he going to stay? Jim got out his hair-ball and said something over it, and then he held it up and dropped it on the floor It fell pretty solid, and only rolled about an inch Jim tried it again, and then another time, and it acted just the same Jim got down on his knees, and put his ear against it and listened But it warn’t no use; he said it wouldn’t talk He said sometimes it wouldn’t talk without money I told him I had an old slick counterfeit quarter that warn’t no good because the brass showed through the silver a little, and it wouldn’t pass nohow, even if the brass didn’t show, because it was so slick it felt greasy, and so that would tell on it every time (I reckoned I wouldn’t say nothing about the dollar I got from the judge.) I said it was pretty bad money, but maybe the hair-ball would take it, because maybe it wouldn’t know the difference Jim smelt it and bit it and rubbed it, and said he would manage so the hair-ball would think it was good He said he would split open a raw Irish potato and stick the quarter in between and keep it there all night, and next morning you couldn’t see no brass, and it wouldn’t feel greasy no more, and so anybody in town would take it in a minute, let alone a hair-ball Well, I knowed a potato would do that before, but I had forgot it Jim put the quarter under the hair-ball, and got down and listened again This time he said the hair-ball was all right He said it would tell my whole fortune if I wanted it to I says, go on So the hair-ball talked to Jim, and Jim told it to me He says: “Yo’ ole father doan’ know yit what he’s a-gwyne to do Sometimes he spec he’ll go ‘way, en den agin he spec he’ll stay De bes’ way is to res’ easy en let de ole man take his own way Dey’s two angels hoverin’ roun’ ’bout him One uv ’em is white en shiny, en t’other one is black De white one gits him to go right a little while, den de black one sail in en bust it all up A body can’t tell yit which one gwyne to fetch him at de las’

But you is all right You gwyne to have considable trouble in yo’ life, en considable joy Sometimes you gwyne to git hurt, en sometimes you gwyne to git sick; but every time you’s gwyne to git well agin Dey’s two gals flyin’ ’bout you in yo’ life One uv ’em’s light en t’other one is dark One is rich en t’other is po’ You’s gwyne to marry de po’ one fust en de rich one by en by You wants to keep ‘way fum de water as much as you kin, en don’t run no resk, ‘kase it’s down in de bills dat you’s gwyne to git hung.” When I lit my candle and went up to my room that night there sat pap his own self! CHAPTER V I had shut the door to Then I turned around and there he was I used to be scared of him all the time, he tanned me so much I reckoned I was scared now, too; but in a minute I see I was mistaken–that is, after the first jolt, as you may say, when my breath sort of hitched, he being so unexpected; but right away after I see I warn’t scared of him worth bothring about He was most fifty, and he looked it His hair was long and tangled and greasy, and hung down, and you could see his eyes shining through like he was behind vines It was all black, no gray; so was his long, mixed-up whiskers There warn’t no color in his face, where his face showed; it was white; not like another man’s white, but a white to make a body sick, a white to make a body’s flesh crawl–a tree-toad white, a fish-belly white As for his clothes–just rags, that was all He had one ankle resting on t’other knee; the boot on that foot was busted, and two of his toes stuck through, and he worked them now and then His hat was laying on the floor–an old black slouch with the top caved in, like a lid I stood a-looking at him; he set there a-looking at me, with his chair tilted back a little I set the candle down I noticed the window was up; so he had clumb in by the shed He kept a-looking me all over By and by he says: “Starchy clothes–very You think you’re a good deal of a big-bug, _don’t_ you?” “Maybe I am, maybe I ain’t,” I says “Don’t you give me none o’ your lip,” says he “You’ve put on considerable many frills since I been away I’ll take you down a peg before I get done with you You’re educated, too, they say–can read and write You think you’re better’n your father, now, don’t you, because he can’t? _I’ll_ take it out of you Who told you you might meddle with such hifalut’n foolishness, hey?–who told you you could?” “The widow She told me.” “The widow, hey?–and who told the widow she could put in her shovel about a thing that ain’t none of her business?” “Nobody never told her.” “Well, I’ll learn her how to meddle And looky here–you drop that school, you hear? I’ll learn people to bring up a boy to put on airs over his own father and let on to be better’n what _he_ is You lemme catch you fooling around that school again, you hear? Your mother couldn’t read, and she couldn’t write, nuther, before she died None of the family couldn’t before _they_ died I can’t; and here you’re a-swelling yourself up like this I ain’t the man to stand it–you hear? Say, lemme hear you read.” I took up a book and begun something about General Washington and the wars When I’d read about a half a minute, he fetched the book a whack with his hand and knocked it across the house He says: “It’s so You can do it I had my doubts when you told me Now looky here; you stop that putting on frills

I won’t have it I’ll lay for you, my smarty; and if I catch you about that school I’ll tan you good First you know you’ll get religion, too I never see such a son.” He took up a little blue and yaller picture of some cows and a boy, and says: “What’s this?” “It’s something they give me for learning my lessons good.” He tore it up, and says: “I’ll give you something better–I’ll give you a cowhide.” He set there a-mumbling and a-growling a minute, and then he says: “_Ain’t_ you a sweet-scented dandy, though? A bed; and bedclothes; and a look’n’-glass; and a piece of carpet on the floor–and your own father got to sleep with the hogs in the tanyard I never see such a son I bet I’ll take some o’ these frills out o’ you before I’m done with you Why, there ain’t no end to your airs–they say you’re rich Hey?–how’s that?” “They lie–that’s how.” “Looky here–mind how you talk to me; I’m a-standing about all I can stand now–so don’t gimme no sass I’ve been in town two days, and I hain’t heard nothing but about you bein’ rich I heard about it away down the river, too That’s why I come You git me that money to-morrow–I want it.” “I hain’t got no money.” “It’s a lie Judge Thatcher’s got it You git it I want it.” “I hain’t got no money, I tell you You ask Judge Thatcher; he’ll tell you the same.” “All right I’ll ask him; and I’ll make him pungle, too, or I’ll know the reason why Say, how much you got in your pocket? I want it.” “I hain’t got only a dollar, and I want that to–” “It don’t make no difference what you want it for–you just shell it out.” He took it and bit it to see if it was good, and then he said he was going down town to get some whisky; said he hadn’t had a drink all day When he had got out on the shed he put his head in again, and cussed me for putting on frills and trying to be better than him; and when I reckoned he was gone he come back and put his head in again, and told me to mind about that school, because he was going to lay for me and lick me if I didn’t drop that Next day he was drunk, and he went to Judge Thatcher’s and bullyragged him, and tried to make him give up the money; but he couldn’t, and then he swore he’d make the law force him The judge and the widow went to law to get the court to take me away from him and let one of them be my guardian; but it was a new judge that had just come, and he didn’t know the old man; so he said courts mustn’t interfere and separate families if they could help it; said he’d druther not take a child away from its father So Judge Thatcher and the widow had to quit on the business That pleased the old man till he couldn’t rest He said he’d cowhide me till I was black and blue if I didn’t raise some money for him I borrowed three dollars from Judge Thatcher, and pap took it and got drunk, and went a-blowing around and cussing and whooping and carrying on; and he kept it up all over town, with a tin pan, till most midnight; then they jailed him, and next day they had him before court, and jailed him again for a week But he said _he_ was satisfied; said he was boss of his son, and he’d make it warm for _him_ When he got out the new judge said he was a-going to make a man of him So he took him to his own house, and dressed him up clean and nice, and had him to breakfast and dinner and supper with the family, and was just old pie to him, so to speak And after supper he talked to him about temperance and such things till the old man cried, and said he’d been a fool, and fooled away his life; but now he was a-going to turn over a new leaf and be a man nobody wouldn’t be ashamed of, and he hoped the judge would help him and not look down on him The judge said he could hug him for them words; so he cried, and his wife she cried again; pap said he’d been a man that had always been misunderstood before, and the judge said he believed it The old man said that what a man wanted that was down was sympathy, and the judge said it was so; so they cried again And when it was bedtime the old man rose up and held out his hand, and says: “Look at it, gentlemen and ladies all; take a-hold of it; shake it

There’s a hand that was the hand of a hog; but it ain’t so no more; it’s the hand of a man that’s started in on a new life, and’ll die before he’ll go back You mark them words–don’t forget I said them It’s a clean hand now; shake it–don’t be afeard.” So they shook it, one after the other, all around, and cried The judge’s wife she kissed it Then the old man he signed a pledge–made his mark The judge said it was the holiest time on record, or something like that Then they tucked the old man into a beautiful room, which was the spare room, and in the night some time he got powerful thirsty and clumb out on to the porch-roof and slid down a stanchion and traded his new coat for a jug of forty-rod, and clumb back again and had a good old time; and towards daylight he crawled out again, drunk as a fiddler, and rolled off the porch and broke his left arm in two places, and was most froze to death when somebody found him after sun-up And when they come to look at that spare room they had to take soundings before they could navigate it The judge he felt kind of sore He said he reckoned a body could reform the old man with a shotgun, maybe, but he didn’t know no other way CHAPTER VI WELL, pretty soon the old man was up and around again, and then he went for Judge Thatcher in the courts to make him give up that money, and he went for me, too, for not stopping school He catched me a couple of times and thrashed me, but I went to school just the same, and dodged him or outrun him most of the time I didn’t want to go to school much before, but I reckoned I’d go now to spite pap That law trial was a slow business–appeared like they warn’t ever going to get started on it; so every now and then I’d borrow two or three dollars off of the judge for him, to keep from getting a cowhiding Every time he got money he got drunk; and every time he got drunk he raised Cain around town; and every time he raised Cain he got jailed He was just suited–this kind of thing was right in his line He got to hanging around the widow’s too much and so she told him at last that if he didn’t quit using around there she would make trouble for him Well, _wasn’t_ he mad? He said he would show who was Huck Finn’s boss So he watched out for me one day in the spring, and catched me, and took me up the river about three mile in a skiff, and crossed over to the Illinois shore where it was woody and there warn’t no houses but an old log hut in a place where the timber was so thick you couldn’t find it if you didn’t know where it was He kept me with him all the time, and I never got a chance to run off We lived in that old cabin, and he always locked the door and put the key under his head nights He had a gun which he had stole, I reckon, and we fished and hunted, and that was what we lived on Every little while he locked me in and went down to the store, three miles, to the ferry, and traded fish and game for whisky, and fetched it home and got drunk and had a good time, and licked me The widow she found out where I was by and by, and she sent a man over to try to get hold of me; but pap drove him off with the gun, and it warn’t long after that till I was used to being where I was, and liked it–all but the cowhide part It was kind of lazy and jolly, laying off comfortable all day, smoking and fishing, and no books nor study Two months or more run along, and my clothes got to be all rags and dirt, and I didn’t see how I’d ever got to like it so well at the widow’s, where you had to wash, and eat on a plate, and comb up, and go to bed and get up regular, and be forever bothering over a book, and have old Miss Watson pecking at you all the time I didn’t want to go back no more I had stopped cussing, because the widow didn’t like it; but now I took to it again because pap hadn’t no objections It was pretty good times up in the woods there, take it

all around But by and by pap got too handy with his hick’ry, and I couldn’t stand it I was all over welts He got to going away so much, too, and locking me in Once he locked me in and was gone three days It was dreadful lonesome I judged he had got drownded, and I wasn’t ever going to get out any more I was scared I made up my mind I would fix up some way to leave there I had tried to get out of that cabin many a time, but I couldn’t find no way There warn’t a window to it big enough for a dog to get through I couldn’t get up the chimbly; it was too narrow The door was thick, solid oak slabs Pap was pretty careful not to leave a knife or anything in the cabin when he was away; I reckon I had hunted the place over as much as a hundred times; well, I was most all the time at it, because it was about the only way to put in the time But this time I found something at last; I found an old rusty wood-saw without any handle; it was laid in between a rafter and the clapboards of the roof I greased it up and went to work There was an old horse-blanket nailed against the logs at the far end of the cabin behind the table, to keep the wind from blowing through the chinks and putting the candle out I got under the table and raised the blanket, and went to work to saw a section of the big bottom log out–big enough to let me through Well, it was a good long job, but I was getting towards the end of it when I heard pap’s gun in the woods I got rid of the signs of my work, and dropped the blanket and hid my saw, and pretty soon pap come in Pap warn’t in a good humor–so he was his natural self He said he was down town, and everything was going wrong His lawyer said he reckoned he would win his lawsuit and get the money if they ever got started on the trial; but then there was ways to put it off a long time, and Judge Thatcher knowed how to do it And he said people allowed there’d be another trial to get me away from him and give me to the widow for my guardian, and they guessed it would win this time This shook me up considerable, because I didn’t want to go back to the widow’s any more and be so cramped up and sivilized, as they called it Then the old man got to cussing, and cussed everything and everybody he could think of, and then cussed them all over again to make sure he hadn’t skipped any, and after that he polished off with a kind of a general cuss all round, including a considerable parcel of people which he didn’t know the names of, and so called them what’s-his-name when he got to them, and went right along with his cussing He said he would like to see the widow get me He said he would watch out, and if they tried to come any such game on him he knowed of a place six or seven mile off to stow me in, where they might hunt till they dropped and they couldn’t find me That made me pretty uneasy again, but only for a minute; I reckoned I wouldn’t stay on hand till he got that chance The old man made me go to the skiff and fetch the things he had got There was a fifty-pound sack of corn meal, and a side of bacon, ammunition, and a four-gallon jug of whisky, and an old book and two newspapers for wadding, besides some tow I toted up a load, and went back and set down on the bow of the skiff to rest I thought it all over, and I reckoned I would walk off with the gun and some lines, and take to the woods when I run away I guessed I wouldn’t stay in one place, but just tramp right across the country, mostly night times, and hunt and fish to keep alive, and so get so far away that the old man nor the widow couldn’t ever find me any more I judged I would saw out and leave that night if pap got drunk enough, and I reckoned he would I got so full of it I didn’t notice how long I was staying till the old man hollered and asked me whether I was asleep or drownded I got the things all up to the cabin, and then it was about dark While I was cooking supper the old man took a swig or two and got sort of warmed up, and went to ripping again He had been drunk over in town, and laid in the gutter all night, and he was a sight to look at A body would a thought he was Adam–he was just all mud Whenever his liquor begun to work he most always went for the govment, this time he says: “Call this a govment! why, just look at it and see what it’s like

Here’s the law a-standing ready to take a man’s son away from him–a man’s own son, which he has had all the trouble and all the anxiety and all the expense of raising Yes, just as that man has got that son raised at last, and ready to go to work and begin to do suthin’ for _him_ and give him a rest, the law up and goes for him And they call _that_ govment! That ain’t all, nuther The law backs that old Judge Thatcher up and helps him to keep me out o’ my property Here’s what the law does: The law takes a man worth six thousand dollars and up’ards, and jams him into an old trap of a cabin like this, and lets him go round in clothes that ain’t fitten for a hog They call that govment! A man can’t get his rights in a govment like this Sometimes I’ve a mighty notion to just leave the country for good and all Yes, and I _told_ ’em so; I told old Thatcher so to his face Lots of ’em heard me, and can tell what I said Says I, for two cents I’d leave the blamed country and never come a-near it agin Them’s the very words I says look at my hat–if you call it a hat–but the lid raises up and the rest of it goes down till it’s below my chin, and then it ain’t rightly a hat at all, but more like my head was shoved up through a jint o’ stove-pipe Look at it, says I–such a hat for me to wear–one of the wealthiest men in this town if I could git my rights “Oh, yes, this is a wonderful govment, wonderful Why, looky here There was a free nigger there from Ohio–a mulatter, most as white as a white man He had the whitest shirt on you ever see, too, and the shiniest hat; and there ain’t a man in that town that’s got as fine clothes as what he had; and he had a gold watch and chain, and a silver-headed cane–the awfulest old gray-headed nabob in the State And what do you think? They said he was a p’fessor in a college, and could talk all kinds of languages, and knowed everything And that ain’t the wust They said he could _vote_ when he was at home Well, that let me out Thinks I, what is the country a-coming to? It was ‘lection day, and I was just about to go and vote myself if I warn’t too drunk to get there; but when they told me there was a State in this country where they’d let that nigger vote, I drawed out I says I’ll never vote agin Them’s the very words I said; they all heard me; and the country may rot for all me–I’ll never vote agin as long as I live And to see the cool way of that nigger–why, he wouldn’t a give me the road if I hadn’t shoved him out o’ the way I says to the people, why ain’t this nigger put up at auction and sold?–that’s what I want to know And what do you reckon they said? Why, they said he couldn’t be sold till he’d been in the State six months, and he hadn’t been there that long yet There, now–that’s a specimen They call that a govment that can’t sell a free nigger till he’s been in the State six months Here’s a govment that calls itself a govment, and lets on to be a govment, and thinks it is a govment, and yet’s got to set stock-still for six whole months before it can take a hold of a prowling, thieving, infernal, white-shirted free nigger, and–” Pap was agoing on so he never noticed where his old limber legs was taking him to, so he went head over heels over the tub of salt pork and barked both shins, and the rest of his speech was all the hottest kind of language–mostly hove at the nigger and the govment, though he give the tub some, too, all along, here and there He hopped around the cabin considerable, first on one leg and then on the other, holding first one shin and then the other one, and at last he let out with his left foot all of a sudden and fetched the tub a rattling kick But it warn’t good judgment, because that was the boot that had a couple of his toes leaking out of the front end of it; so now he raised a howl that fairly made a body’s hair raise, and down he went in the dirt, and rolled there, and held his toes; and the cussing he done then laid over anything he had ever done previous He said so his own self afterwards He had heard old Sowberry Hagan in his best days, and he said it laid over him, too; but I reckon that was sort of piling it on, maybe

After supper pap took the jug, and said he had enough whisky there for two drunks and one delirium tremens That was always his word I judged he would be blind drunk in about an hour, and then I would steal the key, or saw myself out, one or t’other He drank and drank, and tumbled down on his blankets by and by; but luck didn’t run my way He didn’t go sound asleep, but was uneasy He groaned and moaned and thrashed around this way and that for a long time At last I got so sleepy I couldn’t keep my eyes open all I could do, and so before I knowed what I was about I was sound asleep, and the candle burning I don’t know how long I was asleep, but all of a sudden there was an awful scream and I was up There was pap looking wild, and skipping around every which way and yelling about snakes He said they was crawling up his legs; and then he would give a jump and scream, and say one had bit him on the cheek–but I couldn’t see no snakes He started and run round and round the cabin, hollering “Take him off! take him off! he’s biting me on the neck!” I never see a man look so wild in the eyes Pretty soon he was all fagged out, and fell down panting; then he rolled over and over wonderful fast, kicking things every which way, and striking and grabbing at the air with his hands, and screaming and saying there was devils a-hold of him He wore out by and by, and laid still a while, moaning Then he laid stiller, and didn’t make a sound I could hear the owls and the wolves away off in the woods, and it seemed terrible still He was laying over by the corner By and by he raised up part way and listened, with his head to one side He says, very low: “Tramp–tramp–tramp; that’s the dead; tramp–tramp–tramp; they’re coming after me; but I won’t go Oh, they’re here! don’t touch me–don’t! hands off–they’re cold; let go Oh, let a poor devil alone!” Then he went down on all fours and crawled off, begging them to let him alone, and he rolled himself up in his blanket and wallowed in under the old pine table, still a-begging; and then he went to crying I could hear him through the blanket By and by he rolled out and jumped up on his feet looking wild, and he see me and went for me He chased me round and round the place with a clasp-knife, calling me the Angel of Death, and saying he would kill me, and then I couldn’t come for him no more I begged, and told him I was only Huck; but he laughed _such_ a screechy laugh, and roared and cussed, and kept on chasing me up Once when I turned short and dodged under his arm he made a grab and got me by the jacket between my shoulders, and I thought I was gone; but I slid out of the jacket quick as lightning, and saved myself Pretty soon he was all tired out, and dropped down with his back against the door, and said he would rest a minute and then kill me He put his knife under him, and said he would sleep and get strong, and then he would see who was who So he dozed off pretty soon By and by I got the old split-bottom chair and clumb up as easy as I could, not to make any noise, and got down the gun I slipped the ramrod down it to make sure it was loaded, then I laid it across the turnip barrel, pointing towards pap, and set down behind it to wait for him to stir And how slow and still the time did drag along CHAPTER VII “GIT up! What you ’bout?” I opened my eyes and looked around, trying to make out where I was It was after sun-up, and I had been sound asleep Pap was standing over me looking sour and sick, too He says: “What you doin’ with this gun?”

I judged he didn’t know nothing about what he had been doing, so I says: “Somebody tried to get in, so I was laying for him.” “Why didn’t you roust me out?” “Well, I tried to, but I couldn’t; I couldn’t budge you.” “Well, all right Don’t stand there palavering all day, but out with you and see if there’s a fish on the lines for breakfast I’ll be along in a minute.” He unlocked the door, and I cleared out up the river-bank I noticed some pieces of limbs and such things floating down, and a sprinkling of bark; so I knowed the river had begun to rise I reckoned I would have great times now if I was over at the town The June rise used to be always luck for me; because as soon as that rise begins here comes cordwood floating down, and pieces of log rafts–sometimes a dozen logs together; so all you have to do is to catch them and sell them to the wood-yards and the sawmill I went along up the bank with one eye out for pap and t’other one out for what the rise might fetch along Well, all at once here comes a canoe; just a beauty, too, about thirteen or fourteen foot long, riding high like a duck I shot head-first off of the bank like a frog, clothes and all on, and struck out for the canoe I just expected there’d be somebody laying down in it, because people often done that to fool folks, and when a chap had pulled a skiff out most to it they’d raise up and laugh at him But it warn’t so this time It was a drift-canoe sure enough, and I clumb in and paddled her ashore Thinks I, the old man will be glad when he sees this–she’s worth ten dollars But when I got to shore pap wasn’t in sight yet, and as I was running her into a little creek like a gully, all hung over with vines and willows, I struck another idea: I judged I’d hide her good, and then, ‘stead of taking to the woods when I run off, I’d go down the river about fifty mile and camp in one place for good, and not have such a rough time tramping on foot It was pretty close to the shanty, and I thought I heard the old man coming all the time; but I got her hid; and then I out and looked around a bunch of willows, and there was the old man down the path a piece just drawing a bead on a bird with his gun So he hadn’t seen anything When he got along I was hard at it taking up a “trot” line He abused me a little for being so slow; but I told him I fell in the river, and that was what made me so long I knowed he would see I was wet, and then he would be asking questions We got five catfish off the lines and went home While we laid off after breakfast to sleep up, both of us being about wore out, I got to thinking that if I could fix up some way to keep pap and the widow from trying to follow me, it would be a certainer thing than trusting to luck to get far enough off before they missed me; you see, all kinds of things might happen Well, I didn’t see no way for a while, but by and by pap raised up a minute to drink another barrel of water, and he says: “Another time a man comes a-prowling round here you roust me out, you hear? That man warn’t here for no good I’d a shot him Next time you roust me out, you hear?” Then he dropped down and went to sleep again; but what he had been saying give me the very idea I wanted I says to myself, I can fix it now so nobody won’t think of following me About twelve o’clock we turned out and went along up the bank The river was coming up pretty fast, and lots of driftwood going by on the rise By and by along comes part of a log raft–nine logs fast together We went out with the skiff and towed it ashore Then we had dinner Anybody but pap would a waited and seen the day through, so as to catch more stuff; but that warn’t pap’s style Nine logs was enough for one time; he must shove right over to town and sell So he locked me in and took the skiff, and started off towing the raft about half-past three I judged he wouldn’t come back that night I waited till I reckoned he had got a good start; then I out with my saw, and went to work on that log again Before he was t’other side of the river I was out of the hole; him and his raft was just a speck on the water away off yonder I took the sack of corn meal and took it to where the canoe was hid, and shoved the vines and branches apart and put it in; then I done the same with the side of bacon; then the whisky-jug I took all the coffee and sugar there was, and all the ammunition; I

took the wadding; I took the bucket and gourd; I took a dipper and a tin cup, and my old saw and two blankets, and the skillet and the coffee-pot I took fish-lines and matches and other things–everything that was worth a cent I cleaned out the place I wanted an axe, but there wasn’t any, only the one out at the woodpile, and I knowed why I was going to leave that I fetched out the gun, and now I was done I had wore the ground a good deal crawling out of the hole and dragging out so many things So I fixed that as good as I could from the outside by scattering dust on the place, which covered up the smoothness and the sawdust Then I fixed the piece of log back into its place, and put two rocks under it and one against it to hold it there, for it was bent up at that place and didn’t quite touch ground If you stood four or five foot away and didn’t know it was sawed, you wouldn’t never notice it; and besides, this was the back of the cabin, and it warn’t likely anybody would go fooling around there It was all grass clear to the canoe, so I hadn’t left a track I followed around to see I stood on the bank and looked out over the river All safe So I took the gun and went up a piece into the woods, and was hunting around for some birds when I see a wild pig; hogs soon went wild in them bottoms after they had got away from the prairie farms I shot this fellow and took him into camp I took the axe and smashed in the door I beat it and hacked it considerable a-doing it I fetched the pig in, and took him back nearly to the table and hacked into his throat with the axe, and laid him down on the ground to bleed; I say ground because it was ground–hard packed, and no boards Well, next I took an old sack and put a lot of big rocks in it–all I could drag–and I started it from the pig, and dragged it to the door and through the woods down to the river and dumped it in, and down it sunk, out of sight You could easy see that something had been dragged over the ground I did wish Tom Sawyer was there; I knowed he would take an interest in this kind of business, and throw in the fancy touches Nobody could spread himself like Tom Sawyer in such a thing as that Well, last I pulled out some of my hair, and blooded the axe good, and stuck it on the back side, and slung the axe in the corner Then I took up the pig and held him to my breast with my jacket (so he couldn’t drip) till I got a good piece below the house and then dumped him into the river Now I thought of something else So I went and got the bag of meal and my old saw out of the canoe, and fetched them to the house I took the bag to where it used to stand, and ripped a hole in the bottom of it with the saw, for there warn’t no knives and forks on the place–pap done everything with his clasp-knife about the cooking Then I carried the sack about a hundred yards across the grass and through the willows east of the house, to a shallow lake that was five mile wide and full of rushes–and ducks too, you might say, in the season There was a slough or a creek leading out of it on the other side that went miles away, I don’t know where, but it didn’t go to the river The meal sifted out and made a little track all the way to the lake I dropped pap’s whetstone there too, so as to look like it had been done by accident Then I tied up the rip in the meal sack with a string, so it wouldn’t leak no more, and took it and my saw to the canoe again It was about dark now; so I dropped the canoe down the river under some willows that hung over the bank, and waited for the moon to rise I made fast to a willow; then I took a bite to eat, and by and by laid down in the canoe to smoke a pipe and lay out a plan I says to myself, they’ll follow the track of that sackful of rocks to the shore and then drag the river for me And they’ll follow that meal track to the lake and go browsing down the creek that leads out of it to find the robbers that killed me and took the things They won’t ever hunt the river for anything but my dead carcass They’ll soon get tired of that, and won’t bother no more about me All right; I can stop anywhere I want to Jackson’s Island is good enough for me; I know that island pretty well, and nobody ever comes there And then I can paddle over to town nights, and slink around and pick up things I want Jackson’s Island’s the place I was pretty tired, and the first thing I knowed I was asleep

