Infomotions, Inc.The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn / Twain, Mark

Author: Twain, Mark
Title: The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn
Publisher: Eris Etext Project
Tag(s): jim; nigger; tom; tom sawyer; duke; aunt sally; got; american literature
Contributor(s): Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.)
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 110,588 words (short) Grade range: 7-9 (grade school) Readability score: 77 (easy)
Identifier: twain-adventures-28
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                                 by Mark Twain


  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 Ordnance


  In this book a number of dialects are used, to wit: the Missouri
negro dialect; the extremest form of the backwoods South-Western
dialect; the ordinary "Pike-County" dialect; and four modified
varieties of this last. The shadings have not been done in a
hap-hazard fashion, or by guess-work; 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.

                                                The Author


  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 wasn'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

  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 the 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

  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 was 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 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 horse-shoe 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 onto the shed. Then I
slipped down to the ground and crawled in amongst the trees, and
sure enough there was Tom Sawyer waiting for me.


  We went tip-toeing 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 tip-toeing 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 of 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? What is you? Dog my cats ef I didn' hear sumf'n.
Well, I knows 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 the limb right over him, and Jim stirred a little, but he
didn't wake. Afterwards Jim said the witches bewitched 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 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 around 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 so stuck up on account of having seen the devil and been rode by

  Well, when Tom and me got to the edge of the hill-top, we looked
away down into the village and could see three or four lights
twinkling, where there was sick folks, may be; 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

  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 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, 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 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- 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 they 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

  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


  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 a while 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 snuff-box that was stole? Why
can't Miss Watson fat up? No, says I to myself, 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 agoing 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 drowned, about
twelve miles above town, so people said. They judged it was him,
anyway; said this drowned 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, we hadn't killed any
people, but only just pretended. We used to hop out of the woods and
go charging down on hog-drovers 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 pow-wow 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 Arabs 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 broom-sticks, 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 Arabs, 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 Arabs
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, allright, then the thing for
us to do was to go for the magicians. Tom Sawyer said I was a

  "Why," says 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 flatheads 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 sap-head."

  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.


  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 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

  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

  "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 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. I's 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, 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 'tother 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 'tother one is dark. One is rich en
'tother 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 set
pap, his own self!


  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 bothering 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 'tother 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
considerble 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

  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

  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 agoing 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 agoing 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 ahold 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 sometime he got
powerful thirsty and clumb out onto 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 ole man with a shot-gun, maybe, but he didn't know no other


  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 miles, 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

  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 drowned 