When I woke up I didn’t know where I was for a minute I set up and looked around, a little scared Then I remembered The river looked miles and miles across The moon was so bright I could a counted the drift logs that went a-slipping along, black and still, hundreds of yards out from shore Everything was dead quiet, and it looked late, and _smelt_ late You know what I mean–I don’t know the words to put it in I took a good gap and a stretch, and was just going to unhitch and start when I heard a sound away over the water I listened Pretty soon I made it out It was that dull kind of a regular sound that comes from oars working in rowlocks when it’s a still night I peeped out through the willow branches, and there it was–a skiff, away across the water I couldn’t tell how many was in it It kept a-coming, and when it was abreast of me I see there warn’t but one man in it Think’s I, maybe it’s pap, though I warn’t expecting him He dropped below me with the current, and by and by he came a-swinging up shore in the easy water, and he went by so close I could a reached out the gun and touched him Well, it _was_ pap, sure enough–and sober, too, by the way he laid his oars I didn’t lose no time The next minute I was a-spinning down stream soft but quick in the shade of the bank I made two mile and a half, and then struck out a quarter of a mile or more towards the middle of the river, because pretty soon I would be passing the ferry landing, and people might see me and hail me I got out amongst the driftwood, and then laid down in the bottom of the canoe and let her float I laid there, and had a good rest and a smoke out of my pipe, looking away into the sky; not a cloud in it The sky looks ever so deep when you lay down on your back in the moonshine; I never knowed it before And how far a body can hear on the water such nights! I heard people talking at the ferry landing I heard what they said, too–every word of it One man said it was getting towards the long days and the short nights now T’other one said _this_ warn’t one of the short ones, he reckoned–and then they laughed, and he said it over again, and they laughed again; then they waked up another fellow and told him, and laughed, but he didn’t laugh; he ripped out something brisk, and said let him alone The first fellow said he ‘lowed to tell it to his old woman–she would think it was pretty good; but he said that warn’t nothing to some things he had said in his time I heard one man say it was nearly three o’clock, and he hoped daylight wouldn’t wait more than about a week longer After that the talk got further and further away, and I couldn’t make out the words any more; but I could hear the mumble, and now and then a laugh, too, but it seemed a long ways off I was away below the ferry now I rose up, and there was Jackson’s Island, about two mile and a half down stream, heavy timbered and standing up out of the middle of the river, big and dark and solid, like a steamboat without any lights There warn’t any signs of the bar at the head–it was all under water now It didn’t take me long to get there I shot past the head at a ripping rate, the current was so swift, and then I got into the dead water and landed on the side towards the Illinois shore I run the canoe into a deep dent in the bank that I knowed about; I had to part the willow branches to get in; and when I made fast nobody could a seen the canoe from the outside I went up and set down on a log at the head of the island, and looked out on the big river and the black driftwood and away over to the town, three mile away, where there was three or four lights twinkling A monstrous big lumber-raft was about a mile up stream, coming along down, with a lantern in the middle of it I watched it come creeping down, and when it was most abreast of where I stood I heard a man say, “Stern oars, there! heave her head to stabboard!” I heard that just as plain as if the man was by my side There was a little gray in the sky now; so I stepped into the woods, and laid down for a nap before breakfast CHAPTER VIII

THE sun was up so high when I waked that I judged it was after eight o’clock I laid there in the grass and the cool shade thinking about things, and feeling rested and ruther comfortable and satisfied I could see the sun out at one or two holes, but mostly it was big trees all about, and gloomy in there amongst them There was freckled places on the ground where the light sifted down through the leaves, and the freckled places swapped about a little, showing there was a little breeze up there A couple of squirrels set on a limb and jabbered at me very friendly I was powerful lazy and comfortable–didn’t want to get up and cook breakfast Well, I was dozing off again when I thinks I hears a deep sound of “boom!” away up the river I rouses up, and rests on my elbow and listens; pretty soon I hears it again I hopped up, and went and looked out at a hole in the leaves, and I see a bunch of smoke laying on the water a long ways up–about abreast the ferry And there was the ferryboat full of people floating along down I knowed what was the matter now “Boom!” I see the white smoke squirt out of the ferryboat’s side You see, they was firing cannon over the water, trying to make my carcass come to the top I was pretty hungry, but it warn’t going to do for me to start a fire, because they might see the smoke So I set there and watched the cannon-smoke and listened to the boom The river was a mile wide there, and it always looks pretty on a summer morning–so I was having a good enough time seeing them hunt for my remainders if I only had a bite to eat Well, then I happened to think how they always put quicksilver in loaves of bread and float them off, because they always go right to the drownded carcass and stop there So, says I, I’ll keep a lookout, and if any of them’s floating around after me I’ll give them a show I changed to the Illinois edge of the island to see what luck I could have, and I warn’t disappointed A big double loaf come along, and I most got it with a long stick, but my foot slipped and she floated out further Of course I was where the current set in the closest to the shore–I knowed enough for that But by and by along comes another one, and this time I won I took out the plug and shook out the little dab of quicksilver, and set my teeth in It was “baker’s bread”–what the quality eat; none of your low-down corn-pone I got a good place amongst the leaves, and set there on a log, munching the bread and watching the ferry-boat, and very well satisfied And then something struck me I says, now I reckon the widow or the parson or somebody prayed that this bread would find me, and here it has gone and done it So there ain’t no doubt but there is something in that thing–that is, there’s something in it when a body like the widow or the parson prays, but it don’t work for me, and I reckon it don’t work for only just the right kind I lit a pipe and had a good long smoke, and went on watching The ferryboat was floating with the current, and I allowed I’d have a chance to see who was aboard when she come along, because she would come in close, where the bread did When she’d got pretty well along down towards me, I put out my pipe and went to where I fished out the bread, and laid down behind a log on the bank in a little open place Where the log forked I could peep through By and by she come along, and she drifted in so close that they could a run out a plank and walked ashore Most everybody was on the boat Pap, and Judge Thatcher, and Bessie Thatcher, and Jo Harper, and Tom Sawyer, and his old Aunt Polly, and Sid and Mary, and plenty more Everybody was talking about the murder, but the captain broke in and says: “Look sharp, now; the current sets in the closest here, and maybe he’s washed ashore and got tangled amongst the brush at the water’s edge I hope so, anyway.” I didn’t hope so They all crowded up and leaned over the rails, nearly in my face, and kept still, watching with all their might I could see them first-rate, but they couldn’t see me Then the captain sung out: “Stand away!” and the cannon let off such a blast right before me that it made me deef with the noise and pretty near blind with the smoke, and

I judged I was gone If they’d a had some bullets in, I reckon they’d a got the corpse they was after Well, I see I warn’t hurt, thanks to goodness The boat floated on and went out of sight around the shoulder of the island I could hear the booming now and then, further and further off, and by and by, after an hour, I didn’t hear it no more The island was three mile long I judged they had got to the foot, and was giving it up But they didn’t yet a while They turned around the foot of the island and started up the channel on the Missouri side, under steam, and booming once in a while as they went I crossed over to that side and watched them When they got abreast the head of the island they quit shooting and dropped over to the Missouri shore and went home to the town I knowed I was all right now Nobody else would come a-hunting after me I got my traps out of the canoe and made me a nice camp in the thick woods I made a kind of a tent out of my blankets to put my things under so the rain couldn’t get at them I catched a catfish and haggled him open with my saw, and towards sundown I started my camp fire and had supper Then I set out a line to catch some fish for breakfast When it was dark I set by my camp fire smoking, and feeling pretty well satisfied; but by and by it got sort of lonesome, and so I went and set on the bank and listened to the current swashing along, and counted the stars and drift logs and rafts that come down, and then went to bed; there ain’t no better way to put in time when you are lonesome; you can’t stay so, you soon get over it And so for three days and nights No difference–just the same thing But the next day I went exploring around down through the island I was boss of it; it all belonged to me, so to say, and I wanted to know all about it; but mainly I wanted to put in the time I found plenty strawberries, ripe and prime; and green summer grapes, and green razberries; and the green blackberries was just beginning to show They would all come handy by and by, I judged Well, I went fooling along in the deep woods till I judged I warn’t far from the foot of the island I had my gun along, but I hadn’t shot nothing; it was for protection; thought I would kill some game nigh home About this time I mighty near stepped on a good-sized snake, and it went sliding off through the grass and flowers, and I after it, trying to get a shot at it I clipped along, and all of a sudden I bounded right on to the ashes of a camp fire that was still smoking My heart jumped up amongst my lungs I never waited for to look further, but uncocked my gun and went sneaking back on my tiptoes as fast as ever I could Every now and then I stopped a second amongst the thick leaves and listened, but my breath come so hard I couldn’t hear nothing else I slunk along another piece further, then listened again; and so on, and so on If I see a stump, I took it for a man; if I trod on a stick and broke it, it made me feel like a person had cut one of my breaths in two and I only got half, and the short half, too When I got to camp I warn’t feeling very brash, there warn’t much sand in my craw; but I says, this ain’t no time to be fooling around So I got all my traps into my canoe again so as to have them out of sight, and I put out the fire and scattered the ashes around to look like an old last year’s camp, and then clumb a tree I reckon I was up in the tree two hours; but I didn’t see nothing, I didn’t hear nothing–I only _thought_ I heard and seen as much as a thousand things Well, I couldn’t stay up there forever; so at last I got down, but I kept in the thick woods and on the lookout all the time All I could get to eat was berries and what was left over from breakfast By the time it was night I was pretty hungry So when it was good and dark I slid out from shore before moonrise and paddled over to the Illinois bank–about a quarter of a mile I went out in the woods and cooked a supper, and I had about made up my mind I would stay there all night when I hear a _plunkety-plunk, plunkety-plunk_, and says to myself, horses coming; and next I hear people’s voices I got everything into the canoe as quick as I could, and then went creeping through the woods to see what I could find

out I hadn’t got far when I hear a man say: “We better camp here if we can find a good place; the horses is about beat out Let’s look around.” I didn’t wait, but shoved out and paddled away easy I tied up in the old place, and reckoned I would sleep in the canoe I didn’t sleep much I couldn’t, somehow, for thinking And every time I waked up I thought somebody had me by the neck So the sleep didn’t do me no good By and by I says to myself, I can’t live this way; I’m a-going to find out who it is that’s here on the island with me; I’ll find it out or bust Well, I felt better right off So I took my paddle and slid out from shore just a step or two, and then let the canoe drop along down amongst the shadows The moon was shining, and outside of the shadows it made it most as light as day I poked along well on to an hour, everything still as rocks and sound asleep Well, by this time I was most down to the foot of the island A little ripply, cool breeze begun to blow, and that was as good as saying the night was about done I give her a turn with the paddle and brung her nose to shore; then I got my gun and slipped out and into the edge of the woods I sat down there on a log, and looked out through the leaves I see the moon go off watch, and the darkness begin to blanket the river But in a little while I see a pale streak over the treetops, and knowed the day was coming So I took my gun and slipped off towards where I had run across that camp fire, stopping every minute or two to listen But I hadn’t no luck somehow; I couldn’t seem to find the place But by and by, sure enough, I catched a glimpse of fire away through the trees I went for it, cautious and slow By and by I was close enough to have a look, and there laid a man on the ground It most give me the fan-tods He had a blanket around his head, and his head was nearly in the fire I set there behind a clump of bushes, in about six foot of him, and kept my eyes on him steady It was getting gray daylight now Pretty soon he gapped and stretched himself and hove off the blanket, and it was Miss Watson’s Jim! I bet I was glad to see him I says: “Hello, Jim!” and skipped out He bounced up and stared at me wild Then he drops down on his knees, and puts his hands together and says: “Doan’ hurt me–don’t! I hain’t ever done no harm to a ghos’ I alwuz liked dead people, en done all I could for ’em You go en git in de river agin, whah you b’longs, en doan’ do nuffn to Ole Jim, ‘at ‘uz awluz yo’ fren’.” Well, I warn’t long making him understand I warn’t dead I was ever so glad to see Jim I warn’t lonesome now I told him I warn’t afraid of _him_ telling the people where I was I talked along, but he only set there and looked at me; never said nothing Then I says: “It’s good daylight Le’s get breakfast Make up your camp fire good.” “What’s de use er makin’ up de camp fire to cook strawbries en sich truck? But you got a gun, hain’t you? Den we kin git sumfn better den strawbries.” “Strawberries and such truck,” I says “Is that what you live on?” “I couldn’ git nuffn else,” he says “Why, how long you been on the island, Jim?” “I come heah de night arter you’s killed.” “What, all that time?” “Yes–indeedy.” “And ain’t you had nothing but that kind of rubbage to eat?” “No, sah–nuffn else.” “Well, you must be most starved, ain’t you?” “I reck’n I could eat a hoss I think I could How long you ben on de islan’?” “Since the night I got killed.” “No! W’y, what has you lived on? But you got a gun Oh, yes, you got a gun Dat’s good Now you kill sumfn en I’ll make up de fire.” So we went over to where the canoe was, and while he built a fire in a grassy open place amongst the trees, I fetched meal and bacon and coffee, and coffee-pot and frying-pan, and sugar and tin cups, and the nigger was set back considerable, because he reckoned it was all done with witchcraft I catched a good big catfish, too, and Jim cleaned him with his knife, and fried him

When breakfast was ready we lolled on the grass and eat it smoking hot Jim laid it in with all his might, for he was most about starved Then when we had got pretty well stuffed, we laid off and lazied By and by Jim says: “But looky here, Huck, who wuz it dat ‘uz killed in dat shanty ef it warn’t you?” Then I told him the whole thing, and he said it was smart He said Tom Sawyer couldn’t get up no better plan than what I had Then I says: “How do you come to be here, Jim, and how’d you get here?” He looked pretty uneasy, and didn’t say nothing for a minute Then he says: “Maybe I better not tell.” “Why, Jim?” “Well, dey’s reasons But you wouldn’ tell on me ef I uz to tell you, would you, Huck?” “Blamed if I would, Jim.” “Well, I b’lieve you, Huck I–_I run off_.” “Jim!” “But mind, you said you wouldn’ tell–you know you said you wouldn’ tell, Huck.” “Well, I did I said I wouldn’t, and I’ll stick to it Honest _injun_, I will People would call me a low-down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum–but that don’t make no difference I ain’t a-going to tell, and I ain’t a-going back there, anyways So, now, le’s know all about it.” “Well, you see, it ‘uz dis way Ole missus–dat’s Miss Watson–she pecks on me all de time, en treats me pooty rough, but she awluz said she wouldn’ sell me down to Orleans But I noticed dey wuz a nigger trader roun’ de place considable lately, en I begin to git oneasy Well, one night I creeps to de do’ pooty late, en de do’ warn’t quite shet, en I hear old missus tell de widder she gwyne to sell me down to Orleans, but she didn’ want to, but she could git eight hund’d dollars for me, en it ‘uz sich a big stack o’ money she couldn’ resis’ De widder she try to git her to say she wouldn’ do it, but I never waited to hear de res’ I lit out mighty quick, I tell you “I tuck out en shin down de hill, en ‘spec to steal a skift ‘long de sho’ som’ers ‘bove de town, but dey wuz people a-stirring yit, so I hid in de ole tumble-down cooper-shop on de bank to wait for everybody to go ‘way Well, I wuz dah all night Dey wuz somebody roun’ all de time ‘Long ’bout six in de mawnin’ skifts begin to go by, en ’bout eight er nine every skift dat went ‘long wuz talkin’ ’bout how yo’ pap come over to de town en say you’s killed Dese las’ skifts wuz full o’ ladies en genlmen a-goin’ over for to see de place Sometimes dey’d pull up at de sho’ en take a res’ b’fo’ dey started acrost, so by de talk I got to know all ’bout de killin’ I ‘uz powerful sorry you’s killed, Huck, but I ain’t no mo’ now “I laid dah under de shavin’s all day I ‘uz hungry, but I warn’t afeard; bekase I knowed ole missus en de widder wuz goin’ to start to de camp-meet’n’ right arter breakfas’ en be gone all day, en dey knows I goes off wid de cattle ’bout daylight, so dey wouldn’ ‘spec to see me roun’ de place, en so dey wouldn’ miss me tell arter dark in de evenin’ De yuther servants wouldn’ miss me, kase dey’d shin out en take holiday soon as de ole folks ‘uz out’n de way “Well, when it come dark I tuck out up de river road, en went ’bout two mile er more to whah dey warn’t no houses I’d made up my mine ’bout what I’s agwyne to do You see, ef I kep’ on tryin’ to git away afoot, de dogs ‘ud track me; ef I stole a skift to cross over, dey’d miss dat skift, you see, en dey’d know ’bout whah I’d lan’ on de yuther side, en whah to pick up my track So I says, a raff is what I’s arter; it doan’ _make_ no track “I see a light a-comin’ roun’ de p’int bymeby, so I wade’ in en shove’ a log ahead o’ me en swum more’n half way acrost de river, en got in ‘mongst de drift-wood, en kep’ my head down low, en kinder swum agin de current tell de raff come along Den I swum to de stern uv it en tuck a-holt It clouded up en ‘uz pooty dark for a little while So I clumb up en laid down on de planks De men ‘uz all ‘way yonder in de middle, whah de lantern wuz De river wuz a-risin’, en dey wuz a good current; so I reck’n’d ‘at by fo’ in de mawnin’ I’d

be twenty-five mile down de river, en den I’d slip in jis b’fo’ daylight en swim asho’, en take to de woods on de Illinois side “But I didn’ have no luck When we ‘uz mos’ down to de head er de islan’ a man begin to come aft wid de lantern, I see it warn’t no use fer to wait, so I slid overboard en struck out fer de islan’ Well, I had a notion I could lan’ mos’ anywhers, but I couldn’t–bank too bluff I ‘uz mos’ to de foot er de islan’ b’fo’ I found’ a good place I went into de woods en jedged I wouldn’ fool wid raffs no mo’, long as dey move de lantern roun’ so I had my pipe en a plug er dog-leg, en some matches in my cap, en dey warn’t wet, so I ‘uz all right.” “And so you ain’t had no meat nor bread to eat all this time? Why didn’t you get mud-turkles?” “How you gwyne to git ‘m? You can’t slip up on um en grab um; en how’s a body gwyne to hit um wid a rock? How could a body do it in de night? En I warn’t gwyne to show mysef on de bank in de daytime.” “Well, that’s so You’ve had to keep in the woods all the time, of course Did you hear ’em shooting the cannon?” “Oh, yes I knowed dey was arter you I see um go by heah–watched um thoo de bushes.” Some young birds come along, flying a yard or two at a time and lighting Jim said it was a sign it was going to rain He said it was a sign when young chickens flew that way, and so he reckoned it was the same way when young birds done it I was going to catch some of them, but Jim wouldn’t let me He said it was death He said his father laid mighty sick once, and some of them catched a bird, and his old granny said his father would die, and he did And Jim said you mustn’t count the things you are going to cook for dinner, because that would bring bad luck The same if you shook the table-cloth after sundown And he said if a man owned a beehive and that man died, the bees must be told about it before sun-up next morning, or else the bees would all weaken down and quit work and die Jim said bees wouldn’t sting idiots; but I didn’t believe that, because I had tried them lots of times myself, and they wouldn’t sting me I had heard about some of these things before, but not all of them Jim knowed all kinds of signs He said he knowed most everything I said it looked to me like all the signs was about bad luck, and so I asked him if there warn’t any good-luck signs He says: “Mighty few–an’ _dey_ ain’t no use to a body What you want to know when good luck’s a-comin’ for? Want to keep it off?” And he said: “Ef you’s got hairy arms en a hairy breas’, it’s a sign dat you’s agwyne to be rich Well, dey’s some use in a sign like dat, ‘kase it’s so fur ahead You see, maybe you’s got to be po’ a long time fust, en so you might git discourage’ en kill yo’sef ‘f you didn’ know by de sign dat you gwyne to be rich bymeby.” “Have you got hairy arms and a hairy breast, Jim?” “What’s de use to ax dat question? Don’t you see I has?” “Well, are you rich?” “No, but I ben rich wunst, and gwyne to be rich agin Wunst I had foteen dollars, but I tuck to specalat’n’, en got busted out.” “What did you speculate in, Jim?” “Well, fust I tackled stock.” “What kind of stock?” “Why, live stock–cattle, you know I put ten dollars in a cow But I ain’ gwyne to resk no mo’ money in stock De cow up ‘n’ died on my han’s.” “So you lost the ten dollars.” “No, I didn’t lose it all I on’y los’ ’bout nine of it I sole de hide en taller for a dollar en ten cents.” “You had five dollars and ten cents left Did you speculate any more?” “Yes You know that one-laigged nigger dat b’longs to old Misto Bradish? Well, he sot up a bank, en say anybody dat put in a dollar would git fo’ dollars mo’ at de en’ er de year Well, all de niggers went in, but dey didn’t have much I wuz de on’y one dat had much So I stuck out for mo’ dan fo’ dollars, en I said ‘f I didn’ git it I’d start a bank mysef Well, o’ course dat nigger want’ to keep me out er de business, bekase he says dey warn’t business ‘nough for two banks, so he say I could put in my five dollars en he pay me thirty-five at de en’

er de year “So I done it Den I reck’n’d I’d inves’ de thirty-five dollars right off en keep things a-movin’ Dey wuz a nigger name’ Bob, dat had ketched a wood-flat, en his marster didn’ know it; en I bought it off’n him en told him to take de thirty-five dollars when de en’ er de year come; but somebody stole de wood-flat dat night, en nex day de one-laigged nigger say de bank’s busted So dey didn’ none uv us git no money.” “What did you do with the ten cents, Jim?” “Well, I ‘uz gwyne to spen’ it, but I had a dream, en de dream tole me to give it to a nigger name’ Balum–Balum’s Ass dey call him for short; he’s one er dem chuckleheads, you know But he’s lucky, dey say, en I see I warn’t lucky De dream say let Balum inves’ de ten cents en he’d make a raise for me Well, Balum he tuck de money, en when he wuz in church he hear de preacher say dat whoever give to de po’ len’ to de Lord, en boun’ to git his money back a hund’d times So Balum he tuck en give de ten cents to de po’, en laid low to see what wuz gwyne to come of it.” “Well, what did come of it, Jim?” “Nuffn never come of it I couldn’ manage to k’leck dat money no way; en Balum he couldn’ I ain’ gwyne to len’ no mo’ money ‘dout I see de security Boun’ to git yo’ money back a hund’d times, de preacher says! Ef I could git de ten _cents_ back, I’d call it squah, en be glad er de chanst.” “Well, it’s all right anyway, Jim, long as you’re going to be rich again some time or other.” “Yes; en I’s rich now, come to look at it I owns mysef, en I’s wuth eight hund’d dollars I wisht I had de money, I wouldn’ want no mo’.” CHAPTER IX I wanted to go and look at a place right about the middle of the island that I’d found when I was exploring; so we started and soon got to it, because the island was only three miles long and a quarter of a mile wide This place was a tolerable long, steep hill or ridge about forty foot high We had a rough time getting to the top, the sides was so steep and the bushes so thick We tramped and clumb around all over it, and by and by found a good big cavern in the rock, most up to the top on the side towards Illinois The cavern was as big as two or three rooms bunched together, and Jim could stand up straight in it It was cool in there Jim was for putting our traps in there right away, but I said we didn’t want to be climbing up and down there all the time Jim said if we had the canoe hid in a good place, and had all the traps in the cavern, we could rush there if anybody was to come to the island, and they would never find us without dogs And, besides, he said them little birds had said it was going to rain, and did I want the things to get wet? So we went back and got the canoe, and paddled up abreast the cavern, and lugged all the traps up there Then we hunted up a place close by to hide the canoe in, amongst the thick willows We took some fish off of the lines and set them again, and begun to get ready for dinner The door of the cavern was big enough to roll a hogshead in, and on one side of the door the floor stuck out a little bit, and was flat and a good place to build a fire on So we built it there and cooked dinner We spread the blankets inside for a carpet, and eat our dinner in there We put all the other things handy at the back of the cavern Pretty soon it darkened up, and begun to thunder and lighten; so the birds was right about it Directly it begun to rain, and it rained like all fury, too, and I never see the wind blow so It was one of these regular summer storms It would get so dark that it looked all blue-black outside, and lovely; and the rain would thrash along by so thick that the trees off a little ways looked dim and spider-webby; and here would come a blast of wind that would bend the trees down and turn up the pale underside of the leaves; and then a perfect ripper of a gust would follow along and set the branches to tossing their arms as if they was just wild; and next, when it was just

about the bluest and blackest–_FST_! it was as bright as glory, and you’d have a little glimpse of tree-tops a-plunging about away off yonder in the storm, hundreds of yards further than you could see before; dark as sin again in a second, and now you’d hear the thunder let go with an awful crash, and then go rumbling, grumbling, tumbling, down the sky towards the under side of the world, like rolling empty barrels down stairs–where it’s long stairs and they bounce a good deal, you know “Jim, this is nice,” I says “I wouldn’t want to be nowhere else but here Pass me along another hunk of fish and some hot corn-bread.” “Well, you wouldn’t a ben here ‘f it hadn’t a ben for Jim You’d a ben down dah in de woods widout any dinner, en gittn’ mos’ drownded, too; dat you would, honey Chickens knows when it’s gwyne to rain, en so do de birds, chile.” The river went on raising and raising for ten or twelve days, till at last it was over the banks The water was three or four foot deep on the island in the low places and on the Illinois bottom On that side it was a good many miles wide, but on the Missouri side it was the same old distance across–a half a mile–because the Missouri shore was just a wall of high bluffs Daytimes we paddled all over the island in the canoe, It was mighty cool and shady in the deep woods, even if the sun was blazing outside We went winding in and out amongst the trees, and sometimes the vines hung so thick we had to back away and go some other way Well, on every old broken-down tree you could see rabbits and snakes and such things; and when the island had been overflowed a day or two they got so tame, on account of being hungry, that you could paddle right up and put your hand on them if you wanted to; but not the snakes and turtles–they would slide off in the water The ridge our cavern was in was full of them We could a had pets enough if we’d wanted them One night we catched a little section of a lumber raft–nice pine planks It was twelve foot wide and about fifteen or sixteen foot long, and the top stood above water six or seven inches–a solid, level floor We could see saw-logs go by in the daylight sometimes, but we let them go; we didn’t show ourselves in daylight Another night when we was up at the head of the island, just before daylight, here comes a frame-house down, on the west side She was a two-story, and tilted over considerable We paddled out and got aboard–clumb in at an upstairs window But it was too dark to see yet, so we made the canoe fast and set in her to wait for daylight The light begun to come before we got to the foot of the island Then we looked in at the window We could make out a bed, and a table, and two old chairs, and lots of things around about on the floor, and there was clothes hanging against the wall There was something laying on the floor in the far corner that looked like a man So Jim says: “Hello, you!” But it didn’t budge So I hollered again, and then Jim says: “De man ain’t asleep–he’s dead You hold still–I’ll go en see.” He went, and bent down and looked, and says: “It’s a dead man Yes, indeedy; naked, too He’s ben shot in de back I reck’n he’s ben dead two er three days Come in, Huck, but doan’ look at his face–it’s too gashly.” I didn’t look at him at all Jim throwed some old rags over him, but he needn’t done it; I didn’t want to see him There was heaps of old greasy cards scattered around over the floor, and old whisky bottles, and a couple of masks made out of black cloth; and all over the walls was the ignorantest kind of words and pictures made with charcoal There was two old dirty calico dresses, and a sun-bonnet, and some women’s underclothes hanging against the wall, and some men’s clothing, too We put the lot into the canoe–it might come good There was a boy’s old speckled straw hat on the floor; I took that, too And there was a bottle that had had milk in it, and it had a rag stopper for a baby to suck We would a took the bottle, but it was broke There was a seedy old chest, and an old hair trunk with the hinges broke They stood open, but there warn’t nothing left in them that was any account The way things was scattered about we reckoned the people left in a hurry, and warn’t fixed so as to carry off most of their stuff We got an old tin lantern, and a butcher-knife without any handle, and a bran-new Barlow knife worth two bits in any store, and a lot of tallow

candles, and a tin candlestick, and a gourd, and a tin cup, and a ratty old bedquilt off the bed, and a reticule with needles and pins and beeswax and buttons and thread and all such truck in it, and a hatchet and some nails, and a fishline as thick as my little finger with some monstrous hooks on it, and a roll of buckskin, and a leather dog-collar, and a horseshoe, and some vials of medicine that didn’t have no label on them; and just as we was leaving I found a tolerable good curry-comb, and Jim he found a ratty old fiddle-bow, and a wooden leg The straps was broke off of it, but, barring that, it was a good enough leg, though it was too long for me and not long enough for Jim, and we couldn’t find the other one, though we hunted all around And so, take it all around, we made a good haul When we was ready to shove off we was a quarter of a mile below the island, and it was pretty broad day; so I made Jim lay down in the canoe and cover up with the quilt, because if he set up people could tell he was a nigger a good ways off I paddled over to the Illinois shore, and drifted down most a half a mile doing it I crept up the dead water under the bank, and hadn’t no accidents and didn’t see nobody We got home all safe CHAPTER X AFTER breakfast I wanted to talk about the dead man and guess out how he come to be killed, but Jim didn’t want to He said it would fetch bad luck; and besides, he said, he might come and ha’nt us; he said a man that warn’t buried was more likely to go a-ha’nting around than one that was planted and comfortable That sounded pretty reasonable, so I didn’t say no more; but I couldn’t keep from studying over it and wishing I knowed who shot the man, and what they done it for We rummaged the clothes we’d got, and found eight dollars in silver sewed up in the lining of an old blanket overcoat Jim said he reckoned the people in that house stole the coat, because if they’d a knowed the money was there they wouldn’t a left it I said I reckoned they killed him, too; but Jim didn’t want to talk about that I says: “Now you think it’s bad luck; but what did you say when I fetched in the snake-skin that I found on the top of the ridge day before yesterday? You said it was the worst bad luck in the world to touch a snake-skin with my hands Well, here’s your bad luck! We’ve raked in all this truck and eight dollars besides I wish we could have some bad luck like this every day, Jim.” “Never you mind, honey, never you mind Don’t you git too peart It’s a-comin’ Mind I tell you, it’s a-comin’.” It did come, too It was a Tuesday that we had that talk Well, after dinner Friday we was laying around in the grass at the upper end of the ridge, and got out of tobacco I went to the cavern to get some, and found a rattlesnake in there I killed him, and curled him up on the foot of Jim’s blanket, ever so natural, thinking there’d be some fun when Jim found him there Well, by night I forgot all about the snake, and when Jim flung himself down on the blanket while I struck a light the snake’s mate was there, and bit him He jumped up yelling, and the first thing the light showed was the varmint curled up and ready for another spring I laid him out in a second with a stick, and Jim grabbed pap’s whisky-jug and begun to pour it down He was barefooted, and the snake bit him right on the heel That all comes of my being such a fool as to not remember that wherever you leave a dead snake its mate always comes there and curls around it Jim told me to chop off the snake’s head and throw it away, and then skin the body and roast a piece of it I done it, and he eat it and said it would help cure him He made me take off the rattles and tie them around his wrist, too He said that that would help Then I slid out quiet and throwed the snakes clear away amongst the bushes; for I warn’t going to let Jim find out it was all my fault, not if I could help it Jim sucked and sucked at the jug, and now and then he got out of his

head and pitched around and yelled; but every time he come to himself he went to sucking at the jug again His foot swelled up pretty big, and so did his leg; but by and by the drunk begun to come, and so I judged he was all right; but I’d druther been bit with a snake than pap’s whisky Jim was laid up for four days and nights Then the swelling was all gone and he was around again I made up my mind I wouldn’t ever take a-holt of a snake-skin again with my hands, now that I see what had come of it Jim said he reckoned I would believe him next time And he said that handling a snake-skin was such awful bad luck that maybe we hadn’t got to the end of it yet He said he druther see the new moon over his left shoulder as much as a thousand times than take up a snake-skin in his hand Well, I was getting to feel that way myself, though I’ve always reckoned that looking at the new moon over your left shoulder is one of the carelessest and foolishest things a body can do Old Hank Bunker done it once, and bragged about it; and in less than two years he got drunk and fell off of the shot-tower, and spread himself out so that he was just a kind of a layer, as you may say; and they slid him edgeways between two barn doors for a coffin, and buried him so, so they say, but I didn’t see it Pap told me But anyway it all come of looking at the moon that way, like a fool Well, the days went along, and the river went down between its banks again; and about the first thing we done was to bait one of the big hooks with a skinned rabbit and set it and catch a catfish that was as big as a man, being six foot two inches long, and weighed over two hundred pounds We couldn’t handle him, of course; he would a flung us into Illinois We just set there and watched him rip and tear around till he drownded We found a brass button in his stomach and a round ball, and lots of rubbage We split the ball open with the hatchet, and there was a spool in it Jim said he’d had it there a long time, to coat it over so and make a ball of it It was as big a fish as was ever catched in the Mississippi, I reckon Jim said he hadn’t ever seen a bigger one He would a been worth a good deal over at the village They peddle out such a fish as that by the pound in the market-house there; everybody buys some of him; his meat’s as white as snow and makes a good fry Next morning I said it was getting slow and dull, and I wanted to get a stirring up some way I said I reckoned I would slip over the river and find out what was going on Jim liked that notion; but he said I must go in the dark and look sharp Then he studied it over and said, couldn’t I put on some of them old things and dress up like a girl? That was a good notion, too So we shortened up one of the calico gowns, and I turned up my trouser-legs to my knees and got into it Jim hitched it behind with the hooks, and it was a fair fit I put on the sun-bonnet and tied it under my chin, and then for a body to look in and see my face was like looking down a joint of stove-pipe Jim said nobody would know me, even in the daytime, hardly I practiced around all day to get the hang of the things, and by and by I could do pretty well in them, only Jim said I didn’t walk like a girl; and he said I must quit pulling up my gown to get at my britches-pocket I took notice, and done better I started up the Illinois shore in the canoe just after dark I started across to the town from a little below the ferry-landing, and the drift of the current fetched me in at the bottom of the town I tied up and started along the bank There was a light burning in a little shanty that hadn’t been lived in for a long time, and I wondered who had took up quarters there I slipped up and peeped in at the window There was a woman about forty year old in there knitting by a candle that was on a pine table I didn’t know her face; she was a stranger, for you couldn’t start a face in that town that I didn’t know Now this was lucky, because I was weakening; I was getting afraid I had come; people might know my voice and find me out But if this woman had been in such a little town two days she could tell me all I wanted to know; so I knocked at the door, and made up my mind I wouldn’t forget I was

a girl CHAPTER XI “COME in,” says the woman, and I did She says: “Take a cheer.” I done it She looked me all over with her little shiny eyes, and says: “What might your name be?” “Sarah Williams.” “Where ’bouts do you live? In this neighborhood?’ “No’m In Hookerville, seven mile below I’ve walked all the way and I’m all tired out.” “Hungry, too, I reckon I’ll find you something.” “No’m, I ain’t hungry I was so hungry I had to stop two miles below here at a farm; so I ain’t hungry no more It’s what makes me so late My mother’s down sick, and out of money and everything, and I come to tell my uncle Abner Moore He lives at the upper end of the town, she says I hain’t ever been here before Do you know him?” “No; but I don’t know everybody yet I haven’t lived here quite two weeks It’s a considerable ways to the upper end of the town You better stay here all night Take off your bonnet.” “No,” I says; “I’ll rest a while, I reckon, and go on I ain’t afeared of the dark.” She said she wouldn’t let me go by myself, but her husband would be in by and by, maybe in a hour and a half, and she’d send him along with me Then she got to talking about her husband, and about her relations up the river, and her relations down the river, and about how much better off they used to was, and how they didn’t know but they’d made a mistake coming to our town, instead of letting well alone–and so on and so on, till I was afeard I had made a mistake coming to her to find out what was going on in the town; but by and by she dropped on to pap and the murder, and then I was pretty willing to let her clatter right along She told about me and Tom Sawyer finding the six thousand dollars (only she got it ten) and all about pap and what a hard lot he was, and what a hard lot I was, and at last she got down to where I was murdered I says: “Who done it? We’ve heard considerable about these goings on down in Hookerville, but we don’t know who ’twas that killed Huck Finn.” “Well, I reckon there’s a right smart chance of people _here_ that’d like to know who killed him Some think old Finn done it himself.” “No–is that so?” “Most everybody thought it at first He’ll never know how nigh he come to getting lynched But before night they changed around and judged it was done by a runaway nigger named Jim.” “Why _he_–” I stopped I reckoned I better keep still She run on, and never noticed I had put in at all: “The nigger run off the very night Huck Finn was killed So there’s a reward out for him–three hundred dollars And there’s a reward out for old Finn, too–two hundred dollars You see, he come to town the morning after the murder, and told about it, and was out with ’em on the ferryboat hunt, and right away after he up and left Before night they wanted to lynch him, but he was gone, you see Well, next day they found out the nigger was gone; they found out he hadn’t ben seen sence ten o’clock the night the murder was done So then they put it on him, you see; and while they was full of it, next day, back comes old Finn, and went boo-hooing to Judge Thatcher to get money to hunt for the nigger all over Illinois with The judge gave him some, and that evening he got drunk, and was around till after midnight with a couple of mighty hard-looking strangers, and then went off with them Well, he hain’t come back sence, and they ain’t looking for him back till this thing blows over a little, for people thinks now that he killed his boy and fixed things so folks would think robbers done it, and then he’d get Huck’s money without having to bother a long time with a lawsuit People do say he warn’t any too good to do it Oh, he’s sly, I reckon If he don’t come back for a year he’ll be all right You can’t prove anything on him, you know; everything will be quieted down then, and he’ll walk in Huck’s money as easy as nothing.”

“Yes, I reckon so, ‘m I don’t see nothing in the way of it Has everybody quit thinking the nigger done it?” “Oh, no, not everybody A good many thinks he done it But they’ll get the nigger pretty soon now, and maybe they can scare it out of him.” “Why, are they after him yet?” “Well, you’re innocent, ain’t you! Does three hundred dollars lay around every day for people to pick up? Some folks think the nigger ain’t far from here I’m one of them–but I hain’t talked it around A few days ago I was talking with an old couple that lives next door in the log shanty, and they happened to say hardly anybody ever goes to that island over yonder that they call Jackson’s Island Don’t anybody live there? says I No, nobody, says they I didn’t say any more, but I done some thinking I was pretty near certain I’d seen smoke over there, about the head of the island, a day or two before that, so I says to myself, like as not that nigger’s hiding over there; anyway, says I, it’s worth the trouble to give the place a hunt I hain’t seen any smoke sence, so I reckon maybe he’s gone, if it was him; but husband’s going over to see–him and another man He was gone up the river; but he got back to-day, and I told him as soon as he got here two hours ago.” I had got so uneasy I couldn’t set still I had to do something with my hands; so I took up a needle off of the table and went to threading it My hands shook, and I was making a bad job of it When the woman stopped talking I looked up, and she was looking at me pretty curious and smiling a little I put down the needle and thread, and let on to be interested–and I was, too–and says: “Three hundred dollars is a power of money I wish my mother could get it Is your husband going over there to-night?” “Oh, yes He went up-town with the man I was telling you of, to get a boat and see if they could borrow another gun They’ll go over after midnight.” “Couldn’t they see better if they was to wait till daytime?” “Yes And couldn’t the nigger see better, too? After midnight he’ll likely be asleep, and they can slip around through the woods and hunt up his camp fire all the better for the dark, if he’s got one.” “I didn’t think of that.” The woman kept looking at me pretty curious, and I didn’t feel a bit comfortable Pretty soon she says, “What did you say your name was, honey?” “M–Mary Williams.” Somehow it didn’t seem to me that I said it was Mary before, so I didn’t look up–seemed to me I said it was Sarah; so I felt sort of cornered, and was afeared maybe I was looking it, too I wished the woman would say something more; the longer she set still the uneasier I was But now she says: “Honey, I thought you said it was Sarah when you first come in?” “Oh, yes’m, I did Sarah Mary Williams Sarah’s my first name Some calls me Sarah, some calls me Mary.” “Oh, that’s the way of it?” “Yes’m.” I was feeling better then, but I wished I was out of there, anyway I couldn’t look up yet Well, the woman fell to talking about how hard times was, and how poor they had to live, and how the rats was as free as if they owned the place, and so forth and so on, and then I got easy again She was right about the rats You’d see one stick his nose out of a hole in the corner every little while She said she had to have things handy to throw at them when she was alone, or they wouldn’t give her no peace She showed me a bar of lead twisted up into a knot, and said she was a good shot with it generly, but she’d wrenched her arm a day or two ago, and didn’t know whether she could throw true now But she watched for a chance, and directly banged away at a rat; but she missed him wide, and said “Ouch!” it hurt her arm so Then she told me to try for the next one I wanted to be getting away before the old man got back, but of course I didn’t let on I got the thing, and the first rat that showed his nose I let drive, and if he’d a stayed where he was he’d a been a tolerable sick rat She said that was first-rate, and she reckoned I would hive the next one She went and got the lump of lead and fetched it back, and brought along a hank of yarn which she wanted me to help her with

I held up my two hands and she put the hank over them, and went on talking about her and her husband’s matters But she broke off to say: “Keep your eye on the rats You better have the lead in your lap, handy.” So she dropped the lump into my lap just at that moment, and I clapped my legs together on it and she went on talking But only about a minute Then she took off the hank and looked me straight in the face, and very pleasant, and says: “Come, now, what’s your real name?” “Wh–what, mum?” “What’s your real name? Is it Bill, or Tom, or Bob?–or what is it?” I reckon I shook like a leaf, and I didn’t know hardly what to do But I says: “Please to don’t poke fun at a poor girl like me, mum If I’m in the way here, I’ll–” “No, you won’t Set down and stay where you are I ain’t going to hurt you, and I ain’t going to tell on you, nuther You just tell me your secret, and trust me I’ll keep it; and, what’s more, I’ll help you So’ll my old man if you want him to You see, you’re a runaway ‘prentice, that’s all It ain’t anything There ain’t no harm in it You’ve been treated bad, and you made up your mind to cut Bless you, child, I wouldn’t tell on you Tell me all about it now, that’s a good boy.” So I said it wouldn’t be no use to try to play it any longer, and I would just make a clean breast and tell her everything, but she musn’t go back on her promise Then I told her my father and mother was dead, and the law had bound me out to a mean old farmer in the country thirty mile back from the river, and he treated me so bad I couldn’t stand it no longer; he went away to be gone a couple of days, and so I took my chance and stole some of his daughter’s old clothes and cleared out, and I had been three nights coming the thirty miles I traveled nights, and hid daytimes and slept, and the bag of bread and meat I carried from home lasted me all the way, and I had a-plenty I said I believed my uncle Abner Moore would take care of me, and so that was why I struck out for this town of Goshen “Goshen, child? This ain’t Goshen This is St. Petersburg Goshen’s ten mile further up the river Who told you this was Goshen?” “Why, a man I met at daybreak this morning, just as I was going to turn into the woods for my regular sleep He told me when the roads forked I must take the right hand, and five mile would fetch me to Goshen.” “He was drunk, I reckon He told you just exactly wrong.” “Well, he did act like he was drunk, but it ain’t no matter now I got to be moving along I’ll fetch Goshen before daylight.” “Hold on a minute I’ll put you up a snack to eat You might want it.” So she put me up a snack, and says: “Say, when a cow’s laying down, which end of her gets up first? Answer up prompt now–don’t stop to study over it Which end gets up first?” “The hind end, mum.” “Well, then, a horse?” “The for’rard end, mum.” “Which side of a tree does the moss grow on?” “North side.” “If fifteen cows is browsing on a hillside, how many of them eats with their heads pointed the same direction?” “The whole fifteen, mum.” “Well, I reckon you _have_ lived in the country I thought maybe you was trying to hocus me again What’s your real name, now?” “George Peters, mum.” “Well, try to remember it, George Don’t forget and tell me it’s Elexander before you go, and then get out by saying it’s George Elexander when I catch you And don’t go about women in that old calico You do a girl tolerable poor, but you might fool men, maybe Bless you, child, when you set out to thread a needle don’t hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that’s the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t’other way And when you throw at a rat or anything, hitch yourself up a tiptoe and fetch your hand up over your head as awkward as you can, and miss your rat about six or seven foot Throw stiff-armed from the shoulder, like there was a pivot there for it to turn on, like a girl; not from the wrist and elbow, with your arm out to one side, like a boy And, mind you, when a girl tries to catch anything in her lap she throws her knees apart; she don’t clap them together, the way you did when you catched the lump of lead

Why, I spotted you for a boy when you was threading the needle; and I contrived the other things just to make certain Now trot along to your uncle, Sarah Mary Williams George Elexander Peters, and if you get into trouble you send word to Mrs. Judith Loftus, which is me, and I’ll do what I can to get you out of it Keep the river road all the way, and next time you tramp take shoes and socks with you The river road’s a rocky one, and your feet’ll be in a condition when you get to Goshen, I reckon.” I went up the bank about fifty yards, and then I doubled on my tracks and slipped back to where my canoe was, a good piece below the house I jumped in, and was off in a hurry I went up-stream far enough to make the head of the island, and then started across I took off the sun-bonnet, for I didn’t want no blinders on then When I was about the middle I heard the clock begin to strike, so I stops and listens; the sound come faint over the water but clear–eleven When I struck the head of the island I never waited to blow, though I was most winded, but I shoved right into the timber where my old camp used to be, and started a good fire there on a high and dry spot Then I jumped in the canoe and dug out for our place, a mile and a half below, as hard as I could go I landed, and slopped through the timber and up the ridge and into the cavern There Jim laid, sound asleep on the ground I roused him out and says: “Git up and hump yourself, Jim! There ain’t a minute to lose They’re after us!” Jim never asked no questions, he never said a word; but the way he worked for the next half an hour showed about how he was scared By that time everything we had in the world was on our raft, and she was ready to be shoved out from the willow cove where she was hid We put out the camp fire at the cavern the first thing, and didn’t show a candle outside after that I took the canoe out from the shore a little piece, and took a look; but if there was a boat around I couldn’t see it, for stars and shadows ain’t good to see by Then we got out the raft and slipped along down in the shade, past the foot of the island dead still–never saying a word CHAPTER XII IT must a been close on to one o’clock when we got below the island at last, and the raft did seem to go mighty slow If a boat was to come along we was going to take to the canoe and break for the Illinois shore; and it was well a boat didn’t come, for we hadn’t ever thought to put the gun in the canoe, or a fishing-line, or anything to eat We was in ruther too much of a sweat to think of so many things It warn’t good judgment to put _everything_ on the raft If the men went to the island I just expect they found the camp fire I built, and watched it all night for Jim to come Anyways, they stayed away from us, and if my building the fire never fooled them it warn’t no fault of mine I played it as low down on them as I could When the first streak of day began to show we tied up to a towhead in a big bend on the Illinois side, and hacked off cottonwood branches with the hatchet, and covered up the raft with them so she looked like there had been a cave-in in the bank there A tow-head is a sandbar that has cottonwoods on it as thick as harrow-teeth We had mountains on the Missouri shore and heavy timber on the Illinois side, and the channel was down the Missouri shore at that place, so we warn’t afraid of anybody running across us We laid there all day, and watched the rafts and steamboats spin down the Missouri shore, and up-bound steamboats fight the big river in the middle I told Jim all about the time I had jabbering with that woman; and Jim said she was a smart one, and if she was to start after us herself she wouldn’t set down and watch a camp fire–no, sir, she’d fetch a dog Well, then, I said, why couldn’t she tell her husband to fetch a dog? Jim said he bet she did think of it by the time the men was ready to start, and he believed they must a gone up-town to get a dog and so they lost all that time, or else we wouldn’t be here on a towhead

sixteen or seventeen mile below the village–no, indeedy, we would be in that same old town again So I said I didn’t care what was the reason they didn’t get us as long as they didn’t When it was beginning to come on dark we poked our heads out of the cottonwood thicket, and looked up and down and across; nothing in sight; so Jim took up some of the top planks of the raft and built a snug wigwam to get under in blazing weather and rainy, and to keep the things dry Jim made a floor for the wigwam, and raised it a foot or more above the level of the raft, so now the blankets and all the traps was out of reach of steamboat waves Right in the middle of the wigwam we made a layer of dirt about five or six inches deep with a frame around it for to hold it to its place; this was to build a fire on in sloppy weather or chilly; the wigwam would keep it from being seen We made an extra steering-oar, too, because one of the others might get broke on a snag or something We fixed up a short forked stick to hang the old lantern on, because we must always light the lantern whenever we see a steamboat coming down-stream, to keep from getting run over; but we wouldn’t have to light it for up-stream boats unless we see we was in what they call a “crossing”; for the river was pretty high yet, very low banks being still a little under water; so up-bound boats didn’t always run the channel, but hunted easy water This second night we run between seven and eight hours, with a current that was making over four mile an hour We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big, still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn’t ever feel like talking loud, and it warn’t often that we laughed–only a little kind of a low chuckle We had mighty good weather as a general thing, and nothing ever happened to us at all–that night, nor the next, nor the next Every night we passed towns, some of them away up on black hillsides, nothing but just a shiny bed of lights; not a house could you see The fifth night we passed St. Louis, and it was like the whole world lit up In St. Petersburg they used to say there was twenty or thirty thousand people in St. Louis, but I never believed it till I see that wonderful spread of lights at two o’clock that still night There warn’t a sound there; everybody was asleep Every night now I used to slip ashore towards ten o’clock at some little village, and buy ten or fifteen cents’ worth of meal or bacon or other stuff to eat; and sometimes I lifted a chicken that warn’t roosting comfortable, and took him along Pap always said, take a chicken when you get a chance, because if you don’t want him yourself you can easy find somebody that does, and a good deed ain’t ever forgot I never see pap when he didn’t want the chicken himself, but that is what he used to say, anyway Mornings before daylight I slipped into cornfields and borrowed a watermelon, or a mushmelon, or a punkin, or some new corn, or things of that kind Pap always said it warn’t no harm to borrow things if you was meaning to pay them back some time; but the widow said it warn’t anything but a soft name for stealing, and no decent body would do it Jim said he reckoned the widow was partly right and pap was partly right; so the best way would be for us to pick out two or three things from the list and say we wouldn’t borrow them any more–then he reckoned it wouldn’t be no harm to borrow the others So we talked it over all one night, drifting along down the river, trying to make up our minds whether to drop the watermelons, or the cantelopes, or the mushmelons, or what But towards daylight we got it all settled satisfactory, and concluded to drop crabapples and p’simmons We warn’t feeling just right before that, but it was all comfortable now I was glad the way it come out, too, because crabapples ain’t ever good, and the p’simmons wouldn’t be ripe for two or three months yet We shot a water-fowl now and then that got up too early in the morning or didn’t go to bed early enough in the evening Take it all round, we lived pretty high The fifth night below St. Louis we had a big storm after midnight, with a power of thunder and lightning, and the rain poured down in a solid

sheet We stayed in the wigwam and let the raft take care of itself When the lightning glared out we could see a big straight river ahead, and high, rocky bluffs on both sides By and by says I, “Hel-_lo_, Jim, looky yonder!” It was a steamboat that had killed herself on a rock We was drifting straight down for her The lightning showed her very distinct She was leaning over, with part of her upper deck above water, and you could see every little chimbly-guy clean and clear, and a chair by the big bell, with an old slouch hat hanging on the back of it, when the flashes come Well, it being away in the night and stormy, and all so mysterious-like, I felt just the way any other boy would a felt when I see that wreck laying there so mournful and lonesome in the middle of the river I wanted to get aboard of her and slink around a little, and see what there was there So I says: “Le’s land on her, Jim.” But Jim was dead against it at first He says: “I doan’ want to go fool’n ‘long er no wrack We’s doin’ blame’ well, en we better let blame’ well alone, as de good book says Like as not dey’s a watchman on dat wrack.” “Watchman your grandmother,” I says; “there ain’t nothing to watch but the texas and the pilot-house; and do you reckon anybody’s going to resk his life for a texas and a pilot-house such a night as this, when it’s likely to break up and wash off down the river any minute?” Jim couldn’t say nothing to that, so he didn’t try “And besides,” I says, “we might borrow something worth having out of the captain’s stateroom Seegars, I bet you–and cost five cents apiece, solid cash Steamboat captains is always rich, and get sixty dollars a month, and _they_ don’t care a cent what a thing costs, you know, long as they want it Stick a candle in your pocket; I can’t rest, Jim, till we give her a rummaging Do you reckon Tom Sawyer would ever go by this thing? Not for pie, he wouldn’t He’d call it an adventure–that’s what he’d call it; and he’d land on that wreck if it was his last act And wouldn’t he throw style into it?–wouldn’t he spread himself, nor nothing? Why, you’d think it was Christopher C’lumbus discovering Kingdom-Come I wish Tom Sawyer _was_ here.” Jim he grumbled a little, but give in He said we mustn’t talk any more than we could help, and then talk mighty low The lightning showed us the wreck again just in time, and we fetched the stabboard derrick, and made fast there The deck was high out here We went sneaking down the slope of it to labboard, in the dark, towards the texas, feeling our way slow with our feet, and spreading our hands out to fend off the guys, for it was so dark we couldn’t see no sign of them Pretty soon we struck the forward end of the skylight, and clumb on to it; and the next step fetched us in front of the captain’s door, which was open, and by Jimminy, away down through the texas-hall we see a light! and all in the same second we seem to hear low voices in yonder! Jim whispered and said he was feeling powerful sick, and told me to come along I says, all right, and was going to start for the raft; but just then I heard a voice wail out and say: “Oh, please don’t, boys; I swear I won’t ever tell!” Another voice said, pretty loud: “It’s a lie, Jim Turner You’ve acted this way before You always want more’n your share of the truck, and you’ve always got it, too, because you’ve swore ‘t if you didn’t you’d tell But this time you’ve said it jest one time too many You’re the meanest, treacherousest hound in this country.” By this time Jim was gone for the raft I was just a-biling with curiosity; and I says to myself, Tom Sawyer wouldn’t back out now, and so I won’t either; I’m a-going to see what’s going on here So I dropped on my hands and knees in the little passage, and crept aft in the dark till there warn’t but one stateroom betwixt me and the cross-hall of the texas Then in there I see a man stretched on the floor and tied hand and foot, and two men standing over him, and one of them had a dim lantern in his hand, and the other one had a pistol This one kept pointing the pistol at the man’s head on the floor, and

saying: “I’d _like_ to! And I orter, too–a mean skunk!” The man on the floor would shrivel up and say, “Oh, please don’t, Bill; I hain’t ever goin’ to tell.” And every time he said that the man with the lantern would laugh and say: “’Deed you _ain’t!_ You never said no truer thing ‘n that, you bet you.” And once he said: “Hear him beg! and yit if we hadn’t got the best of him and tied him he’d a killed us both And what _for_? Jist for noth’n Jist because we stood on our _rights_–that’s what for But I lay you ain’t a-goin’ to threaten nobody any more, Jim Turner Put _up_ that pistol, Bill.” Bill says: “I don’t want to, Jake Packard I’m for killin’ him–and didn’t he kill old Hatfield jist the same way–and don’t he deserve it?” “But I don’t _want_ him killed, and I’ve got my reasons for it.” “Bless yo’ heart for them words, Jake Packard! I’ll never forgit you long’s I live!” says the man on the floor, sort of blubbering Packard didn’t take no notice of that, but hung up his lantern on a nail and started towards where I was there in the dark, and motioned Bill to come I crawfished as fast as I could about two yards, but the boat slanted so that I couldn’t make very good time; so to keep from getting run over and catched I crawled into a stateroom on the upper side The man came a-pawing along in the dark, and when Packard got to my stateroom, he says: “Here–come in here.” And in he come, and Bill after him But before they got in I was up in the upper berth, cornered, and sorry I come Then they stood there, with their hands on the ledge of the berth, and talked I couldn’t see them, but I could tell where they was by the whisky they’d been having I was glad I didn’t drink whisky; but it wouldn’t made much difference anyway, because most of the time they couldn’t a treed me because I didn’t breathe I was too scared And, besides, a body _couldn’t_ breathe and hear such talk They talked low and earnest Bill wanted to kill Turner He says: “He’s said he’ll tell, and he will If we was to give both our shares to him _now_ it wouldn’t make no difference after the row and the way we’ve served him Shore’s you’re born, he’ll turn State’s evidence; now you hear _me_ I’m for putting him out of his troubles.” “So’m I,” says Packard, very quiet “Blame it, I’d sorter begun to think you wasn’t Well, then, that’s all right Le’s go and do it.” “Hold on a minute; I hain’t had my say yit You listen to me Shooting’s good, but there’s quieter ways if the thing’s _got_ to be done But what I say is this: it ain’t good sense to go court’n around after a halter if you can git at what you’re up to in some way that’s jist as good and at the same time don’t bring you into no resks Ain’t that so?” “You bet it is But how you goin’ to manage it this time?” “Well, my idea is this: we’ll rustle around and gather up whatever pickins we’ve overlooked in the staterooms, and shove for shore and hide the truck Then we’ll wait Now I say it ain’t a-goin’ to be more’n two hours befo’ this wrack breaks up and washes off down the river See? He’ll be drownded, and won’t have nobody to blame for it but his own self I reckon that’s a considerble sight better ‘n killin’ of him I’m unfavorable to killin’ a man as long as you can git aroun’ it; it ain’t good sense, it ain’t good morals Ain’t I right?” “Yes, I reck’n you are But s’pose she _don’t_ break up and wash off?” “Well, we can wait the two hours anyway and see, can’t we?” “All right, then; come along.” So they started, and I lit out, all in a cold sweat, and scrambled forward It was dark as pitch there; but I said, in a kind of a coarse whisper, “Jim!” and he answered up, right at my elbow, with a sort of a moan, and I says: “Quick, Jim, it ain’t no time for fooling around and moaning; there’s a gang of murderers in yonder, and if we don’t hunt up their boat and set her drifting down the river so these fellows can’t get away from the wreck there’s one of ’em going to be in a bad fix But if we find their boat we can put _all_ of ’em in a bad fix–for the sheriff ‘ll get ’em Quick–hurry!

I’ll hunt the labboard side, you hunt the stabboard You start at the raft, and–” “Oh, my lordy, lordy! _raf’_? Dey ain’ no raf’ no mo’; she done broke loose en gone I–en here we is!” CHAPTER XIII WELL, I catched my breath and most fainted Shut up on a wreck with such a gang as that! But it warn’t no time to be sentimentering We’d _got_ to find that boat now–had to have it for ourselves So we went a-quaking and shaking down the stabboard side, and slow work it was, too–seemed a week before we got to the stern No sign of a boat Jim said he didn’t believe he could go any further–so scared he hadn’t hardly any strength left, he said But I said, come on, if we get left on this wreck we are in a fix, sure So on we prowled again We struck for the stern of the texas, and found it, and then scrabbled along forwards on the skylight, hanging on from shutter to shutter, for the edge of the skylight was in the water When we got pretty close to the cross-hall door there was the skiff, sure enough! I could just barely see her I felt ever so thankful In another second I would a been aboard of her, but just then the door opened One of the men stuck his head out only about a couple of foot from me, and I thought I was gone; but he jerked it in again, and says: “Heave that blame lantern out o’ sight, Bill!” He flung a bag of something into the boat, and then got in himself and set down It was Packard Then Bill _he_ come out and got in Packard says, in a low voice: “All ready–shove off!” I couldn’t hardly hang on to the shutters, I was so weak But Bill says: “Hold on–‘d you go through him?” “No Didn’t you?” “No So he’s got his share o’ the cash yet.” “Well, then, come along; no use to take truck and leave money.” “Say, won’t he suspicion what we’re up to?” “Maybe he won’t But we got to have it anyway Come along.” So they got out and went in The door slammed to because it was on the careened side; and in a half second I was in the boat, and Jim come tumbling after me I out with my knife and cut the rope, and away we went! We didn’t touch an oar, and we didn’t speak nor whisper, nor hardly even breathe We went gliding swift along, dead silent, past the tip of the paddle-box, and past the stern; then in a second or two more we was a hundred yards below the wreck, and the darkness soaked her up, every last sign of her, and we was safe, and knowed it When we was three or four hundred yards down-stream we see the lantern show like a little spark at the texas door for a second, and we knowed by that that the rascals had missed their boat, and was beginning to understand that they was in just as much trouble now as Jim Turner was Then Jim manned the oars, and we took out after our raft Now was the first time that I begun to worry about the men–I reckon I hadn’t had time to before I begun to think how dreadful it was, even for murderers, to be in such a fix I says to myself, there ain’t no telling but I might come to be a murderer myself yet, and then how would I like it? So says I to Jim: “The first light we see we’ll land a hundred yards below it or above it, in a place where it’s a good hiding-place for you and the skiff, and then I’ll go and fix up some kind of a yarn, and get somebody to go for that gang and get them out of their scrape, so they can be hung when their time comes.” But that idea was a failure; for pretty soon it begun to storm again, and this time worse than ever The rain poured down, and never a light showed; everybody in bed, I reckon We boomed along down the river, watching for lights and watching for our raft After a long time the rain let up, but the clouds stayed, and the

lightning kept whimpering, and by and by a flash showed us a black thing ahead, floating, and we made for it It was the raft, and mighty glad was we to get aboard of it again We seen a light now away down to the right, on shore So I said I would go for it The skiff was half full of plunder which that gang had stole there on the wreck We hustled it on to the raft in a pile, and I told Jim to float along down, and show a light when he judged he had gone about two mile, and keep it burning till I come; then I manned my oars and shoved for the light As I got down towards it three or four more showed–up on a hillside It was a village I closed in above the shore light, and laid on my oars and floated As I went by I see it was a lantern hanging on the jackstaff of a double-hull ferryboat I skimmed around for the watchman, a-wondering whereabouts he slept; and by and by I found him roosting on the bitts forward, with his head down between his knees I gave his shoulder two or three little shoves, and begun to cry He stirred up in a kind of a startlish way; but when he see it was only me he took a good gap and stretch, and then he says: “Hello, what’s up? Don’t cry, bub What’s the trouble?” I says: “Pap, and mam, and sis, and–” Then I broke down He says: “Oh, dang it now, _don’t_ take on so; we all has to have our troubles, and this ‘n ‘ll come out all right What’s the matter with ’em?” “They’re–they’re–are you the watchman of the boat?” “Yes,” he says, kind of pretty-well-satisfied like “I’m the captain and the owner and the mate and the pilot and watchman and head deck-hand; and sometimes I’m the freight and passengers I ain’t as rich as old Jim Hornback, and I can’t be so blame’ generous and good to Tom, Dick, and Harry as what he is, and slam around money the way he does; but I’ve told him a many a time ‘t I wouldn’t trade places with him; for, says I, a sailor’s life’s the life for me, and I’m derned if _I’d_ live two mile out o’ town, where there ain’t nothing ever goin’ on, not for all his spondulicks and as much more on top of it Says I–” I broke in and says: “They’re in an awful peck of trouble, and–” “_Who_ is?” “Why, pap and mam and sis and Miss Hooker; and if you’d take your ferryboat and go up there–” “Up where? Where are they?” “On the wreck.” “What wreck?” “Why, there ain’t but one.” “What, you don’t mean the Walter Scott?” “Yes.” “Good land! what are they doin’ _there_, for gracious sakes?” “Well, they didn’t go there a-purpose.” “I bet they didn’t! Why, great goodness, there ain’t no chance for ’em if they don’t git off mighty quick! Why, how in the nation did they ever git into such a scrape?” “Easy enough Miss Hooker was a-visiting up there to the town–” “Yes, Booth’s Landing–go on.” “She was a-visiting there at Booth’s Landing, and just in the edge of the evening she started over with her nigger woman in the horse-ferry to stay all night at her friend’s house, Miss What-you-may-call-her I disremember her name–and they lost their steering-oar, and swung around and went a-floating down, stern first, about two mile, and saddle-baggsed on the wreck, and the ferryman and the nigger woman and the horses was all lost, but Miss Hooker she made a grab and got aboard the wreck Well, about an hour after dark we come along down in our trading-scow, and it was so dark we didn’t notice the wreck till we was right on it; and so _we_ saddle-baggsed; but all of us was saved but Bill Whipple–and oh, he _was_ the best cretur!–I most wish ‘t it had been me, I do.” “My George! It’s the beatenest thing I ever struck And _then_ what did you all do?” “Well, we hollered and took on, but it’s so wide there we couldn’t make nobody hear So pap said somebody got to get ashore and get help somehow I was the only one that could swim, so I made a dash for it, and Miss Hooker she said if I didn’t strike help sooner, come here and hunt up her uncle, and he’d fix the thing I made the land about a mile below, and been fooling along ever since, trying to get people to do something, but they said, ‘What, in such a night and such a current? There ain’t no sense in it; go for the steam ferry.’ Now if you’ll go and–” “By Jackson, I’d _like_ to, and, blame it, I don’t know but I will; but who in the dingnation’s a-going’ to _pay_ for it?

Do you reckon your pap–” “Why _that’s_ all right Miss Hooker she tole me, _particular_, that her uncle Hornback–” “Great guns! is _he_ her uncle? Looky here, you break for that light over yonder-way, and turn out west when you git there, and about a quarter of a mile out you’ll come to the tavern; tell ’em to dart you out to Jim Hornback’s, and he’ll foot the bill And don’t you fool around any, because he’ll want to know the news Tell him I’ll have his niece all safe before he can get to town Hump yourself, now; I’m a-going up around the corner here to roust out my engineer.” I struck for the light, but as soon as he turned the corner I went back and got into my skiff and bailed her out, and then pulled up shore in the easy water about six hundred yards, and tucked myself in among some woodboats; for I couldn’t rest easy till I could see the ferryboat start But take it all around, I was feeling ruther comfortable on accounts of taking all this trouble for that gang, for not many would a done it I wished the widow knowed about it I judged she would be proud of me for helping these rapscallions, because rapscallions and dead beats is the kind the widow and good people takes the most interest in Well, before long here comes the wreck, dim and dusky, sliding along down! A kind of cold shiver went through me, and then I struck out for her She was very deep, and I see in a minute there warn’t much chance for anybody being alive in her I pulled all around her and hollered a little, but there wasn’t any answer; all dead still I felt a little bit heavy-hearted about the gang, but not much, for I reckoned if they could stand it I could Then here comes the ferryboat; so I shoved for the middle of the river on a long down-stream slant; and when I judged I was out of eye-reach I laid on my oars, and looked back and see her go and smell around the wreck for Miss Hooker’s remainders, because the captain would know her uncle Hornback would want them; and then pretty soon the ferryboat give it up and went for the shore, and I laid into my work and went a-booming down the river It did seem a powerful long time before Jim’s light showed up; and when it did show it looked like it was a thousand mile off By the time I got there the sky was beginning to get a little gray in the east; so we struck for an island, and hid the raft, and sunk the skiff, and turned in and slept like dead people CHAPTER XIV BY and by, when we got up, we turned over the truck the gang had stole off of the wreck, and found boots, and blankets, and clothes, and all sorts of other things, and a lot of books, and a spyglass, and three boxes of seegars We hadn’t ever been this rich before in neither of our lives The seegars was prime We laid off all the afternoon in the woods talking, and me reading the books, and having a general good time I told Jim all about what happened inside the wreck and at the ferryboat, and I said these kinds of things was adventures; but he said he didn’t want no more adventures He said that when I went in the texas and he crawled back to get on the raft and found her gone he nearly died, because he judged it was all up with _him_ anyway it could be fixed; for if he didn’t get saved he would get drownded; and if he did get saved, whoever saved him would send him back home so as to get the reward, and then Miss Watson would sell him South, sure Well, he was right; he was most always right; he had an uncommon level head for a nigger I read considerable to Jim about kings and dukes and earls and such, and how gaudy they dressed, and how much style they put on, and called each other your majesty, and your grace, and your lordship, and so on, ‘stead of mister; and Jim’s eyes bugged out, and he was interested He says: “I didn’ know dey was so many un um I hain’t hearn ’bout none un um, skasely, but ole King Sollermun, onless you counts dem kings dat’s in a pack er k’yards

How much do a king git?” “Get?” I says; “why, they get a thousand dollars a month if they want it; they can have just as much as they want; everything belongs to them.” “_Ain’_ dat gay? En what dey got to do, Huck?” “_They_ don’t do nothing! Why, how you talk! They just set around.” “No; is dat so?” “Of course it is They just set around–except, maybe, when there’s a war; then they go to the war But other times they just lazy around; or go hawking–just hawking and sp–Sh!–d’ you hear a noise?” We skipped out and looked; but it warn’t nothing but the flutter of a steamboat’s wheel away down, coming around the point; so we come back “Yes,” says I, “and other times, when things is dull, they fuss with the parlyment; and if everybody don’t go just so he whacks their heads off But mostly they hang round the harem.” “Roun’ de which?” “Harem.” “What’s de harem?” “The place where he keeps his wives Don’t you know about the harem? Solomon had one; he had about a million wives.” “Why, yes, dat’s so; I–I’d done forgot it A harem’s a bo’d’n-house, I reck’n Mos’ likely dey has rackety times in de nussery En I reck’n de wives quarrels considable; en dat ‘crease de racket Yit dey say Sollermun de wises’ man dat ever live’ I doan’ take no stock in dat Bekase why: would a wise man want to live in de mids’ er sich a blim-blammin’ all de time? No–‘deed he wouldn’t A wise man ‘ud take en buil’ a biler-factry; en den he could shet _down_ de biler-factry when he want to res’.” “Well, but he _was_ the wisest man, anyway; because the widow she told me so, her own self.” “I doan k’yer what de widder say, he _warn’t_ no wise man nuther He had some er de dad-fetchedes’ ways I ever see Does you know ’bout dat chile dat he ‘uz gwyne to chop in two?” “Yes, the widow told me all about it.” “_Well_, den! Warn’ dat de beatenes’ notion in de worl’? You jes’ take en look at it a minute Dah’s de stump, dah–dat’s one er de women; heah’s you–dat’s de yuther one; I’s Sollermun; en dish yer dollar bill’s de chile Bofe un you claims it What does I do? Does I shin aroun’ mongs’ de neighbors en fine out which un you de bill _do_ b’long to, en han’ it over to de right one, all safe en soun’, de way dat anybody dat had any gumption would? No; I take en whack de bill in _two_, en give half un it to you, en de yuther half to de yuther woman Dat’s de way Sollermun was gwyne to do wid de chile Now I want to ast you: what’s de use er dat half a bill?–can’t buy noth’n wid it En what use is a half a chile? I wouldn’ give a dern for a million un um.” “But hang it, Jim, you’ve clean missed the point–blame it, you’ve missed it a thousand mile.” “Who? Me? Go ‘long Doan’ talk to me ’bout yo’ pints I reck’n I knows sense when I sees it; en dey ain’ no sense in sich doin’s as dat De ‘spute warn’t ’bout a half a chile, de ‘spute was ’bout a whole chile; en de man dat think he kin settle a ‘spute ’bout a whole chile wid a half a chile doan’ know enough to come in out’n de rain Doan’ talk to me ’bout Sollermun, Huck, I knows him by de back.” “But I tell you you don’t get the point.” “Blame de point! I reck’n I knows what I knows En mine you, de _real_ pint is down furder–it’s down deeper It lays in de way Sollermun was raised You take a man dat’s got on’y one or two chillen; is dat man gwyne to be waseful o’ chillen? No, he ain’t; he can’t ‘ford it _He_ know how to value ’em But you take a man dat’s got ’bout five million chillen runnin’ roun’ de house, en it’s diffunt _He_ as soon chop a chile in two as a cat Dey’s plenty mo’ A chile er two, mo’ er less, warn’t no consekens to Sollermun, dad fatch him!” I never see such a nigger

If he got a notion in his head once, there warn’t no getting it out again He was the most down on Solomon of any nigger I ever see So I went to talking about other kings, and let Solomon slide I told about Louis Sixteenth that got his head cut off in France long time ago; and about his little boy the dolphin, that would a been a king, but they took and shut him up in jail, and some say he died there “Po’ little chap.” “But some says he got out and got away, and come to America.” “Dat’s good! But he’ll be pooty lonesome–dey ain’ no kings here, is dey, Huck?” “No.” “Den he cain’t git no situation What he gwyne to do?” “Well, I don’t know Some of them gets on the police, and some of them learns people how to talk French.” “Why, Huck, doan’ de French people talk de same way we does?” “_No_, Jim; you couldn’t understand a word they said–not a single word.” “Well, now, I be ding-busted! How do dat come?” “I don’t know; but it’s so I got some of their jabber out of a book S’pose a man was to come to you and say Polly-voo-franzy–what would you think?” “I wouldn’ think nuff’n; I’d take en bust him over de head–dat is, if he warn’t white I wouldn’t ‘low no nigger to call me dat.” “Shucks, it ain’t calling you anything It’s only saying, do you know how to talk French?” “Well, den, why couldn’t he _say_ it?” “Why, he _is_ a-saying it That’s a Frenchman’s _way_ of saying it.” “Well, it’s a blame ridicklous way, en I doan’ want to hear no mo’ ’bout it Dey ain’ no sense in it.” “Looky here, Jim; does a cat talk like we do?” “No, a cat don’t.” “Well, does a cow?” “No, a cow don’t, nuther.” “Does a cat talk like a cow, or a cow talk like a cat?” “No, dey don’t.” “It’s natural and right for ’em to talk different from each other, ain’t it?” “Course.” “And ain’t it natural and right for a cat and a cow to talk different from _us_?” “Why, mos’ sholy it is.” “Well, then, why ain’t it natural and right for a _Frenchman_ to talk different from us? You answer me that.” “Is a cat a man, Huck?” “No.” “Well, den, dey ain’t no sense in a cat talkin’ like a man Is a cow a man?–er is a cow a cat?” “No, she ain’t either of them.” “Well, den, she ain’t got no business to talk like either one er the yuther of ’em Is a Frenchman a man?” “Yes.” “_Well_, den! Dad blame it, why doan’ he _talk_ like a man? You answer me _dat_!” I see it warn’t no use wasting words–you can’t learn a nigger to argue So I quit CHAPTER XV WE judged that three nights more would fetch us to Cairo, at the bottom of Illinois, where the Ohio River comes in, and that was what we was after We would sell the raft and get on a steamboat and go way up the Ohio amongst the free States, and then be out of trouble Well, the second night a fog begun to come on, and we made for a towhead to tie to, for it wouldn’t do to try to run in a fog; but when I paddled ahead in the canoe, with the line to make fast, there warn’t anything but little saplings to tie to I passed the line around one of them right on the edge of the cut bank, but there was a stiff current, and the raft come booming down so lively she tore it out by the roots and away she went I see the fog closing down, and it made me so sick and scared I couldn’t budge for most a half a minute it seemed to me–and then there warn’t no raft in sight; you couldn’t see twenty yards I jumped into the canoe and run back to the stern, and grabbed the paddle and set her back a stroke But she didn’t come I was in such a hurry I hadn’t untied her I got up and tried to untie her, but I was so excited my hands shook so I couldn’t hardly do anything with them As soon as I got started I took out after the raft, hot and heavy, right

down the towhead That was all right as far as it went, but the towhead warn’t sixty yards long, and the minute I flew by the foot of it I shot out into the solid white fog, and hadn’t no more idea which way I was going than a dead man Thinks I, it won’t do to paddle; first I know I’ll run into the bank or a towhead or something; I got to set still and float, and yet it’s mighty fidgety business to have to hold your hands still at such a time I whooped and listened Away down there somewheres I hears a small whoop, and up comes my spirits I went tearing after it, listening sharp to hear it again The next time it come I see I warn’t heading for it, but heading away to the right of it And the next time I was heading away to the left of it–and not gaining on it much either, for I was flying around, this way and that and t’other, but it was going straight ahead all the time I did wish the fool would think to beat a tin pan, and beat it all the time, but he never did, and it was the still places between the whoops that was making the trouble for me Well, I fought along, and directly I hears the whoop _behind_ me I was tangled good now That was somebody else’s whoop, or else I was turned around I throwed the paddle down I heard the whoop again; it was behind me yet, but in a different place; it kept coming, and kept changing its place, and I kept answering, till by and by it was in front of me again, and I knowed the current had swung the canoe’s head down-stream, and I was all right if that was Jim and not some other raftsman hollering I couldn’t tell nothing about voices in a fog, for nothing don’t look natural nor sound natural in a fog The whooping went on, and in about a minute I come a-booming down on a cut bank with smoky ghosts of big trees on it, and the current throwed me off to the left and shot by, amongst a lot of snags that fairly roared, the currrent was tearing by them so swift In another second or two it was solid white and still again I set perfectly still then, listening to my heart thump, and I reckon I didn’t draw a breath while it thumped a hundred I just give up then I knowed what the matter was That cut bank was an island, and Jim had gone down t’other side of it It warn’t no towhead that you could float by in ten minutes It had the big timber of a regular island; it might be five or six miles long and more than half a mile wide I kept quiet, with my ears cocked, about fifteen minutes, I reckon I was floating along, of course, four or five miles an hour; but you don’t ever think of that No, you _feel_ like you are laying dead still on the water; and if a little glimpse of a snag slips by you don’t think to yourself how fast _you’re_ going, but you catch your breath and think, my! how that snag’s tearing along If you think it ain’t dismal and lonesome out in a fog that way by yourself in the night, you try it once–you’ll see Next, for about a half an hour, I whoops now and then; at last I hears the answer a long ways off, and tries to follow it, but I couldn’t do it, and directly I judged I’d got into a nest of towheads, for I had little dim glimpses of them on both sides of me–sometimes just a narrow channel between, and some that I couldn’t see I knowed was there because I’d hear the wash of the current against the old dead brush and trash that hung over the banks Well, I warn’t long loosing the whoops down amongst the towheads; and I only tried to chase them a little while, anyway, because it was worse than chasing a Jack-o’-lantern You never knowed a sound dodge around so, and swap places so quick and so much I had to claw away from the bank pretty lively four or five times, to keep from knocking the islands out of the river; and so I judged the raft must be butting into the bank every now and then, or else it would get further ahead and clear out of hearing–it was floating a little faster than what I was Well, I seemed to be in the open river again by and by, but I couldn’t hear no sign of a whoop nowheres I reckoned Jim had fetched up on a snag, maybe, and it was all up with him I was good and tired, so I laid down in the canoe and said I wouldn’t bother no more I didn’t want to go to sleep, of course; but I was

so sleepy I couldn’t help it; so I thought I would take jest one little cat-nap But I reckon it was more than a cat-nap, for when I waked up the stars was shining bright, the fog was all gone, and I was spinning down a big bend stern first First I didn’t know where I was; I thought I was dreaming; and when things began to come back to me they seemed to come up dim out of last week It was a monstrous big river here, with the tallest and the thickest kind of timber on both banks; just a solid wall, as well as I could see by the stars I looked away down-stream, and seen a black speck on the water I took after it; but when I got to it it warn’t nothing but a couple of sawlogs made fast together Then I see another speck, and chased that; then another, and this time I was right It was the raft When I got to it Jim was setting there with his head down between his knees, asleep, with his right arm hanging over the steering-oar The other oar was smashed off, and the raft was littered up with leaves and branches and dirt So she’d had a rough time I made fast and laid down under Jim’s nose on the raft, and began to gap, and stretch my fists out against Jim, and says: “Hello, Jim, have I been asleep? Why didn’t you stir me up?” “Goodness gracious, is dat you, Huck? En you ain’ dead–you ain’ drownded–you’s back agin? It’s too good for true, honey, it’s too good for true Lemme look at you chile, lemme feel o’ you No, you ain’ dead! you’s back agin, ‘live en soun’, jis de same ole Huck–de same ole Huck, thanks to goodness!” “What’s the matter with you, Jim? You been a-drinking?” “Drinkin’? Has I ben a-drinkin’? Has I had a chance to be a-drinkin’?” “Well, then, what makes you talk so wild?” “How does I talk wild?” “_How_? Why, hain’t you been talking about my coming back, and all that stuff, as if I’d been gone away?” “Huck–Huck Finn, you look me in de eye; look me in de eye _Hain’t_ you ben gone away?” “Gone away? Why, what in the nation do you mean? I hain’t been gone anywheres Where would I go to?” “Well, looky here, boss, dey’s sumf’n wrong, dey is Is I _me_, or who _is_ I? Is I heah, or whah _is_ I? Now dat’s what I wants to know.” “Well, I think you’re here, plain enough, but I think you’re a tangle-headed old fool, Jim.” “I is, is I? Well, you answer me dis: Didn’t you tote out de line in de canoe fer to make fas’ to de tow-head?” “No, I didn’t What tow-head? I hain’t see no tow-head.” “You hain’t seen no towhead? Looky here, didn’t de line pull loose en de raf’ go a-hummin’ down de river, en leave you en de canoe behine in de fog?” “What fog?” “Why, de fog!–de fog dat’s been aroun’ all night En didn’t you whoop, en didn’t I whoop, tell we got mix’ up in de islands en one un us got los’ en t’other one was jis’ as good as los’, ‘kase he didn’ know whah he wuz? En didn’t I bust up agin a lot er dem islands en have a turrible time en mos’ git drownded? Now ain’ dat so, boss–ain’t it so? You answer me dat.” “Well, this is too many for me, Jim I hain’t seen no fog, nor no islands, nor no troubles, nor nothing I been setting here talking with you all night till you went to sleep about ten minutes ago, and I reckon I done the same You couldn’t a got drunk in that time, so of course you’ve been dreaming.” “Dad fetch it, how is I gwyne to dream all dat in ten minutes?” “Well, hang it all, you did dream it, because there didn’t any of it happen.” “But, Huck, it’s all jis’ as plain to me as–” “It don’t make no difference how plain it is; there ain’t nothing in it I know, because I’ve been here all the time.” Jim didn’t say nothing for about five minutes, but set there studying over it Then he says: “Well, den, I reck’n I did dream it, Huck; but dog my cats ef it ain’t de powerfullest dream I ever see En I hain’t ever had no dream b’fo’ dat’s tired me like dis one.” “Oh, well, that’s all right, because a dream does tire a body like everything sometimes But this one was a staving dream; tell me all

about it, Jim.” So Jim went to work and told me the whole thing right through, just as it happened, only he painted it up considerable Then he said he must start in and “’terpret” it, because it was sent for a warning He said the first towhead stood for a man that would try to do us some good, but the current was another man that would get us away from him The whoops was warnings that would come to us every now and then, and if we didn’t try hard to make out to understand them they’d just take us into bad luck, ‘stead of keeping us out of it The lot of towheads was troubles we was going to get into with quarrelsome people and all kinds of mean folks, but if we minded our business and didn’t talk back and aggravate them, we would pull through and get out of the fog and into the big clear river, which was the free States, and wouldn’t have no more trouble It had clouded up pretty dark just after I got on to the raft, but it was clearing up again now “Oh, well, that’s all interpreted well enough as far as it goes, Jim,” I says; “but what does _these_ things stand for?” It was the leaves and rubbish on the raft and the smashed oar You could see them first-rate now Jim looked at the trash, and then looked at me, and back at the trash again He had got the dream fixed so strong in his head that he couldn’t seem to shake it loose and get the facts back into its place again right away But when he did get the thing straightened around he looked at me steady without ever smiling, and says: “What do dey stan’ for? I’se gwyne to tell you When I got all wore out wid work, en wid de callin’ for you, en went to sleep, my heart wuz mos’ broke bekase you wuz los’, en I didn’ k’yer no’ mo’ what become er me en de raf’ En when I wake up en fine you back agin, all safe en soun’, de tears come, en I could a got down on my knees en kiss yo’ foot, I’s so thankful En all you wuz thinkin’ ’bout wuz how you could make a fool uv ole Jim wid a lie Dat truck dah is _trash_; en trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de head er dey fren’s en makes ’em ashamed.” Then he got up slow and walked to the wigwam, and went in there without saying anything but that But that was enough It made me feel so mean I could almost kissed _his_ foot to get him to take it back It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger; but I done it, and I warn’t ever sorry for it afterwards, neither I didn’t do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn’t done that one if I’d a knowed it would make him feel that way CHAPTER XVI WE slept most all day, and started out at night, a little ways behind a monstrous long raft that was as long going by as a procession She had four long sweeps at each end, so we judged she carried as many as thirty men, likely She had five big wigwams aboard, wide apart, and an open camp fire in the middle, and a tall flag-pole at each end There was a power of style about her It _amounted_ to something being a raftsman on such a craft as that We went drifting down into a big bend, and the night clouded up and got hot The river was very wide, and was walled with solid timber on both sides; you couldn’t see a break in it hardly ever, or a light We talked about Cairo, and wondered whether we would know it when we got to it I said likely we wouldn’t, because I had heard say there warn’t but about a dozen houses there, and if they didn’t happen to have them lit up, how was we going to know we was passing a town? Jim said if the two big rivers joined together there, that would show But I said maybe we might think we was passing the foot of an island and coming into the same old river again That disturbed Jim–and me too So the question was, what to do? I said, paddle ashore the first time a light showed, and tell them pap was behind, coming along with a trading-scow, and was a green hand at the business, and wanted to know how far it was to

Cairo Jim thought it was a good idea, so we took a smoke on it and waited There warn’t nothing to do now but to look out sharp for the town, and not pass it without seeing it He said he’d be mighty sure to see it, because he’d be a free man the minute he seen it, but if he missed it he’d be in a slave country again and no more show for freedom Every little while he jumps up and says: “Dah she is?” But it warn’t It was Jack-o’-lanterns, or lightning bugs; so he set down again, and went to watching, same as before Jim said it made him all over trembly and feverish to be so close to freedom Well, I can tell you it made me all over trembly and feverish, too, to hear him, because I begun to get it through my head that he _was_ most free–and who was to blame for it? Why, _me_ I couldn’t get that out of my conscience, no how nor no way It got to troubling me so I couldn’t rest; I couldn’t stay still in one place It hadn’t ever come home to me before, what this thing was that I was doing But now it did; and it stayed with me, and scorched me more and more I tried to make out to myself that I warn’t to blame, because I didn’t run Jim off from his rightful owner; but it warn’t no use, conscience up and says, every time, “But you knowed he was running for his freedom, and you could a paddled ashore and told somebody.” That was so–I couldn’t get around that noway That was where it pinched Conscience says to me, “What had poor Miss Watson done to you that you could see her nigger go off right under your eyes and never say one single word? What did that poor old woman do to you that you could treat her so mean? Why, she tried to learn you your book, she tried to learn you your manners, she tried to be good to you every way she knowed how _That’s_ what she done.” I got to feeling so mean and so miserable I most wished I was dead I fidgeted up and down the raft, abusing myself to myself, and Jim was fidgeting up and down past me We neither of us could keep still Every time he danced around and says, “Dah’s Cairo!” it went through me like a shot, and I thought if it _was_ Cairo I reckoned I would die of miserableness Jim talked out loud all the time while I was talking to myself He was saying how the first thing he would do when he got to a free State he would go to saving up money and never spend a single cent, and when he got enough he would buy his wife, which was owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson lived; and then they would both work to buy the two children, and if their master wouldn’t sell them, they’d get an Ab’litionist to go and steal them It most froze me to hear such talk He wouldn’t ever dared to talk such talk in his life before Just see what a difference it made in him the minute he judged he was about free It was according to the old saying, “Give a nigger an inch and he’ll take an ell.” Thinks I, this is what comes of my not thinking Here was this nigger, which I had as good as helped to run away, coming right out flat-footed and saying he would steal his children–children that belonged to a man I didn’t even know; a man that hadn’t ever done me no harm I was sorry to hear Jim say that, it was such a lowering of him My conscience got to stirring me up hotter than ever, until at last I says to it, “Let up on me–it ain’t too late yet–I’ll paddle ashore at the first light and tell.” I felt easy and happy and light as a feather right off All my troubles was gone I went to looking out sharp for a light, and sort of singing to myself By and by one showed Jim sings out: “We’s safe, Huck, we’s safe! Jump up and crack yo’ heels! Dat’s de good ole Cairo at las’, I jis knows it!” I says: “I’ll take the canoe and go and see, Jim It mightn’t be, you know.” He jumped and got the canoe ready, and put his old coat in the bottom for me to set on, and give me the paddle; and as I shoved off, he says: “Pooty soon I’ll be a-shout’n’ for joy, en I’ll say, it’s all on accounts o’ Huck; I’s a free man, en I couldn’t ever ben free ef it hadn’ ben for Huck; Huck done it Jim won’t ever forgit you, Huck; you’s de bes’ fren’ Jim’s ever had; en you’s de _only_ fren’ ole Jim’s got now.”

I was paddling off, all in a sweat to tell on him; but when he says this, it seemed to kind of take the tuck all out of me I went along slow then, and I warn’t right down certain whether I was glad I started or whether I warn’t When I was fifty yards off, Jim says: “Dah you goes, de ole true Huck; de on’y white genlman dat ever kep’ his promise to ole Jim.” Well, I just felt sick But I says, I _got_ to do it–I can’t get _out_ of it Right then along comes a skiff with two men in it with guns, and they stopped and I stopped One of them says: “What’s that yonder?” “A piece of a raft,” I says “Do you belong on it?” “Yes, sir.” “Any men on it?” “Only one, sir.” “Well, there’s five niggers run off to-night up yonder, above the head of the bend Is your man white or black?” I didn’t answer up prompt I tried to, but the words wouldn’t come I tried for a second or two to brace up and out with it, but I warn’t man enough–hadn’t the spunk of a rabbit I see I was weakening; so I just give up trying, and up and says: “He’s white.” “I reckon we’ll go and see for ourselves.” “I wish you would,” says I, “because it’s pap that’s there, and maybe you’d help me tow the raft ashore where the light is He’s sick–and so is mam and Mary Ann.” “Oh, the devil! we’re in a hurry, boy But I s’pose we’ve got to Come, buckle to your paddle, and let’s get along.” I buckled to my paddle and they laid to their oars When we had made a stroke or two, I says: “Pap’ll be mighty much obleeged to you, I can tell you Everybody goes away when I want them to help me tow the raft ashore, and I can’t do it by myself.” “Well, that’s infernal mean Odd, too Say, boy, what’s the matter with your father?” “It’s the–a–the–well, it ain’t anything much.” They stopped pulling It warn’t but a mighty little ways to the raft now One says: “Boy, that’s a lie What _is_ the matter with your pap? Answer up square now, and it’ll be the better for you.” “I will, sir, I will, honest–but don’t leave us, please It’s the–the–Gentlemen, if you’ll only pull ahead, and let me heave you the headline, you won’t have to come a-near the raft–please do.” “Set her back, John, set her back!” says one They backed water “Keep away, boy–keep to looard Confound it, I just expect the wind has blowed it to us Your pap’s got the small-pox, and you know it precious well Why didn’t you come out and say so? Do you want to spread it all over?” “Well,” says I, a-blubbering, “I’ve told everybody before, and they just went away and left us.” “Poor devil, there’s something in that We are right down sorry for you, but we–well, hang it, we don’t want the small-pox, you see Look here, I’ll tell you what to do Don’t you try to land by yourself, or you’ll smash everything to pieces You float along down about twenty miles, and you’ll come to a town on the left-hand side of the river It will be long after sun-up then, and when you ask for help you tell them your folks are all down with chills and fever Don’t be a fool again, and let people guess what is the matter Now we’re trying to do you a kindness; so you just put twenty miles between us, that’s a good boy It wouldn’t do any good to land yonder where the light is–it’s only a wood-yard Say, I reckon your father’s poor, and I’m bound to say he’s in pretty hard luck Here, I’ll put a twenty-dollar gold piece on this board, and you get it when it floats by I feel mighty mean to leave you; but my kingdom! it won’t do to fool with small-pox, don’t you see?” “Hold on, Parker,” says the other man, “here’s a twenty to put on the board for me Good-bye, boy; you do as Mr. Parker told you, and you’ll be all right.” “That’s so, my boy–good-bye, good-bye If you see any runaway niggers you get help and nab them, and you can make some money by it.” “Good-bye, sir,” says I; “I won’t let no runaway niggers get by me if I can help it.” They went off and I got aboard the raft, feeling bad and low, because I knowed very well I had done wrong, and I see it warn’t no use for me to try to learn to do right; a body that don’t get _started_ right when he’s little ain’t got no show–when the pinch comes there ain’t nothing to back him up and keep him to his work, and so he gets beat

Then I thought a minute, and says to myself, hold on; s’pose you’d a done right and give Jim up, would you felt better than what you do now? No, says I, I’d feel bad–I’d feel just the same way I do now Well, then, says I, what’s the use you learning to do right when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same? I was stuck I couldn’t answer that So I reckoned I wouldn’t bother no more about it, but after this always do whichever come handiest at the time I went into the wigwam; Jim warn’t there I looked all around; he warn’t anywhere I says: “Jim!” “Here I is, Huck Is dey out o’ sight yit? Don’t talk loud.” He was in the river under the stern oar, with just his nose out I told him they were out of sight, so he come aboard He says: “I was a-listenin’ to all de talk, en I slips into de river en was gwyne to shove for sho’ if dey come aboard Den I was gwyne to swim to de raf’ agin when dey was gone But lawsy, how you did fool ’em, Huck! Dat _wuz_ de smartes’ dodge! I tell you, chile, I’spec it save’ ole Jim–ole Jim ain’t going to forgit you for dat, honey.” Then we talked about the money It was a pretty good raise–twenty dollars apiece Jim said we could take deck passage on a steamboat now, and the money would last us as far as we wanted to go in the free States He said twenty mile more warn’t far for the raft to go, but he wished we was already there Towards daybreak we tied up, and Jim was mighty particular about hiding the raft good Then he worked all day fixing things in bundles, and getting all ready to quit rafting That night about ten we hove in sight of the lights of a town away down in a left-hand bend I went off in the canoe to ask about it Pretty soon I found a man out in the river with a skiff, setting a trot-line I ranged up and says: “Mister, is that town Cairo?” “Cairo? no You must be a blame’ fool.” “What town is it, mister?” “If you want to know, go and find out If you stay here botherin’ around me for about a half a minute longer you’ll get something you won’t want.” I paddled to the raft Jim was awful disappointed, but I said never mind, Cairo would be the next place, I reckoned We passed another town before daylight, and I was going out again; but it was high ground, so I didn’t go No high ground about Cairo, Jim said I had forgot it We laid up for the day on a towhead tolerable close to the left-hand bank I begun to suspicion something So did Jim I says: “Maybe we went by Cairo in the fog that night.” He says: “Doan’ le’s talk about it, Huck Po’ niggers can’t have no luck I awluz ‘spected dat rattlesnake-skin warn’t done wid its work.” “I wish I’d never seen that snake-skin, Jim–I do wish I’d never laid eyes on it.” “It ain’t yo’ fault, Huck; you didn’ know Don’t you blame yo’self ’bout it.” When it was daylight, here was the clear Ohio water inshore, sure enough, and outside was the old regular Muddy! So it was all up with Cairo We talked it all over It wouldn’t do to take to the shore; we couldn’t take the raft up the stream, of course There warn’t no way but to wait for dark, and start back in the canoe and take the chances So we slept all day amongst the cottonwood thicket, so as to be fresh for the work, and when we went back to the raft about dark the canoe was gone! We didn’t say a word for a good while There warn’t anything to say We both knowed well enough it was some more work of the rattlesnake-skin; so what was the use to talk about it? It would only look like we was finding fault, and that would be bound to fetch more bad luck–and keep on fetching it, too, till we knowed enough to keep still By and by we talked about what we better do, and found there warn’t no way but just to go along down with the raft till we got a chance to buy a canoe to go back in We warn’t going to borrow it when there warn’t anybody around, the way pap would do, for that might set people after us So we shoved out after dark on the raft Anybody that don’t believe yet that it’s foolishness to handle a snake-skin, after all that that snake-skin done for us, will believe it

now if they read on and see what more it done for us The place to buy canoes is off of rafts laying up at shore But we didn’t see no rafts laying up; so we went along during three hours and more Well, the night got gray and ruther thick, which is the next meanest thing to fog You can’t tell the shape of the river, and you can’t see no distance It got to be very late and still, and then along comes a steamboat up the river We lit the lantern, and judged she would see it Up-stream boats didn’t generly come close to us; they go out and follow the bars and hunt for easy water under the reefs; but nights like this they bull right up the channel against the whole river We could hear her pounding along, but we didn’t see her good till she was close She aimed right for us Often they do that and try to see how close they can come without touching; sometimes the wheel bites off a sweep, and then the pilot sticks his head out and laughs, and thinks he’s mighty smart Well, here she comes, and we said she was going to try and shave us; but she didn’t seem to be sheering off a bit She was a big one, and she was coming in a hurry, too, looking like a black cloud with rows of glow-worms around it; but all of a sudden she bulged out, big and scary, with a long row of wide-open furnace doors shining like red-hot teeth, and her monstrous bows and guards hanging right over us There was a yell at us, and a jingling of bells to stop the engines, a powwow of cussing, and whistling of steam–and as Jim went overboard on one side and I on the other, she come smashing straight through the raft I dived–and I aimed to find the bottom, too, for a thirty-foot wheel had got to go over me, and I wanted it to have plenty of room I could always stay under water a minute; this time I reckon I stayed under a minute and a half Then I bounced for the top in a hurry, for I was nearly busting I popped out to my armpits and blowed the water out of my nose, and puffed a bit Of course there was a booming current; and of course that boat started her engines again ten seconds after she stopped them, for they never cared much for raftsmen; so now she was churning along up the river, out of sight in the thick weather, though I could hear her I sung out for Jim about a dozen times, but I didn’t get any answer; so I grabbed a plank that touched me while I was “treading water,” and struck out for shore, shoving it ahead of me But I made out to see that the drift of the current was towards the left-hand shore, which meant that I was in a crossing; so I changed off and went that way It was one of these long, slanting, two-mile crossings; so I was a good long time in getting over I made a safe landing, and clumb up the bank I couldn’t see but a little ways, but I went poking along over rough ground for a quarter of a mile or more, and then I run across a big old-fashioned double log-house before I noticed it I was going to rush by and get away, but a lot of dogs jumped out and went to howling and barking at me, and I knowed better than to move another peg CHAPTER XVII IN about a minute somebody spoke out of a window without putting his head out, and says: “Be done, boys! Who’s there?” I says: “It’s me.” “Who’s me?” “George Jackson, sir.” “What do you want?” “I don’t want nothing, sir I only want to go along by, but the dogs won’t let me.” “What are you prowling around here this time of night for–hey?” “I warn’t prowling around, sir, I fell overboard off of the steamboat.” “Oh, you did, did you? Strike a light there, somebody What did you say your name was?” “George Jackson, sir I’m only a boy.” “Look here, if you’re telling the truth you needn’t be afraid–nobody’ll hurt you But don’t try to budge; stand right where you are Rouse out Bob and Tom, some of you, and fetch the guns George Jackson, is there anybody with you?” “No, sir, nobody.” I heard the people stirring around in the house now, and see a light

The man sung out: “Snatch that light away, Betsy, you old fool–ain’t you got any sense? Put it on the floor behind the front door Bob, if you and Tom are ready, take your places.” “All ready.” “Now, George Jackson, do you know the Shepherdsons?” “No, sir; I never heard of them.” “Well, that may be so, and it mayn’t Now, all ready Step forward, George Jackson And mind, don’t you hurry–come mighty slow If there’s anybody with you, let him keep back–if he shows himself he’ll be shot Come along now Come slow; push the door open yourself–just enough to squeeze in, d’ you hear?” I didn’t hurry; I couldn’t if I’d a wanted to I took one slow step at a time and there warn’t a sound, only I thought I could hear my heart The dogs were as still as the humans, but they followed a little behind me When I got to the three log doorsteps I heard them unlocking and unbarring and unbolting I put my hand on the door and pushed it a little and a little more till somebody said, “There, that’s enough–put your head in.” I done it, but I judged they would take it off The candle was on the floor, and there they all was, looking at me, and me at them, for about a quarter of a minute: Three big men with guns pointed at me, which made me wince, I tell you; the oldest, gray and about sixty, the other two thirty or more–all of them fine and handsome–and the sweetest old gray-headed lady, and back of her two young women which I couldn’t see right well The old gentleman says: “There; I reckon it’s all right Come in.” As soon as I was in the old gentleman he locked the door and barred it and bolted it, and told the young men to come in with their guns, and they all went in a big parlor that had a new rag carpet on the floor, and got together in a corner that was out of the range of the front windows–there warn’t none on the side They held the candle, and took a good look at me, and all said, “Why, _he_ ain’t a Shepherdson–no, there ain’t any Shepherdson about him.” Then the old man said he hoped I wouldn’t mind being searched for arms, because he didn’t mean no harm by it–it was only to make sure So he didn’t pry into my pockets, but only felt outside with his hands, and said it was all right He told me to make myself easy and at home, and tell all about myself; but the old lady says: “Why, bless you, Saul, the poor thing’s as wet as he can be; and don’t you reckon it may be he’s hungry?” “True for you, Rachel–I forgot.” So the old lady says: “Betsy” (this was a nigger woman), “you fly around and get him something to eat as quick as you can, poor thing; and one of you girls go and wake up Buck and tell him–oh, here he is himself Buck, take this little stranger and get the wet clothes off from him and dress him up in some of yours that’s dry.” Buck looked about as old as me–thirteen or fourteen or along there, though he was a little bigger than me He hadn’t on anything but a shirt, and he was very frowzy-headed He came in gaping and digging one fist into his eyes, and he was dragging a gun along with the other one He says: “Ain’t they no Shepherdsons around?” They said, no, ’twas a false alarm “Well,” he says, “if they’d a ben some, I reckon I’d a got one.” They all laughed, and Bob says: “Why, Buck, they might have scalped us all, you’ve been so slow in coming.” “Well, nobody come after me, and it ain’t right I’m always kept down; I don’t get no show.” “Never mind, Buck, my boy,” says the old man, “you’ll have show enough, all in good time, don’t you fret about that Go ‘long with you now, and do as your mother told you.” When we got up-stairs to his room he got me a coarse shirt and a roundabout and pants of his, and I put them on While I was at it he asked me what my name was, but before I could tell him he started to tell me about a bluejay and a young rabbit he had catched in the woods day before yesterday, and he asked me where Moses was when the candle went out I said I didn’t know; I hadn’t heard about it before, no way “Well, guess,” he says “How’m I going to guess,” says I, “when I never heard tell of it before?” “But you can guess, can’t you? It’s just as easy.” “_Which_ candle?”

I says “Why, any candle,” he says “I don’t know where he was,” says I; “where was he?” “Why, he was in the _dark_! That’s where he was!” “Well, if you knowed where he was, what did you ask me for?” “Why, blame it, it’s a riddle, don’t you see? Say, how long are you going to stay here? You got to stay always We can just have booming times–they don’t have no school now Do you own a dog? I’ve got a dog–and he’ll go in the river and bring out chips that you throw in Do you like to comb up Sundays, and all that kind of foolishness? You bet I don’t, but ma she makes me Confound these ole britches! I reckon I’d better put ’em on, but I’d ruther not, it’s so warm Are you all ready? All right Come along, old hoss.” Cold corn-pone, cold corn-beef, butter and buttermilk–that is what they had for me down there, and there ain’t nothing better that ever I’ve come across yet Buck and his ma and all of them smoked cob pipes, except the nigger woman, which was gone, and the two young women They all smoked and talked, and I eat and talked The young women had quilts around them, and their hair down their backs They all asked me questions, and I told them how pap and me and all the family was living on a little farm down at the bottom of Arkansaw, and my sister Mary Ann run off and got married and never was heard of no more, and Bill went to hunt them and he warn’t heard of no more, and Tom and Mort died, and then there warn’t nobody but just me and pap left, and he was just trimmed down to nothing, on account of his troubles; so when he died I took what there was left, because the farm didn’t belong to us, and started up the river, deck passage, and fell overboard; and that was how I come to be here So they said I could have a home there as long as I wanted it Then it was most daylight and everybody went to bed, and I went to bed with Buck, and when I waked up in the morning, drat it all, I had forgot what my name was So I laid there about an hour trying to think, and when Buck waked up I says: “Can you spell, Buck?” “Yes,” he says “I bet you can’t spell my name,” says I “I bet you what you dare I can,” says he “All right,” says I, “go ahead.” “G-e-o-r-g-e J-a-x-o-n–there now,” he says “Well,” says I, “you done it, but I didn’t think you could It ain’t no slouch of a name to spell–right off without studying.” I set it down, private, because somebody might want _me_ to spell it next, and so I wanted to be handy with it and rattle it off like I was used to it It was a mighty nice family, and a mighty nice house, too I hadn’t seen no house out in the country before that was so nice and had so much style It didn’t have an iron latch on the front door, nor a wooden one with a buckskin string, but a brass knob to turn, the same as houses in town There warn’t no bed in the parlor, nor a sign of a bed; but heaps of parlors in towns has beds in them There was a big fireplace that was bricked on the bottom, and the bricks was kept clean and red by pouring water on them and scrubbing them with another brick; sometimes they wash them over with red water-paint that they call Spanish-brown, same as they do in town They had big brass dog-irons that could hold up a saw-log There was a clock on the middle of the mantelpiece, with a picture of a town painted on the bottom half of the glass front, and a round place in the middle of it for the sun, and you could see the pendulum swinging behind it It was beautiful to hear that clock tick; and sometimes when one of these peddlers had been along and scoured her up and got her in good shape, she would start in and strike a hundred and fifty before she got tuckered out They wouldn’t took any money for her Well, there was a big outlandish parrot on each side of the clock, made out of something like chalk, and painted up gaudy By one of the parrots was a cat made of crockery, and a crockery dog by the other; and when you pressed down on them they squeaked, but didn’t open their mouths nor look different nor interested They squeaked through underneath There was a couple of big wild-turkey-wing fans spread out behind those things On the table in the middle of the room was a kind of a lovely crockery basket that had apples and oranges and peaches and

grapes piled up in it, which was much redder and yellower and prettier than real ones is, but they warn’t real because you could see where pieces had got chipped off and showed the white chalk, or whatever it was, underneath This table had a cover made out of beautiful oilcloth, with a red and blue spread-eagle painted on it, and a painted border all around It come all the way from Philadelphia, they said There was some books, too, piled up perfectly exact, on each corner of the table One was a big family Bible full of pictures One was Pilgrim’s Progress, about a man that left his family, it didn’t say why I read considerable in it now and then The statements was interesting, but tough Another was Friendship’s Offering, full of beautiful stuff and poetry; but I didn’t read the poetry Another was Henry Clay’s Speeches, and another was Dr Gunn’s Family Medicine, which told you all about what to do if a body was sick or dead There was a hymn book, and a lot of other books And there was nice split-bottom chairs, and perfectly sound, too–not bagged down in the middle and busted, like an old basket They had pictures hung on the walls–mainly Washingtons and Lafayettes, and battles, and Highland Marys, and one called “Signing the Declaration.” There was some that they called crayons, which one of the daughters which was dead made her own self when she was only fifteen years old They was different from any pictures I ever see before–blacker, mostly, than is common One was a woman in a slim black dress, belted small under the armpits, with bulges like a cabbage in the middle of the sleeves, and a large black scoop-shovel bonnet with a black veil, and white slim ankles crossed about with black tape, and very wee black slippers, like a chisel, and she was leaning pensive on a tombstone on her right elbow, under a weeping willow, and her other hand hanging down her side holding a white handkerchief and a reticule, and underneath the picture it said “Shall I Never See Thee More Alas.” Another one was a young lady with her hair all combed up straight to the top of her head, and knotted there in front of a comb like a chair-back, and she was crying into a handkerchief and had a dead bird laying on its back in her other hand with its heels up, and underneath the picture it said “I Shall Never Hear Thy Sweet Chirrup More Alas.” There was one where a young lady was at a window looking up at the moon, and tears running down her cheeks; and she had an open letter in one hand with black sealing wax showing on one edge of it, and she was mashing a locket with a chain to it against her mouth, and underneath the picture it said “And Art Thou Gone Yes Thou Art Gone Alas.” These was all nice pictures, I reckon, but I didn’t somehow seem to take to them, because if ever I was down a little they always give me the fan-tods Everybody was sorry she died, because she had laid out a lot more of these pictures to do, and a body could see by what she had done what they had lost But I reckoned that with her disposition she was having a better time in the graveyard She was at work on what they said was her greatest picture when she took sick, and every day and every night it was her prayer to be allowed to live till she got it done, but she never got the chance It was a picture of a young woman in a long white gown, standing on the rail of a bridge all ready to jump off, with her hair all down her back, and looking up to the moon, with the tears running down her face, and she had two arms folded across her breast, and two arms stretched out in front, and two more reaching up towards the moon–and the idea was to see which pair would look best, and then scratch out all the other arms; but, as I was saying, she died before she got her mind made up, and now they kept this picture over the head of the bed in her room, and every time her birthday come they hung flowers on it Other times it was hid with a little curtain The young woman in the picture had a kind of a nice sweet face, but there was so many arms it made her look too spidery, seemed to me This young girl kept a scrap-book when she was alive, and used to paste obituaries and accidents and cases of patient suffering in it out of the Presbyterian Observer, and write poetry after them out of her own head It was very good poetry This is what she wrote about a boy by the name

of Stephen Dowling Bots that fell down a well and was drownded: ODE TO STEPHEN DOWLING BOTS, DEC’D And did young Stephen sicken, And did young Stephen die? And did the sad hearts thicken, And did the mourners cry? No; such was not the fate of Young Stephen Dowling Bots; Though sad hearts round him thickened, ‘Twas not from sickness’ shots No whooping-cough did rack his frame, Nor measles drear with spots; Not these impaired the sacred name Of Stephen Dowling Bots Despised love struck not with woe That head of curly knots, Nor stomach troubles laid him low, Young Stephen Dowling Bots O no Then list with tearful eye, Whilst I his fate do tell His soul did from this cold world fly By falling down a well They got him out and emptied him; Alas it was too late; His spirit was gone for to sport aloft In the realms of the good and great If Emmeline Grangerford could make poetry like that before she was fourteen, there ain’t no telling what she could a done by and by Buck said she could rattle off poetry like nothing She didn’t ever have to stop to think He said she would slap down a line, and if she couldn’t find anything to rhyme with it would just scratch it out and slap down another one, and go ahead She warn’t particular; she could write about anything you choose to give her to write about just so it was sadful Every time a man died, or a woman died, or a child died, she would be on hand with her “tribute” before he was cold She called them tributes The neighbors said it was the doctor first, then Emmeline, then the undertaker–the undertaker never got in ahead of Emmeline but once, and then she hung fire on a rhyme for the dead person’s name, which was Whistler She warn’t ever the same after that; she never complained, but she kinder pined away and did not live long Poor thing, many’s the time I made myself go up to the little room that used to be hers and get out her poor old scrap-book and read in it when her pictures had been aggravating me and I had soured on her a little I liked all that family, dead ones and all, and warn’t going to let anything come between us Poor Emmeline made poetry about all the dead people when she was alive, and it didn’t seem right that there warn’t nobody to make some about her now she was gone; so I tried to sweat out a verse or two myself, but I couldn’t seem to make it go somehow They kept Emmeline’s room trim and nice, and all the things fixed in it just the way she liked to have them when she was alive, and nobody ever slept there The old lady took care of the room herself, though there was plenty of niggers, and she sewed there a good deal and read her Bible there mostly Well, as I was saying about the parlor, there was beautiful curtains on the windows: white, with pictures painted on them of castles with vines all down the walls, and cattle coming down to drink There was a little old piano, too, that had tin pans in it, I reckon, and nothing was ever so lovely as to hear the young ladies sing “The Last Link is Broken” and play “The Battle of Prague” on it The walls of all the rooms was plastered, and most had carpets on the floors, and the whole house was whitewashed on the outside It was a double house, and the big open place betwixt them was roofed and floored, and sometimes the table was set there in the middle of the day, and it was a cool, comfortable place Nothing couldn’t be better And warn’t the cooking good, and just bushels of it too! CHAPTER XVIII COL Grangerford was a gentleman, you see He was a gentleman all over; and so was his family He was well born, as the saying is, and that’s worth as much in a man as it is in a horse, so the Widow Douglas said, and nobody ever denied that she was of the first aristocracy in our town; and pap he always said it, too, though he warn’t no more quality than a mudcat himself Col. Grangerford was very tall and very slim, and had a darkish-paly complexion,

not a sign of red in it anywheres; he was clean shaved every morning all over his thin face, and he had the thinnest kind of lips, and the thinnest kind of nostrils, and a high nose, and heavy eyebrows, and the blackest kind of eyes, sunk so deep back that they seemed like they was looking out of caverns at you, as you may say His forehead was high, and his hair was black and straight and hung to his shoulders His hands was long and thin, and every day of his life he put on a clean shirt and a full suit from head to foot made out of linen so white it hurt your eyes to look at it; and on Sundays he wore a blue tail-coat with brass buttons on it He carried a mahogany cane with a silver head to it There warn’t no frivolishness about him, not a bit, and he warn’t ever loud He was as kind as he could be–you could feel that, you know, and so you had confidence Sometimes he smiled, and it was good to see; but when he straightened himself up like a liberty-pole, and the lightning begun to flicker out from under his eyebrows, you wanted to climb a tree first, and find out what the matter was afterwards He didn’t ever have to tell anybody to mind their manners–everybody was always good-mannered where he was Everybody loved to have him around, too; he was sunshine most always–I mean he made it seem like good weather When he turned into a cloudbank it was awful dark for half a minute, and that was enough; there wouldn’t nothing go wrong again for a week When him and the old lady come down in the morning all the family got up out of their chairs and give them good-day, and didn’t set down again till they had set down Then Tom and Bob went to the sideboard where the decanter was, and mixed a glass of bitters and handed it to him, and he held it in his hand and waited till Tom’s and Bob’s was mixed, and then they bowed and said, “Our duty to you, sir, and madam;” and _they_ bowed the least bit in the world and said thank you, and so they drank, all three, and Bob and Tom poured a spoonful of water on the sugar and the mite of whisky or apple brandy in the bottom of their tumblers, and give it to me and Buck, and we drank to the old people too Bob was the oldest and Tom next–tall, beautiful men with very broad shoulders and brown faces, and long black hair and black eyes They dressed in white linen from head to foot, like the old gentleman, and wore broad Panama hats Then there was Miss Charlotte; she was twenty-five, and tall and proud and grand, but as good as she could be when she warn’t stirred up; but when she was she had a look that would make you wilt in your tracks, like her father She was beautiful So was her sister, Miss Sophia, but it was a different kind She was gentle and sweet like a dove, and she was only twenty Each person had their own nigger to wait on them–Buck too My nigger had a monstrous easy time, because I warn’t used to having anybody do anything for me, but Buck’s was on the jump most of the time This was all there was of the family now, but there used to be more–three sons; they got killed; and Emmeline that died The old gentleman owned a lot of farms and over a hundred niggers Sometimes a stack of people would come there, horseback, from ten or fifteen mile around, and stay five or six days, and have such junketings round about and on the river, and dances and picnics in the woods daytimes, and balls at the house nights These people was mostly kinfolks of the family The men brought their guns with them It was a handsome lot of quality, I tell you There was another clan of aristocracy around there–five or six families–mostly of the name of Shepherdson They was as high-toned and well born and rich and grand as the tribe of Grangerfords The Shepherdsons and Grangerfords used the same steamboat landing, which was about two mile above our house; so sometimes when I went up there with a lot of our folks I used to see a lot of the Shepherdsons there on their fine horses One day Buck and me was away out in the woods hunting, and heard a horse coming We was crossing the road Buck says: “Quick! Jump for the woods!” We done it, and then peeped down the woods through the leaves Pretty soon a splendid young man come galloping down the road, setting his horse easy and looking like a soldier

He had his gun across his pommel I had seen him before It was young Harney Shepherdson I heard Buck’s gun go off at my ear, and Harney’s hat tumbled off from his head He grabbed his gun and rode straight to the place where we was hid But we didn’t wait We started through the woods on a run The woods warn’t thick, so I looked over my shoulder to dodge the bullet, and twice I seen Harney cover Buck with his gun; and then he rode away the way he come–to get his hat, I reckon, but I couldn’t see We never stopped running till we got home The old gentleman’s eyes blazed a minute–’twas pleasure, mainly, I judged–then his face sort of smoothed down, and he says, kind of gentle: “I don’t like that shooting from behind a bush Why didn’t you step into the road, my boy?” “The Shepherdsons don’t, father They always take advantage.” Miss Charlotte she held her head up like a queen while Buck was telling his tale, and her nostrils spread and her eyes snapped The two young men looked dark, but never said nothing Miss Sophia she turned pale, but the color come back when she found the man warn’t hurt Soon as I could get Buck down by the corn-cribs under the trees by ourselves, I says: “Did you want to kill him, Buck?” “Well, I bet I did.” “What did he do to you?” “Him? He never done nothing to me.” “Well, then, what did you want to kill him for?” “Why, nothing–only it’s on account of the feud.” “What’s a feud?” “Why, where was you raised? Don’t you know what a feud is?” “Never heard of it before–tell me about it.” “Well,” says Buck, “a feud is this way: A man has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then that other man’s brother kills _him_; then the other brothers, on both sides, goes for one another; then the _cousins_ chip in–and by and by everybody’s killed off, and there ain’t no more feud But it’s kind of slow, and takes a long time.” “Has this one been going on long, Buck?” “Well, I should _reckon_! It started thirty year ago, or som’ers along there There was trouble ’bout something, and then a lawsuit to settle it; and the suit went agin one of the men, and so he up and shot the man that won the suit–which he would naturally do, of course Anybody would.” “What was the trouble about, Buck?–land?” “I reckon maybe–I don’t know.” “Well, who done the shooting? Was it a Grangerford or a Shepherdson?” “Laws, how do I know? It was so long ago.” “Don’t anybody know?” “Oh, yes, pa knows, I reckon, and some of the other old people; but they don’t know now what the row was about in the first place.” “Has there been many killed, Buck?” “Yes; right smart chance of funerals But they don’t always kill Pa’s got a few buckshot in him; but he don’t mind it ‘cuz he don’t weigh much, anyway Bob’s been carved up some with a bowie, and Tom’s been hurt once or twice.” “Has anybody been killed this year, Buck?” “Yes; we got one and they got one ‘Bout three months ago my cousin Bud, fourteen year old, was riding through the woods on t’other side of the river, and didn’t have no weapon with him, which was blame’ foolishness, and in a lonesome place he hears a horse a-coming behind him, and sees old Baldy Shepherdson a-linkin’ after him with his gun in his hand and his white hair a-flying in the wind; and ‘stead of jumping off and taking to the brush, Bud ‘lowed he could out-run him; so they had it, nip and tuck, for five mile or more, the old man a-gaining all the time; so at last Bud seen it warn’t any use, so he stopped and faced around so as to have the bullet holes in front, you know, and the old man he rode up and shot him down But he didn’t git much chance to enjoy his luck, for inside of a week our folks laid _him_ out.” “I reckon that old man was a coward, Buck.” “I reckon he _warn’t_ a coward Not by a blame’ sight There ain’t a coward amongst them Shepherdsons–not a one And there ain’t no cowards amongst the Grangerfords either Why, that old man kep’ up his end in a fight one day for half an hour against three Grangerfords, and come out winner They was all a-horseback; he lit off of his horse and got

behind a little woodpile, and kep’ his horse before him to stop the bullets; but the Grangerfords stayed on their horses and capered around the old man, and peppered away at him, and he peppered away at them Him and his horse both went home pretty leaky and crippled, but the Grangerfords had to be _fetched_ home–and one of ’em was dead, and another died the next day No, sir; if a body’s out hunting for cowards he don’t want to fool away any time amongst them Shepherdsons, becuz they don’t breed any of that _kind_.” Next Sunday we all went to church, about three mile, everybody a-horseback The men took their guns along, so did Buck, and kept them between their knees or stood them handy against the wall The Shepherdsons done the same It was pretty ornery preaching–all about brotherly love, and such-like tiresomeness; but everybody said it was a good sermon, and they all talked it over going home, and had such a powerful lot to say about faith and good works and free grace and preforeordestination, and I don’t know what all, that it did seem to me to be one of the roughest Sundays I had run across yet About an hour after dinner everybody was dozing around, some in their chairs and some in their rooms, and it got to be pretty dull Buck and a dog was stretched out on the grass in the sun sound asleep I went up to our room, and judged I would take a nap myself I found that sweet Miss Sophia standing in her door, which was next to ours, and she took me in her room and shut the door very soft, and asked me if I liked her, and I said I did; and she asked me if I would do something for her and not tell anybody, and I said I would Then she said she’d forgot her Testament, and left it in the seat at church between two other books, and would I slip out quiet and go there and fetch it to her, and not say nothing to nobody I said I would So I slid out and slipped off up the road, and there warn’t anybody at the church, except maybe a hog or two, for there warn’t any lock on the door, and hogs likes a puncheon floor in summer-time because it’s cool If you notice, most folks don’t go to church only when they’ve got to; but a hog is different Says I to myself, something’s up; it ain’t natural for a girl to be in such a sweat about a Testament So I give it a shake, and out drops a little piece of paper with “HALF-PAST TWO” wrote on it with a pencil I ransacked it, but couldn’t find anything else I couldn’t make anything out of that, so I put the paper in the book again, and when I got home and upstairs there was Miss Sophia in her door waiting for me She pulled me in and shut the door; then she looked in the Testament till she found the paper, and as soon as she read it she looked glad; and before a body could think she grabbed me and give me a squeeze, and said I was the best boy in the world, and not to tell anybody She was mighty red in the face for a minute, and her eyes lighted up, and it made her powerful pretty I was a good deal astonished, but when I got my breath I asked her what the paper was about, and she asked me if I had read it, and I said no, and she asked me if I could read writing, and I told her “no, only coarse-hand,” and then she said the paper warn’t anything but a book-mark to keep her place, and I might go and play now I went off down to the river, studying over this thing, and pretty soon I noticed that my nigger was following along behind When we was out of sight of the house he looked back and around a second, and then comes a-running, and says: “Mars Jawge, if you’ll come down into de swamp I’ll show you a whole stack o’ water-moccasins.” Thinks I, that’s mighty curious; he said that yesterday He oughter know a body don’t love water-moccasins enough to go around hunting for them What is he up to, anyway? So I says: “All right; trot ahead.” I followed a half a mile; then he struck out over the swamp, and waded ankle deep as much as another half-mile We come to a little flat piece of land which was dry and very thick with trees and bushes and vines, and he says: “You shove right in dah jist a few steps, Mars Jawge; dah’s whah dey is I’s seed ‘m befo’; I don’t k’yer to see ’em no mo’.” Then he slopped right along and went away, and pretty soon the trees hid him I poked into the place a-ways and come to a little open patch as big as a bedroom all hung around with vines, and found a man laying

there asleep–and, by jings, it was my old Jim! I waked him up, and I reckoned it was going to be a grand surprise to him to see me again, but it warn’t He nearly cried he was so glad, but he warn’t surprised Said he swum along behind me that night, and heard me yell every time, but dasn’t answer, because he didn’t want nobody to pick _him_ up and take him into slavery again Says he: “I got hurt a little, en couldn’t swim fas’, so I wuz a considable ways behine you towards de las’; when you landed I reck’ned I could ketch up wid you on de lan’ ‘dout havin’ to shout at you, but when I see dat house I begin to go slow I ‘uz off too fur to hear what dey say to you–I wuz ‘fraid o’ de dogs; but when it ‘uz all quiet agin I knowed you’s in de house, so I struck out for de woods to wait for day Early in de mawnin’ some er de niggers come along, gwyne to de fields, en dey tuk me en showed me dis place, whah de dogs can’t track me on accounts o’ de water, en dey brings me truck to eat every night, en tells me how you’s a-gitt’n along.” “Why didn’t you tell my Jack to fetch me here sooner, Jim?” “Well, ‘twarn’t no use to ‘sturb you, Huck, tell we could do sumfn–but we’s all right now I ben a-buyin’ pots en pans en vittles, as I got a chanst, en a-patchin’ up de raf’ nights when–” “_What_ raft, Jim?” “Our ole raf’.” “You mean to say our old raft warn’t smashed all to flinders?” “No, she warn’t She was tore up a good deal–one en’ of her was; but dey warn’t no great harm done, on’y our traps was mos’ all los’ Ef we hadn’ dive’ so deep en swum so fur under water, en de night hadn’ ben so dark, en we warn’t so sk’yerd, en ben sich punkin-heads, as de sayin’ is, we’d a seed de raf’ But it’s jis’ as well we didn’t, ‘kase now she’s all fixed up agin mos’ as good as new, en we’s got a new lot o’ stuff, in de place o’ what ‘uz los’.” “Why, how did you get hold of the raft again, Jim–did you catch her?” “How I gwyne to ketch her en I out in de woods? No; some er de niggers foun’ her ketched on a snag along heah in de ben’, en dey hid her in a crick ‘mongst de willows, en dey wuz so much jawin’ ’bout which un ‘um she b’long to de mos’ dat I come to heah ’bout it pooty soon, so I ups en settles de trouble by tellin’ ‘um she don’t b’long to none uv um, but to you en me; en I ast ‘m if dey gwyne to grab a young white genlman’s propaty, en git a hid’n for it? Den I gin ‘m ten cents apiece, en dey ‘uz mighty well satisfied, en wisht some mo’ raf’s ‘ud come along en make ‘m rich agin Dey’s mighty good to me, dese niggers is, en whatever I wants ‘m to do fur me I doan’ have to ast ‘m twice, honey Dat Jack’s a good nigger, en pooty smart.” “Yes, he is He ain’t ever told me you was here; told me to come, and he’d show me a lot of water-moccasins If anything happens _he_ ain’t mixed up in it He can say he never seen us together, and it ‘ll be the truth.” I don’t want to talk much about the next day I reckon I’ll cut it pretty short I waked up about dawn, and was a-going to turn over and go to sleep again when I noticed how still it was–didn’t seem to be anybody stirring That warn’t usual Next I noticed that Buck was up and gone Well, I gets up, a-wondering, and goes down stairs–nobody around; everything as still as a mouse Just the same outside Thinks I, what does it mean? Down by the wood-pile I comes across my Jack, and says: “What’s it all about?” Says he: “Don’t you know, Mars Jawge?” “No,” says I, “I don’t.” “Well, den, Miss Sophia’s run off! ‘deed she has She run off in de night some time–nobody don’t know jis’ when; run off to get married to dat young Harney Shepherdson, you know–leastways, so dey ‘spec De fambly foun’ it out ’bout half an hour ago–maybe a little mo’–en’ I _tell_ you dey warn’t no time los’ Sich another hurryin’ up guns en hosses _you_ never see! De women folks has gone for to stir up de relations, en ole Mars Saul en de boys tuck

dey guns en rode up de river road for to try to ketch dat young man en kill him ‘fo’ he kin git acrost de river wid Miss Sophia I reck’n dey’s gwyne to be mighty rough times.” “Buck went off ‘thout waking me up.” “Well, I reck’n he _did_! Dey warn’t gwyne to mix you up in it Mars Buck he loaded up his gun en ‘lowed he’s gwyne to fetch home a Shepherdson or bust Well, dey’ll be plenty un ‘m dah, I reck’n, en you bet you he’ll fetch one ef he gits a chanst.” I took up the river road as hard as I could put By and by I begin to hear guns a good ways off When I come in sight of the log store and the woodpile where the steamboats lands I worked along under the trees and brush till I got to a good place, and then I clumb up into the forks of a cottonwood that was out of reach, and watched There was a wood-rank four foot high a little ways in front of the tree, and first I was going to hide behind that; but maybe it was luckier I didn’t There was four or five men cavorting around on their horses in the open place before the log store, cussing and yelling, and trying to get at a couple of young chaps that was behind the wood-rank alongside of the steamboat landing; but they couldn’t come it Every time one of them showed himself on the river side of the woodpile he got shot at The two boys was squatting back to back behind the pile, so they could watch both ways By and by the men stopped cavorting around and yelling They started riding towards the store; then up gets one of the boys, draws a steady bead over the wood-rank, and drops one of them out of his saddle All the men jumped off of their horses and grabbed the hurt one and started to carry him to the store; and that minute the two boys started on the run They got half way to the tree I was in before the men noticed Then the men see them, and jumped on their horses and took out after them They gained on the boys, but it didn’t do no good, the boys had too good a start; they got to the woodpile that was in front of my tree, and slipped in behind it, and so they had the bulge on the men again One of the boys was Buck, and the other was a slim young chap about nineteen years old The men ripped around awhile, and then rode away As soon as they was out of sight I sung out to Buck and told him He didn’t know what to make of my voice coming out of the tree at first He was awful surprised He told me to watch out sharp and let him know when the men come in sight again; said they was up to some devilment or other–wouldn’t be gone long I wished I was out of that tree, but I dasn’t come down Buck begun to cry and rip, and ‘lowed that him and his cousin Joe (that was the other young chap) would make up for this day yet He said his father and his two brothers was killed, and two or three of the enemy Said the Shepherdsons laid for them in ambush Buck said his father and brothers ought to waited for their relations–the Shepherdsons was too strong for them I asked him what was become of young Harney and Miss Sophia He said they’d got across the river and was safe I was glad of that; but the way Buck did take on because he didn’t manage to kill Harney that day he shot at him–I hain’t ever heard anything like it All of a sudden, bang! bang! bang! goes three or four guns–the men had slipped around through the woods and come in from behind without their horses! The boys jumped for the river–both of them hurt–and as they swum down the current the men run along the bank shooting at them and singing out, “Kill them, kill them!” It made me so sick I most fell out of the tree I ain’t a-going to tell _all_ that happened–it would make me sick again if I was to do that I wished I hadn’t ever come ashore that night to see such things I ain’t ever going to get shut of them–lots of times I dream about them I stayed in the tree till it begun to get dark, afraid to come down Sometimes I heard guns away off in the woods; and twice I seen little gangs of men gallop past the log store with guns; so I reckoned the trouble was still a-going on I was mighty downhearted; so I made up my mind I wouldn’t ever go anear that house again, because I reckoned I was to blame, somehow I judged that that piece of paper meant that Miss Sophia was to meet Harney somewheres at half-past two and run off; and I judged I ought to told her father about that paper and the curious way

she acted, and then maybe he would a locked her up, and this awful mess wouldn’t ever happened When I got down out of the tree I crept along down the river bank a piece, and found the two bodies laying in the edge of the water, and tugged at them till I got them ashore; then I covered up their faces, and got away as quick as I could I cried a little when I was covering up Buck’s face, for he was mighty good to me It was just dark now I never went near the house, but struck through the woods and made for the swamp Jim warn’t on his island, so I tramped off in a hurry for the crick, and crowded through the willows, red-hot to jump aboard and get out of that awful country The raft was gone! My souls, but I was scared! I couldn’t get my breath for most a minute Then I raised a yell A voice not twenty-five foot from me says: “Good lan’! is dat you, honey? Doan’ make no noise.” It was Jim’s voice–nothing ever sounded so good before I run along the bank a piece and got aboard, and Jim he grabbed me and hugged me, he was so glad to see me He says: “Laws bless you, chile, I ‘uz right down sho’ you’s dead agin. Jack’s been heah; he say he reck’n you’s ben shot, kase you didn’ come home no mo’; so I’s jes’ dis minute a startin’ de raf’ down towards de mouf er de crick, so’s to be all ready for to shove out en leave soon as Jack comes agin en tells me for certain you _is_ dead Lawsy, I’s mighty glad to git you back again, honey.” I says: “All right–that’s mighty good; they won’t find me, and they’ll think I’ve been killed, and floated down the river–there’s something up there that ‘ll help them think so–so don’t you lose no time, Jim, but just shove off for the big water as fast as ever you can.” I never felt easy till the raft was two mile below there and out in the middle of the Mississippi Then we hung up our signal lantern, and judged that we was free and safe once more I hadn’t had a bite to eat since yesterday, so Jim he got out some corn-dodgers and buttermilk, and pork and cabbage and greens–there ain’t nothing in the world so good when it’s cooked right–and whilst I eat my supper we talked and had a good time I was powerful glad to get away from the feuds, and so was Jim to get away from the swamp We said there warn’t no home like a raft, after all Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don’t You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft CHAPTER XIX TWO or three days and nights went by; I reckon I might say they swum by, they slid along so quiet and smooth and lovely Here is the way we put in the time It was a monstrous big river down there–sometimes a mile and a half wide; we run nights, and laid up and hid daytimes; soon as night was most gone we stopped navigating and tied up–nearly always in the dead water under a towhead; and then cut young cottonwoods and willows, and hid the raft with them Then we set out the lines Next we slid into the river and had a swim, so as to freshen up and cool off; then we set down on the sandy bottom where the water was about knee deep, and watched the daylight come Not a sound anywheres–perfectly still–just like the whole world was asleep, only sometimes the bullfrogs a-cluttering, maybe The first thing to see, looking away over the water, was a kind of dull line–that was the woods on t’other side; you couldn’t make nothing else out; then a pale place in the sky; then more paleness spreading around; then the river softened up away off, and warn’t black any more, but gray; you could see little dark spots drifting along ever so far away–trading scows, and such things; and long black streaks–rafts; sometimes you could hear a sweep screaking; or

jumbled up voices, it was so still, and sounds come so far; and by and by you could see a streak on the water which you know by the look of the streak that there’s a snag there in a swift current which breaks on it and makes that streak look that way; and you see the mist curl up off of the water, and the east reddens up, and the river, and you make out a log-cabin in the edge of the woods, away on the bank on t’other side of the river, being a woodyard, likely, and piled by them cheats so you can throw a dog through it anywheres; then the nice breeze springs up, and comes fanning you from over there, so cool and fresh and sweet to smell on account of the woods and the flowers; but sometimes not that way, because they’ve left dead fish laying around, gars and such, and they do get pretty rank; and next you’ve got the full day, and everything smiling in the sun, and the song-birds just going it! A little smoke couldn’t be noticed now, so we would take some fish off of the lines and cook up a hot breakfast And afterwards we would watch the lonesomeness of the river, and kind of lazy along, and by and by lazy off to sleep Wake up by and by, and look to see what done it, and maybe see a steamboat coughing along up-stream, so far off towards the other side you couldn’t tell nothing about her only whether she was a stern-wheel or side-wheel; then for about an hour there wouldn’t be nothing to hear nor nothing to see–just solid lonesomeness Next you’d see a raft sliding by, away off yonder, and maybe a galoot on it chopping, because they’re most always doing it on a raft; you’d see the axe flash and come down–you don’t hear nothing; you see that axe go up again, and by the time it’s above the man’s head then you hear the _k’chunk_!–it had took all that time to come over the water So we would put in the day, lazying around, listening to the stillness Once there was a thick fog, and the rafts and things that went by was beating tin pans so the steamboats wouldn’t run over them A scow or a raft went by so close we could hear them talking and cussing and laughing–heard them plain; but we couldn’t see no sign of them; it made you feel crawly; it was like spirits carrying on that way in the air Jim said he believed it was spirits; but I says: “No; spirits wouldn’t say, ‘Dern the dern fog.’” Soon as it was night out we shoved; when we got her out to about the middle we let her alone, and let her float wherever the current wanted her to; then we lit the pipes, and dangled our legs in the water, and talked about all kinds of things–we was always naked, day and night, whenever the mosquitoes would let us–the new clothes Buck’s folks made for me was too good to be comfortable, and besides I didn’t go much on clothes, nohow Sometimes we’d have that whole river all to ourselves for the longest time Yonder was the banks and the islands, across the water; and maybe a spark–which was a candle in a cabin window; and sometimes on the water you could see a spark or two–on a raft or a scow, you know; and maybe you could hear a fiddle or a song coming over from one of them crafts It’s lovely to live on a raft We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have took too long to _make_ so many Jim said the moon could a _laid_ them; well, that looked kind of reasonable, so I didn’t say nothing against it, because I’ve seen a frog lay most as many, so of course it could be done We used to watch the stars that fell, too, and see them streak down Jim allowed they’d got spoiled and was hove out of the nest Once or twice of a night we would see a steamboat slipping along in the dark, and now and then she would belch a whole world of sparks up out of her chimbleys, and they would rain down in the river and look awful pretty; then she would turn a corner and her lights would wink out and

her powwow shut off and leave the river still again; and by and by her waves would get to us, a long time after she was gone, and joggle the raft a bit, and after that you wouldn’t hear nothing for you couldn’t tell how long, except maybe frogs or something After midnight the people on shore went to bed, and then for two or three hours the shores was black–no more sparks in the cabin windows These sparks was our clock–the first one that showed again meant morning was coming, so we hunted a place to hide and tie up right away One morning about daybreak I found a canoe and crossed over a chute to the main shore–it was only two hundred yards–and paddled about a mile up a crick amongst the cypress woods, to see if I couldn’t get some berries Just as I was passing a place where a kind of a cowpath crossed the crick, here comes a couple of men tearing up the path as tight as they could foot it I thought I was a goner, for whenever anybody was after anybody I judged it was _me_–or maybe Jim I was about to dig out from there in a hurry, but they was pretty close to me then, and sung out and begged me to save their lives–said they hadn’t been doing nothing, and was being chased for it–said there was men and dogs a-coming They wanted to jump right in, but I says: “Don’t you do it I don’t hear the dogs and horses yet; you’ve got time to crowd through the brush and get up the crick a little ways; then you take to the water and wade down to me and get in–that’ll throw the dogs off the scent.” They done it, and soon as they was aboard I lit out for our towhead, and in about five or ten minutes we heard the dogs and the men away off, shouting We heard them come along towards the crick, but couldn’t see them; they seemed to stop and fool around a while; then, as we got further and further away all the time, we couldn’t hardly hear them at all; by the time we had left a mile of woods behind us and struck the river, everything was quiet, and we paddled over to the towhead and hid in the cottonwoods and was safe One of these fellows was about seventy or upwards, and had a bald head and very gray whiskers He had an old battered-up slouch hat on, and a greasy blue woollen shirt, and ragged old blue jeans britches stuffed into his boot-tops, and home-knit galluses–no, he only had one He had an old long-tailed blue jeans coat with slick brass buttons flung over his arm, and both of them had big, fat, ratty-looking carpet-bags The other fellow was about thirty, and dressed about as ornery After breakfast we all laid off and talked, and the first thing that come out was that these chaps didn’t know one another “What got you into trouble?” says the baldhead to t’other chap “Well, I’d been selling an article to take the tartar off the teeth–and it does take it off, too, and generly the enamel along with it–but I stayed about one night longer than I ought to, and was just in the act of sliding out when I ran across you on the trail this side of town, and you told me they were coming, and begged me to help you to get off So I told you I was expecting trouble myself, and would scatter out _with_ you That’s the whole yarn–what’s yourn? “Well, I’d ben a-running’ a little temperance revival thar ’bout a week, and was the pet of the women folks, big and little, for I was makin’ it mighty warm for the rummies, I _tell_ you, and takin’ as much as five or six dollars a night–ten cents a head, children and niggers free–and business a-growin’ all the time, when somehow or another a little report got around last night that I had a way of puttin’ in my time with a private jug on the sly A nigger rousted me out this mornin’, and told me the people was getherin’ on the quiet with their dogs and horses, and they’d be along pretty soon and give me ’bout half an hour’s start, and then run me down if they could; and if they got me they’d tar and feather me and ride me on a rail, sure I didn’t wait for no breakfast–I warn’t hungry.” “Old man,” said the young one, “I reckon we might double-team it together; what do you think?” “I ain’t undisposed What’s your line–mainly?” “Jour printer by trade; do a little in patent medicines; theater-actor–tragedy, you know; take a turn to mesmerism and phrenology when there’s a chance; teach singing-geography school for a change;

sling a lecture sometimes–oh, I do lots of things–most anything that comes handy, so it ain’t work What’s your lay?” “I’ve done considerble in the doctoring way in my time Layin’ on o’ hands is my best holt–for cancer and paralysis, and sich things; and I k’n tell a fortune pretty good when I’ve got somebody along to find out the facts for me Preachin’s my line, too, and workin’ camp-meetin’s, and missionaryin’ around.” Nobody never said anything for a while; then the young man hove a sigh and says: “Alas!” “What ‘re you alassin’ about?” says the bald-head “To think I should have lived to be leading such a life, and be degraded down into such company.” And he begun to wipe the corner of his eye with a rag “Dern your skin, ain’t the company good enough for you?” says the baldhead, pretty pert and uppish “Yes, it _is_ good enough for me; it’s as good as I deserve; for who fetched me so low when I was so high? I did myself I don’t blame _you_, gentlemen–far from it; I don’t blame anybody I deserve it all Let the cold world do its worst; one thing I know–there’s a grave somewhere for me The world may go on just as it’s always done, and take everything from me–loved ones, property, everything; but it can’t take that Some day I’ll lie down in it and forget it all, and my poor broken heart will be at rest.” He went on a-wiping “Drot your pore broken heart,” says the baldhead; “what are you heaving your pore broken heart at _us_ f’r? _we_ hain’t done nothing.” “No, I know you haven’t I ain’t blaming you, gentlemen I brought myself down–yes, I did it myself It’s right I should suffer–perfectly right–I don’t make any moan.” “Brought you down from whar? Whar was you brought down from?” “Ah, you would not believe me; the world never believes–let it pass–’tis no matter The secret of my birth–” “The secret of your birth! Do you mean to say–” “Gentlemen,” says the young man, very solemn, “I will reveal it to you, for I feel I may have confidence in you By rights I am a duke!” Jim’s eyes bugged out when he heard that; and I reckon mine did, too Then the baldhead says: “No! you can’t mean it?” “Yes My great-grandfather, eldest son of the Duke of Bridgewater, fled to this country about the end of the last century, to breathe the pure air of freedom; married here, and died, leaving a son, his own father dying about the same time The second son of the late duke seized the titles and estates–the infant real duke was ignored I am the lineal descendant of that infant–I am the rightful Duke of Bridgewater; and here am I, forlorn, torn from my high estate, hunted of men, despised by the cold world, ragged, worn, heart-broken, and degraded to the companionship of felons on a raft!” Jim pitied him ever so much, and so did I We tried to comfort him, but he said it warn’t much use, he couldn’t be much comforted; said if we was a mind to acknowledge him, that would do him more good than most anything else; so we said we would, if he would tell us how He said we ought to bow when we spoke to him, and say “Your Grace,” or “My Lord,” or “Your Lordship”–and he wouldn’t mind it if we called him plain “Bridgewater,” which, he said, was a title anyway, and not a name; and one of us ought to wait on him at dinner, and do any little thing for him he wanted done Well, that was all easy, so we done it All through dinner Jim stood around and waited on him, and says, “Will yo’ Grace have some o’ dis or some o’ dat?” and so on, and a body could see it was mighty pleasing to him But the old man got pretty silent by and by–didn’t have much to say, and didn’t look pretty comfortable over all that petting that was going on around that duke He seemed to have something on his mind So, along in the afternoon, he says: “Looky here, Bilgewater,” he says, “I’m nation sorry for you, but you ain’t the only person that’s had troubles like that.” “No?” “No you ain’t

You ain’t the only person that’s ben snaked down wrongfully out’n a high place.” “Alas!” “No, you ain’t the only person that’s had a secret of his birth.” And, by jings, _he_ begins to cry “Hold! What do you mean?” “Bilgewater, kin I trust you?” says the old man, still sort of sobbing “To the bitter death!” He took the old man by the hand and squeezed it, and says, “That secret of your being: speak!” “Bilgewater, I am the late Dauphin!” You bet you, Jim and me stared this time Then the duke says: “You are what?” “Yes, my friend, it is too true–your eyes is lookin’ at this very moment on the pore disappeared Dauphin, Looy the Seventeen, son of Looy the Sixteen and Marry Antonette.” “You! At your age! No! You mean you’re the late Charlemagne; you must be six or seven hundred years old, at the very least.” “Trouble has done it, Bilgewater, trouble has done it; trouble has brung these gray hairs and this premature balditude Yes, gentlemen, you see before you, in blue jeans and misery, the wanderin’, exiled, trampled-on, and sufferin’ rightful King of France.” Well, he cried and took on so that me and Jim didn’t know hardly what to do, we was so sorry–and so glad and proud we’d got him with us, too So we set in, like we done before with the duke, and tried to comfort _him_ But he said it warn’t no use, nothing but to be dead and done with it all could do him any good; though he said it often made him feel easier and better for a while if people treated him according to his rights, and got down on one knee to speak to him, and always called him “Your Majesty,” and waited on him first at meals, and didn’t set down in his presence till he asked them So Jim and me set to majestying him, and doing this and that and t’other for him, and standing up till he told us we might set down This done him heaps of good, and so he got cheerful and comfortable But the duke kind of soured on him, and didn’t look a bit satisfied with the way things was going; still, the king acted real friendly towards him, and said the duke’s great-grandfather and all the other Dukes of Bilgewater was a good deal thought of by _his_ father, and was allowed to come to the palace considerable; but the duke stayed huffy a good while, till by and by the king says: “Like as not we got to be together a blamed long time on this h-yer raft, Bilgewater, and so what’s the use o’ your bein’ sour? It ‘ll only make things oncomfortable It ain’t my fault I warn’t born a duke, it ain’t your fault you warn’t born a king–so what’s the use to worry? Make the best o’ things the way you find ’em, says I–that’s my motto This ain’t no bad thing that we’ve struck here–plenty grub and an easy life–come, give us your hand, duke, and le’s all be friends.” The duke done it, and Jim and me was pretty glad to see it It took away all the uncomfortableness and we felt mighty good over it, because it would a been a miserable business to have any unfriendliness on the raft; for what you want, above all things, on a raft, is for everybody to be satisfied, and feel right and kind towards the others It didn’t take me long to make up my mind that these liars warn’t no kings nor dukes at all, but just low-down humbugs and frauds But I never said nothing, never let on; kept it to myself; it’s the best way; then you don’t have no quarrels, and don’t get into no trouble If they wanted us to call them kings and dukes, I hadn’t no objections, ‘long as it would keep peace in the family; and it warn’t no use to tell Jim, so I didn’t tell him If I never learnt nothing else out of pap, I learnt that the best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them have their own way CHAPTER XX THEY asked us considerable many questions; wanted to know what we

covered up the raft that way for, and laid by in the daytime instead of running–was Jim a runaway nigger? Says I: “Goodness sakes! would a runaway nigger run _south_?” No, they allowed he wouldn’t I had to account for things some way, so I says: “My folks was living in Pike County, in Missouri, where I was born, and they all died off but me and pa and my brother Ike Pa, he ‘lowed he’d break up and go down and live with Uncle Ben, who’s got a little one-horse place on the river, forty-four mile below Orleans Pa was pretty poor, and had some debts; so when he’d squared up there warn’t nothing left but sixteen dollars and our nigger, Jim That warn’t enough to take us fourteen hundred mile, deck passage nor no other way Well, when the river rose pa had a streak of luck one day; he ketched this piece of a raft; so we reckoned we’d go down to Orleans on it Pa’s luck didn’t hold out; a steamboat run over the forrard corner of the raft one night, and we all went overboard and dove under the wheel; Jim and me come up all right, but pa was drunk, and Ike was only four years old, so they never come up no more Well, for the next day or two we had considerable trouble, because people was always coming out in skiffs and trying to take Jim away from me, saying they believed he was a runaway nigger We don’t run daytimes no more now; nights they don’t bother us.” The duke says: “Leave me alone to cipher out a way so we can run in the daytime if we want to I’ll think the thing over–I’ll invent a plan that’ll fix it We’ll let it alone for to-day, because of course we don’t want to go by that town yonder in daylight–it mightn’t be healthy.” Towards night it begun to darken up and look like rain; the heat lightning was squirting around low down in the sky, and the leaves was beginning to shiver–it was going to be pretty ugly, it was easy to see that So the duke and the king went to overhauling our wigwam, to see what the beds was like My bed was a straw tick better than Jim’s, which was a corn-shuck tick; there’s always cobs around about in a shuck tick, and they poke into you and hurt; and when you roll over the dry shucks sound like you was rolling over in a pile of dead leaves; it makes such a rustling that you wake up Well, the duke allowed he would take my bed; but the king allowed he wouldn’t He says: “I should a reckoned the difference in rank would a sejested to you that a corn-shuck bed warn’t just fitten for me to sleep on Your Grace ‘ll take the shuck bed yourself.” Jim and me was in a sweat again for a minute, being afraid there was going to be some more trouble amongst them; so we was pretty glad when the duke says: “’Tis my fate to be always ground into the mire under the iron heel of oppression Misfortune has broken my once haughty spirit; I yield, I submit; ’tis my fate I am alone in the world–let me suffer; can bear it.” We got away as soon as it was good and dark The king told us to stand well out towards the middle of the river, and not show a light till we got a long ways below the town We come in sight of the little bunch of lights by and by–that was the town, you know–and slid by, about a half a mile out, all right When we was three-quarters of a mile below we hoisted up our signal lantern; and about ten o’clock it come on to rain and blow and thunder and lighten like everything; so the king told us to both stay on watch till the weather got better; then him and the duke crawled into the wigwam and turned in for the night It was my watch below till twelve, but I wouldn’t a turned in anyway if I’d had a bed, because a body don’t see such a storm as that every day in the week, not by a long sight My souls, how the wind did scream along! And every second or two there’d come a glare that lit up the white-caps for a half a mile around, and you’d see the islands looking dusty through the rain, and the trees thrashing around in the wind; then comes a H-WHACK!–bum! bum! bumble-umble-um-bum-bum-bum-bum–and the thunder would go rumbling and grumbling away, and quit–and then RIP comes another flash and another sockdolager The waves most washed me off the raft sometimes, but I hadn’t any clothes on, and didn’t mind

We didn’t have no trouble about snags; the lightning was glaring and flittering around so constant that we could see them plenty soon enough to throw her head this way or that and miss them I had the middle watch, you know, but I was pretty sleepy by that time, so Jim he said he would stand the first half of it for me; he was always mighty good that way, Jim was I crawled into the wigwam, but the king and the duke had their legs sprawled around so there warn’t no show for me; so I laid outside–I didn’t mind the rain, because it was warm, and the waves warn’t running so high now About two they come up again, though, and Jim was going to call me; but he changed his mind, because he reckoned they warn’t high enough yet to do any harm; but he was mistaken about that, for pretty soon all of a sudden along comes a regular ripper and washed me overboard It most killed Jim a-laughing He was the easiest nigger to laugh that ever was, anyway I took the watch, and Jim he laid down and snored away; and by and by the storm let up for good and all; and the first cabin-light that showed I rousted him out, and we slid the raft into hiding quarters for the day The king got out an old ratty deck of cards after breakfast, and him and the duke played seven-up a while, five cents a game Then they got tired of it, and allowed they would “lay out a campaign,” as they called it The duke went down into his carpet-bag, and fetched up a lot of little printed bills and read them out loud One bill said, “The celebrated Dr. Armand de Montalban, of Paris,” would “lecture on the Science of Phrenology” at such and such a place, on the blank day of blank, at ten cents admission, and “furnish charts of character at twenty-five cents apiece.” The duke said that was _him_ In another bill he was the “world-renowned Shakespearian tragedian, Garrick the Younger, of Drury Lane, London.” In other bills he had a lot of other names and done other wonderful things, like finding water and gold with a “divining-rod,” “dissipating witch spells,” and so on By and by he says: “But the histrionic muse is the darling Have you ever trod the boards, Royalty?” “No,” says the king “You shall, then, before you’re three days older, Fallen Grandeur,” says the duke “The first good town we come to we’ll hire a hall and do the sword fight in Richard III. and the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet How does that strike you?” “I’m in, up to the hub, for anything that will pay, Bilgewater; but, you see, I don’t know nothing about play-actin’, and hain’t ever seen much of it I was too small when pap used to have ’em at the palace Do you reckon you can learn me?” “Easy!” “All right I’m jist a-freezn’ for something fresh, anyway Le’s commence right away.” So the duke he told him all about who Romeo was and who Juliet was, and said he was used to being Romeo, so the king could be Juliet “But if Juliet’s such a young gal, duke, my peeled head and my white whiskers is goin’ to look oncommon odd on her, maybe.” “No, don’t you worry; these country jakes won’t ever think of that Besides, you know, you’ll be in costume, and that makes all the difference in the world; Juliet’s in a balcony, enjoying the moonlight before she goes to bed, and she’s got on her night-gown and her ruffled nightcap Here are the costumes for the parts.” He got out two or three curtain-calico suits, which he said was meedyevil armor for Richard III. and t’other chap, and a long white cotton nightshirt and a ruffled nightcap to match The king was satisfied; so the duke got out his book and read the parts over in the most splendid spread-eagle way, prancing around and acting at the same time, to show how it had got to be done; then he give the book to the king and told him to get his part by heart There was a little one-horse town about three mile down the bend, and after dinner the duke said he had ciphered out his idea about how to run in daylight without it being dangersome for Jim; so he allowed he would go down to the town and fix that thing The king allowed he would go, too, and see if he couldn’t strike something We was out of coffee, so Jim said I better go along with them in the

canoe and get some When we got there there warn’t nobody stirring; streets empty, and perfectly dead and still, like Sunday We found a sick nigger sunning himself in a back yard, and he said everybody that warn’t too young or too sick or too old was gone to camp-meeting, about two mile back in the woods The king got the directions, and allowed he’d go and work that camp-meeting for all it was worth, and I might go, too The duke said what he was after was a printing-office We found it; a little bit of a concern, up over a carpenter shop–carpenters and printers all gone to the meeting, and no doors locked It was a dirty, littered-up place, and had ink marks, and handbills with pictures of horses and runaway niggers on them, all over the walls The duke shed his coat and said he was all right now So me and the king lit out for the camp-meeting We got there in about a half an hour fairly dripping, for it was a most awful hot day There was as much as a thousand people there from twenty mile around The woods was full of teams and wagons, hitched everywheres, feeding out of the wagon-troughs and stomping to keep off the flies There was sheds made out of poles and roofed over with branches, where they had lemonade and gingerbread to sell, and piles of watermelons and green corn and such-like truck The preaching was going on under the same kinds of sheds, only they was bigger and held crowds of people The benches was made out of outside slabs of logs, with holes bored in the round side to drive sticks into for legs They didn’t have no backs The preachers had high platforms to stand on at one end of the sheds The women had on sun-bonnets; and some had linsey-woolsey frocks, some gingham ones, and a few of the young ones had on calico Some of the young men was barefooted, and some of the children didn’t have on any clothes but just a tow-linen shirt Some of the old women was knitting, and some of the young folks was courting on the sly The first shed we come to the preacher was lining out a hymn He lined out two lines, everybody sung it, and it was kind of grand to hear it, there was so many of them and they done it in such a rousing way; then he lined out two more for them to sing–and so on The people woke up more and more, and sung louder and louder; and towards the end some begun to groan, and some begun to shout Then the preacher begun to preach, and begun in earnest, too; and went weaving first to one side of the platform and then the other, and then a-leaning down over the front of it, with his arms and his body going all the time, and shouting his words out with all his might; and every now and then he would hold up his Bible and spread it open, and kind of pass it around this way and that, shouting, “It’s the brazen serpent in the wilderness! Look upon it and live!” And people would shout out, “Glory!–A-a-_men_!” And so he went on, and the people groaning and crying and saying amen: “Oh, come to the mourners’ bench! come, black with sin! (_Amen_!) come, sick and sore! (_Amen_!) come, lame and halt and blind! (_Amen_!) come, pore and needy, sunk in shame! (_A-A-Men_!) come, all that’s worn and soiled and suffering!–come with a broken spirit! come with a contrite heart! come in your rags and sin and dirt! the waters that cleanse is free, the door of heaven stands open–oh, enter in and be at rest!” (_A-A-Men_! _Glory, Glory Hallelujah!_) And so on You couldn’t make out what the preacher said any more, on account of the shouting and crying Folks got up everywheres in the crowd, and worked their way just by main strength to the mourners’ bench, with the tears running down their faces; and when all the mourners had got up there to the front benches in a crowd, they sung and shouted and flung themselves down on the straw, just crazy and wild Well, the first I knowed the king got a-going, and you could hear him over everybody; and next he went a-charging up on to the platform, and the preacher he begged him to speak to the people, and he done it He told them he was a pirate–been a pirate for thirty years out in the Indian Ocean–and his crew was thinned out

considerable last spring in a fight, and he was home now to take out some fresh men, and thanks to goodness he’d been robbed last night and put ashore off of a steamboat without a cent, and he was glad of it; it was the blessedest thing that ever happened to him, because he was a changed man now, and happy for the first time in his life; and, poor as he was, he was going to start right off and work his way back to the Indian Ocean, and put in the rest of his life trying to turn the pirates into the true path; for he could do it better than anybody else, being acquainted with all pirate crews in that ocean; and though it would take him a long time to get there without money, he would get there anyway, and every time he convinced a pirate he would say to him, “Don’t you thank me, don’t you give me no credit; it all belongs to them dear people in Pokeville camp-meeting, natural brothers and benefactors of the race, and that dear preacher there, the truest friend a pirate ever had!” And then he busted into tears, and so did everybody Then somebody sings out, “Take up a collection for him, take up a collection!” Well, a half a dozen made a jump to do it, but somebody sings out, “Let _him_ pass the hat around!” Then everybody said it, the preacher too So the king went all through the crowd with his hat swabbing his eyes, and blessing the people and praising them and thanking them for being so good to the poor pirates away off there; and every little while the prettiest kind of girls, with the tears running down their cheeks, would up and ask him would he let them kiss him for to remember him by; and he always done it; and some of them he hugged and kissed as many as five or six times–and he was invited to stay a week; and everybody wanted him to live in their houses, and said they’d think it was an honor; but he said as this was the last day of the camp-meeting he couldn’t do no good, and besides he was in a sweat to get to the Indian Ocean right off and go to work on the pirates When we got back to the raft and he come to count up he found he had collected eighty-seven dollars and seventy-five cents And then he had fetched away a three-gallon jug of whisky, too, that he found under a wagon when he was starting home through the woods The king said, take it all around, it laid over any day he’d ever put in in the missionarying line He said it warn’t no use talking, heathens don’t amount to shucks alongside of pirates to work a camp-meeting with The duke was thinking _he’d_ been doing pretty well till the king come to show up, but after that he didn’t think so so much He had set up and printed off two little jobs for farmers in that printing-office–horse bills–and took the money, four dollars And he had got in ten dollars’ worth of advertisements for the paper, which he said he would put in for four dollars if they would pay in advance–so they done it The price of the paper was two dollars a year, but he took in three subscriptions for half a dollar apiece on condition of them paying him in advance; they were going to pay in cordwood and onions as usual, but he said he had just bought the concern and knocked down the price as low as he could afford it, and was going to run it for cash He set up a little piece of poetry, which he made, himself, out of his own head–three verses–kind of sweet and saddish–the name of it was, “Yes, crush, cold world, this breaking heart”–and he left that all set up and ready to print in the paper, and didn’t charge nothing for it Well, he took in nine dollars and a half, and said he’d done a pretty square day’s work for it Then he showed us another little job he’d printed and hadn’t charged for, because it was for us It had a picture of a runaway nigger with a bundle on a stick over his shoulder, and “$200 reward” under it The reading was all about Jim, and just described him to a dot It said he run away from St. Jacques’ plantation, forty mile below New Orleans, last winter, and likely went north, and whoever would catch him and send him back he could have the reward and expenses “Now,” says the duke, “after to-night we can run in the daytime if we want to Whenever we see anybody coming we can tie Jim hand and foot with a rope, and lay him in the wigwam and show this handbill and say we captured him up the river, and were too poor to travel on a steamboat, so we got this little raft on credit from our friends and are going down

to get the reward Handcuffs and chains would look still better on Jim, but it wouldn’t go well with the story of us being so poor Too much like jewelry Ropes are the correct thing–we must preserve the unities, as we say on the boards.” We all said the duke was pretty smart, and there couldn’t be no trouble about running daytimes We judged we could make miles enough that night to get out of the reach of the powwow we reckoned the duke’s work in the printing office was going to make in that little town; then we could boom right along if we wanted to We laid low and kept still, and never shoved out till nearly ten o’clock; then we slid by, pretty wide away from the town, and didn’t hoist our lantern till we was clear out of sight of it When Jim called me to take the watch at four in the morning, he says: “Huck, does you reck’n we gwyne to run acrost any mo’ kings on dis trip?” “No,” I says, “I reckon not.” “Well,” says he, “dat’s all right, den I doan’ mine one er two kings, but dat’s enough Dis one’s powerful drunk, en de duke ain’ much better.” I found Jim had been trying to get him to talk French, so he could hear what it was like; but he said he had been in this country so long, and had so much trouble, he’d forgot it CHAPTER XXI IT was after sun-up now, but we went right on and didn’t tie up The king and the duke turned out by and by looking pretty rusty; but after they’d jumped overboard and took a swim it chippered them up a good deal After breakfast the king he took a seat on the corner of the raft, and pulled off his boots and rolled up his britches, and let his legs dangle in the water, so as to be comfortable, and lit his pipe, and went to getting his Romeo and Juliet by heart When he had got it pretty good him and the duke begun to practice it together The duke had to learn him over and over again how to say every speech; and he made him sigh, and put his hand on his heart, and after a while he said he done it pretty well; “only,” he says, “you mustn’t bellow out _Romeo_! that way, like a bull–you must say it soft and sick and languishy, so–R-o-o-meo! that is the idea; for Juliet’s a dear sweet mere child of a girl, you know, and she doesn’t bray like a jackass.” Well, next they got out a couple of long swords that the duke made out of oak laths, and begun to practice the sword fight–the duke called himself Richard III.; and the way they laid on and pranced around the raft was grand to see But by and by the king tripped and fell overboard, and after that they took a rest, and had a talk about all kinds of adventures they’d had in other times along the river After dinner the duke says: “Well, Capet, we’ll want to make this a first-class show, you know, so I guess we’ll add a little more to it We want a little something to answer encores with, anyway.” “What’s onkores, Bilgewater?” The duke told him, and then says: “I’ll answer by doing the Highland fling or the sailor’s hornpipe; and you–well, let me see–oh, I’ve got it–you can do Hamlet’s soliloquy.” “Hamlet’s which?” “Hamlet’s soliloquy, you know; the most celebrated thing in Shakespeare Ah, it’s sublime, sublime! Always fetches the house I haven’t got it in the book–I’ve only got one volume–but I reckon I can piece it out from memory I’ll just walk up and down a minute, and see if I can call it back from recollection’s vaults.” So he went to marching up and down, thinking, and frowning horrible every now and then; then he would hoist up his eyebrows; next he would squeeze his hand on his forehead and stagger back and kind of moan; next he would sigh, and next he’d let on to drop a tear It was beautiful to see him By and by he got it He told us to give attention Then he strikes a most noble attitude, with one leg shoved forwards, and his arms stretched away up, and his head tilted back, looking up at the sky; and then he begins to rip and rave and grit

his teeth; and after that, all through his speech, he howled, and spread around, and swelled up his chest, and just knocked the spots out of any acting ever I see before This is the speech–I learned it, easy enough, while he was learning it to the king: To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin That makes calamity of so long life; For who would fardels bear, till Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinane, But that the fear of something after death Murders the innocent sleep, Great nature’s second course, And makes us rather sling the arrows of outrageous fortune Than fly to others that we know not of There’s the respect must give us pause: Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst; For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely, The law’s delay, and the quietus which his pangs might take In the dead waste and middle of the night, when churchyards yawn In customary suits of solemn black, But that the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns, Breathes forth contagion on the world, And thus the native hue of resolution, like the poor cat i’ the adage, Is sicklied o’er with care And all the clouds that lowered o’er our housetops, With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished But soft you, the fair Ophelia: Ope not thy ponderous and marble jaws But get thee to a nunnery—go! Well, the old man he liked that speech, and he mighty soon got it so he could do it first rate It seemed like he was just born for it; and when he had his hand in and was excited, it was perfectly lovely the way he would rip and tear and rair up behind when he was getting it off The first chance we got, the duke he had some show bills printed; and after that, for two or three days as we floated along, the raft was a most uncommon lively place, for there warn’t nothing but sword-fighting and rehearsing–as the duke called it–going on all the time One morning, when we was pretty well down the State of Arkansaw, we come in sight of a little one-horse town in a big bend; so we tied up about three-quarters of a mile above it, in the mouth of a crick which was shut in like a tunnel by the cypress trees, and all of us but Jim took the canoe and went down there to see if there was any chance in that place for our show We struck it mighty lucky; there was going to be a circus there that afternoon, and the country people was already beginning to come in, in all kinds of old shackly wagons, and on horses The circus would leave before night, so our show would have a pretty good chance The duke he hired the court house, and we went around and stuck up our bills They read like this: Shaksperean Revival!!! Wonderful Attraction! For One Night Only! The world renowned tragedians, David Garrick the younger, of Drury Lane Theatre, London, and Edmund Kean the elder, of the Royal Haymarket Theatre, Whitechapel, Pudding Lane, Piccadilly, London, and the Royal Continental Theatres, in their sublime Shaksperean Spectacle entitled The Balcony Scene in Romeo and Juliet!!! Romeo Mr. Garrick Juliet Mr. Kean Assisted by the whole strength of the company! New costumes, new scenery, new appointments! Also: The thrilling, masterly, and blood-curdling Broad-sword conflict In Richard III.!!! Richard III Mr. Garrick Richmond Mr. Kean also: (by special request,) Hamlet’s Immortal Soliloquy!! By the Illustrious Kean! Done by him 300 consecutive nights in Paris! For One Night Only, On account of imperative European engagements! Admission 25 cents; children and servants, 10 cents Then we went loafing around the town The stores and houses was most all old shackly dried-up frame concerns that hadn’t ever been painted; they was set up three or four foot above ground on stilts, so as to be out of reach of the water when the river was overflowed The houses had little gardens around them, but they didn’t seem to raise hardly anything in them but jimpson weeds, and sunflowers, and ash-piles, and old curled-up boots and shoes, and pieces of bottles, and

rags, and played-out tin-ware The fences was made of different kinds of boards, nailed on at different times; and they leaned every which-way, and had gates that didn’t generly have but one hinge–a leather one Some of the fences had been whitewashed, some time or another, but the duke said it was in Clumbus’s time, like enough There was generly hogs in the garden, and people driving them out All the stores was along one street They had white domestic awnings in front, and the country people hitched their horses to the awning-posts There was empty drygoods boxes under the awnings, and loafers roosting on them all day long, whittling them with their Barlow knives; and chawing tobacco, and gaping and yawning and stretching–a mighty ornery lot They generly had on yellow straw hats most as wide as an umbrella, but didn’t wear no coats nor waistcoats, they called one another Bill, and Buck, and Hank, and Joe, and Andy, and talked lazy and drawly, and used considerable many cuss words There was as many as one loafer leaning up against every awning-post, and he most always had his hands in his britches-pockets, except when he fetched them out to lend a chaw of tobacco or scratch What a body was hearing amongst them all the time was: “Gimme a chaw ‘v tobacker, Hank.” “Cain’t; I hain’t got but one chaw left Ask Bill.” Maybe Bill he gives him a chaw; maybe he lies and says he ain’t got none Some of them kinds of loafers never has a cent in the world, nor a chaw of tobacco of their own They get all their chawing by borrowing; they say to a fellow, “I wisht you’d len’ me a chaw, Jack, I jist this minute give Ben Thompson the last chaw I had”–which is a lie pretty much everytime; it don’t fool nobody but a stranger; but Jack ain’t no stranger, so he says: “_You_ give him a chaw, did you? So did your sister’s cat’s grandmother You pay me back the chaws you’ve awready borry’d off’n me, Lafe Buckner, then I’ll loan you one or two ton of it, and won’t charge you no back intrust, nuther.” “Well, I _did_ pay you back some of it wunst.” “Yes, you did–’bout six chaws You borry’d store tobacker and paid back nigger-head.” Store tobacco is flat black plug, but these fellows mostly chaws the natural leaf twisted When they borrow a chaw they don’t generly cut it off with a knife, but set the plug in between their teeth, and gnaw with their teeth and tug at the plug with their hands till they get it in two; then sometimes the one that owns the tobacco looks mournful at it when it’s handed back, and says, sarcastic: “Here, gimme the _chaw_, and you take the _plug_.” All the streets and lanes was just mud; they warn’t nothing else _but_ mud–mud as black as tar and nigh about a foot deep in some places, and two or three inches deep in _all_ the places The hogs loafed and grunted around everywheres You’d see a muddy sow and a litter of pigs come lazying along the street and whollop herself right down in the way, where folks had to walk around her, and she’d stretch out and shut her eyes and wave her ears whilst the pigs was milking her, and look as happy as if she was on salary And pretty soon you’d hear a loafer sing out, “Hi! _so_ boy! sick him, Tige!” and away the sow would go, squealing most horrible, with a dog or two swinging to each ear, and three or four dozen more a-coming; and then you would see all the loafers get up and watch the thing out of sight, and laugh at the fun and look grateful for the noise Then they’d settle back again till there was a dog fight There couldn’t anything wake them up all over, and make them happy all over, like a dog fight–unless it might be putting turpentine on a stray dog and setting fire to him, or tying a tin pan to his tail and see him run himself to death On the river front some of the houses was sticking out over the bank, and they was bowed and bent, and about ready to tumble in The people had moved out of them The bank was caved away under one corner of some others, and that corner was hanging over People lived in them yet, but it was dangersome, because sometimes a strip of land as wide as a house caves in at a time Sometimes a belt of land a quarter of a mile deep will start in and cave along and cave along till it all caves into the river in one summer Such a town as that has to be always moving back, and back, and back, because the river’s always gnawing at it

The nearer it got to noon that day the thicker and thicker was the wagons and horses in the streets, and more coming all the time Families fetched their dinners with them from the country, and eat them in the wagons There was considerable whisky drinking going on, and I seen three fights By and by somebody sings out: “Here comes old Boggs!–in from the country for his little old monthly drunk; here he comes, boys!” All the loafers looked glad; I reckoned they was used to having fun out of Boggs One of them says: “Wonder who he’s a-gwyne to chaw up this time If he’d a-chawed up all the men he’s ben a-gwyne to chaw up in the last twenty year he’d have considerable ruputation now.” Another one says, “I wisht old Boggs ‘d threaten me, ‘cuz then I’d know I warn’t gwyne to die for a thousan’ year.” Boggs comes a-tearing along on his horse, whooping and yelling like an Injun, and singing out: “Cler the track, thar I’m on the waw-path, and the price uv coffins is a-gwyne to raise.” He was drunk, and weaving about in his saddle; he was over fifty year old, and had a very red face Everybody yelled at him and laughed at him and sassed him, and he sassed back, and said he’d attend to them and lay them out in their regular turns, but he couldn’t wait now because he’d come to town to kill old Colonel Sherburn, and his motto was, “Meat first, and spoon vittles to top off on.” He see me, and rode up and says: “Whar’d you come f’m, boy? You prepared to die?” Then he rode on I was scared, but a man says: “He don’t mean nothing; he’s always a-carryin’ on like that when he’s drunk He’s the best naturedest old fool in Arkansaw–never hurt nobody, drunk nor sober.” Boggs rode up before the biggest store in town, and bent his head down so he could see under the curtain of the awning and yells: “Come out here, Sherburn! Come out and meet the man you’ve swindled You’re the houn’ I’m after, and I’m a-gwyne to have you, too!” And so he went on, calling Sherburn everything he could lay his tongue to, and the whole street packed with people listening and laughing and going on By and by a proud-looking man about fifty-five–and he was a heap the best dressed man in that town, too–steps out of the store, and the crowd drops back on each side to let him come He says to Boggs, mighty ca’m and slow–he says: “I’m tired of this, but I’ll endure it till one o’clock Till one o’clock, mind–no longer If you open your mouth against me only once after that time you can’t travel so far but I will find you.” Then he turns and goes in The crowd looked mighty sober; nobody stirred, and there warn’t no more laughing Boggs rode off blackguarding Sherburn as loud as he could yell, all down the street; and pretty soon back he comes and stops before the store, still keeping it up Some men crowded around him and tried to get him to shut up, but he wouldn’t; they told him it would be one o’clock in about fifteen minutes, and so he _must_ go home–he must go right away But it didn’t do no good He cussed away with all his might, and throwed his hat down in the mud and rode over it, and pretty soon away he went a-raging down the street again, with his gray hair a-flying Everybody that could get a chance at him tried their best to coax him off of his horse so they could lock him up and get him sober; but it warn’t no use–up the street he would tear again, and give Sherburn another cussing By and by somebody says: “Go for his daughter!–quick, go for his daughter; sometimes he’ll listen to her If anybody can persuade him, she can.” So somebody started on a run I walked down street a ways and stopped In about five or ten minutes here comes Boggs again, but not on his horse He was a-reeling across the street towards me, bare-headed, with a friend on both sides of him a-holt of his arms and hurrying him along He was quiet, and looked uneasy; and he warn’t hanging back any, but was doing some of the hurrying himself Somebody sings out: “Boggs!” I looked over there to see who said it, and it was that Colonel Sherburn He was standing perfectly still in the street, and had a pistol raised in his right hand–not aiming it, but holding it out with the barrel tilted up towards the sky The same second I see a young girl coming on the run, and two men with her

Boggs and the men turned round to see who called him, and when they see the pistol the men jumped to one side, and the pistol-barrel come down slow and steady to a level–both barrels cocked Boggs throws up both of his hands and says, “O Lord, don’t shoot!” Bang! goes the first shot, and he staggers back, clawing at the air–bang! goes the second one, and he tumbles backwards on to the ground, heavy and solid, with his arms spread out That young girl screamed out and comes rushing, and down she throws herself on her father, crying, and saying, “Oh, he’s killed him, he’s killed him!” The crowd closed up around them, and shouldered and jammed one another, with their necks stretched, trying to see, and people on the inside trying to shove them back and shouting, “Back, back! give him air, give him air!” Colonel Sherburn he tossed his pistol on to the ground, and turned around on his heels and walked off They took Boggs to a little drug store, the crowd pressing around just the same, and the whole town following, and I rushed and got a good place at the window, where I was close to him and could see in They laid him on the floor and put one large Bible under his head, and opened another one and spread it on his breast; but they tore open his shirt first, and I seen where one of the bullets went in He made about a dozen long gasps, his breast lifting the Bible up when he drawed in his breath, and letting it down again when he breathed it out–and after that he laid still; he was dead Then they pulled his daughter away from him, screaming and crying, and took her off She was about sixteen, and very sweet and gentle looking, but awful pale and scared Well, pretty soon the whole town was there, squirming and scrouging and pushing and shoving to get at the window and have a look, but people that had the places wouldn’t give them up, and folks behind them was saying all the time, “Say, now, you’ve looked enough, you fellows; ’tain’t right and ’tain’t fair for you to stay thar all the time, and never give nobody a chance; other folks has their rights as well as you.” There was considerable jawing back, so I slid out, thinking maybe there was going to be trouble The streets was full, and everybody was excited Everybody that seen the shooting was telling how it happened, and there was a big crowd packed around each one of these fellows, stretching their necks and listening One long, lanky man, with long hair and a big white fur stovepipe hat on the back of his head, and a crooked-handled cane, marked out the places on the ground where Boggs stood and where Sherburn stood, and the people following him around from one place to t’other and watching everything he done, and bobbing their heads to show they understood, and stooping a little and resting their hands on their thighs to watch him mark the places on the ground with his cane; and then he stood up straight and stiff where Sherburn had stood, frowning and having his hat-brim down over his eyes, and sung out, “Boggs!” and then fetched his cane down slow to a level, and says “Bang!” staggered backwards, says “Bang!” again, and fell down flat on his back The people that had seen the thing said he done it perfect; said it was just exactly the way it all happened Then as much as a dozen people got out their bottles and treated him Well, by and by somebody said Sherburn ought to be lynched In about a minute everybody was saying it; so away they went, mad and yelling, and snatching down every clothes-line they come to to do the hanging with CHAPTER XXII THEY swarmed up towards Sherburn’s house, a-whooping and raging like Injuns, and everything had to clear the way or get run over and tromped to mush, and it was awful to see Children was heeling it ahead of the mob, screaming and trying to get out of the way; and every window along the road was full of women’s heads, and there was nigger boys in every tree, and bucks and wenches looking over every

fence; and as soon as the mob would get nearly to them they would break and skaddle back out of reach Lots of the women and girls was crying and taking on, scared most to death They swarmed up in front of Sherburn’s palings as thick as they could jam together, and you couldn’t hear yourself think for the noise It was a little twenty-foot yard Some sung out “Tear down the fence! tear down the fence!” Then there was a racket of ripping and tearing and smashing, and down she goes, and the front wall of the crowd begins to roll in like a wave Just then Sherburn steps out on to the roof of his little front porch, with a double-barrel gun in his hand, and takes his stand, perfectly ca’m and deliberate, not saying a word The racket stopped, and the wave sucked back Sherburn never said a word–just stood there, looking down The stillness was awful creepy and uncomfortable Sherburn run his eye slow along the crowd; and wherever it struck the people tried a little to out-gaze him, but they couldn’t; they dropped their eyes and looked sneaky Then pretty soon Sherburn sort of laughed; not the pleasant kind, but the kind that makes you feel like when you are eating bread that’s got sand in it Then he says, slow and scornful: “The idea of _you_ lynching anybody! It’s amusing The idea of you thinking you had pluck enough to lynch a _man_! Because you’re brave enough to tar and feather poor friendless cast-out women that come along here, did that make you think you had grit enough to lay your hands on a _man_? Why, a _man’s_ safe in the hands of ten thousand of your kind–as long as it’s daytime and you’re not behind him “Do I know you? I know you clear through I was born and raised in the South, and I’ve lived in the North; so I know the average all around The average man’s a coward In the North he lets anybody walk over him that wants to, and goes home and prays for a humble spirit to bear it In the South one man all by himself, has stopped a stage full of men in the daytime, and robbed the lot Your newspapers call you a brave people so much that you think you are braver than any other people–whereas you’re just _as_ brave, and no braver Why don’t your juries hang murderers? Because they’re afraid the man’s friends will shoot them in the back, in the dark–and it’s just what they _would_ do “So they always acquit; and then a _man_ goes in the night, with a hundred masked cowards at his back and lynches the rascal Your mistake is, that you didn’t bring a man with you; that’s one mistake, and the other is that you didn’t come in the dark and fetch your masks You brought _part_ of a man–Buck Harkness, there–and if you hadn’t had him to start you, you’d a taken it out in blowing “You didn’t want to come The average man don’t like trouble and danger _You_ don’t like trouble and danger But if only _half_ a man–like Buck Harkness, there–shouts ‘Lynch him! lynch him!’ you’re afraid to back down–afraid you’ll be found out to be what you are–_cowards_–and so you raise a yell, and hang yourselves on to that half-a-man’s coat-tail, and come raging up here, swearing what big things you’re going to do The pitifulest thing out is a mob; that’s what an army is–a mob; they don’t fight with courage that’s born in them, but with courage that’s borrowed from their mass, and from their officers But a mob without any _man_ at the head of it is _beneath_ pitifulness Now the thing for _you_ to do is to droop your tails and go home and crawl in a hole If any real lynching’s going to be done it will be done in the dark, Southern fashion; and when they come they’ll bring their masks, and fetch a _man_ along Now _leave_–and take your half-a-man with you”–tossing his gun up across his left arm and cocking it when he says this The crowd washed back sudden, and then broke all apart, and went tearing off every which way, and Buck Harkness he heeled it after them, looking tolerable cheap I could a stayed if I wanted to, but I didn’t want to I went to the circus and loafed around the back side till the watchman went by, and then dived in under the tent I had my twenty-dollar gold piece and some other money, but I reckoned

I better save it, because there ain’t no telling how soon you are going to need it, away from home and amongst strangers that way You can’t be too careful I ain’t opposed to spending money on circuses when there ain’t no other way, but there ain’t no use in _wasting_ it on them It was a real bully circus It was the splendidest sight that ever was when they all come riding in, two and two, a gentleman and lady, side by side, the men just in their drawers and undershirts, and no shoes nor stirrups, and resting their hands on their thighs easy and comfortable–there must a been twenty of them–and every lady with a lovely complexion, and perfectly beautiful, and looking just like a gang of real sure-enough queens, and dressed in clothes that cost millions of dollars, and just littered with diamonds It was a powerful fine sight; I never see anything so lovely And then one by one they got up and stood, and went a-weaving around the ring so gentle and wavy and graceful, the men looking ever so tall and airy and straight, with their heads bobbing and skimming along, away up there under the tent-roof, and every lady’s rose-leafy dress flapping soft and silky around her hips, and she looking like the most loveliest parasol And then faster and faster they went, all of them dancing, first one foot out in the air and then the other, the horses leaning more and more, and the ringmaster going round and round the center-pole, cracking his whip and shouting “Hi!–hi!” and the clown cracking jokes behind him; and by and by all hands dropped the reins, and every lady put her knuckles on her hips and every gentleman folded his arms, and then how the horses did lean over and hump themselves! And so one after the other they all skipped off into the ring, and made the sweetest bow I ever see, and then scampered out, and everybody clapped their hands and went just about wild Well, all through the circus they done the most astonishing things; and all the time that clown carried on so it most killed the people The ringmaster couldn’t ever say a word to him but he was back at him quick as a wink with the funniest things a body ever said; and how he ever _could_ think of so many of them, and so sudden and so pat, was what I couldn’t noway understand Why, I couldn’t a thought of them in a year And by and by a drunk man tried to get into the ring–said he wanted to ride; said he could ride as well as anybody that ever was They argued and tried to keep him out, but he wouldn’t listen, and the whole show come to a standstill Then the people begun to holler at him and make fun of him, and that made him mad, and he begun to rip and tear; so that stirred up the people, and a lot of men begun to pile down off of the benches and swarm towards the ring, saying, “Knock him down! throw him out!” and one or two women begun to scream So, then, the ringmaster he made a little speech, and said he hoped there wouldn’t be no disturbance, and if the man would promise he wouldn’t make no more trouble he would let him ride if he thought he could stay on the horse So everybody laughed and said all right, and the man got on The minute he was on, the horse begun to rip and tear and jump and cavort around, with two circus men hanging on to his bridle trying to hold him, and the drunk man hanging on to his neck, and his heels flying in the air every jump, and the whole crowd of people standing up shouting and laughing till tears rolled down And at last, sure enough, all the circus men could do, the horse broke loose, and away he went like the very nation, round and round the ring, with that sot laying down on him and hanging to his neck, with first one leg hanging most to the ground on one side, and then t’other one on t’other side, and the people just crazy It warn’t funny to me, though; I was all of a tremble to see his danger But pretty soon he struggled up astraddle and grabbed the bridle, a-reeling this way and that; and the next minute he sprung up and dropped the bridle and stood! and the horse a-going like a house afire too He just stood up there, a-sailing around as easy and comfortable as if he warn’t ever drunk in his life–and then he begun to pull off his clothes and sling them He shed them so thick they kind of clogged up

the air, and altogether he shed seventeen suits And, then, there he was, slim and handsome, and dressed the gaudiest and prettiest you ever saw, and he lit into that horse with his whip and made him fairly hum–and finally skipped off, and made his bow and danced off to the dressing-room, and everybody just a-howling with pleasure and astonishment Then the ringmaster he see how he had been fooled, and he _was_ the sickest ringmaster you ever see, I reckon Why, it was one of his own men! He had got up that joke all out of his own head, and never let on to nobody Well, I felt sheepish enough to be took in so, but I wouldn’t a been in that ringmaster’s place, not for a thousand dollars I don’t know; there may be bullier circuses than what that one was, but I never struck them yet Anyways, it was plenty good enough for _me_; and wherever I run across it, it can have all of _my_ custom every time Well, that night we had _our_ show; but there warn’t only about twelve people there–just enough to pay expenses And they laughed all the time, and that made the duke mad; and everybody left, anyway, before the show was over, but one boy which was asleep So the duke said these Arkansaw lunkheads couldn’t come up to Shakespeare; what they wanted was low comedy–and maybe something ruther worse than low comedy, he reckoned He said he could size their style So next morning he got some big sheets of wrapping paper and some black paint, and drawed off some handbills, and stuck them up all over the village The bills said: AT THE COURT HOUSE! FOR 3 NIGHTS ONLY! The World – Renowned Tragedians DAVID CARRICK THE YOUNGER! AND EDMUND KEAN THE ELDER! Of the London and Continental Theatres, In their Thrilling Tragedy of THE KING’S CAMELOPARD OR THE ROYAL NONESUCH!!! Admission 50 cents Then at the bottom was the biggest line of all – which said” LADIES AND CHILDREN NOT ADMITTED ‘There,’ says he ‘ if that line don’t fetch them, I don’t know Arkansaw!’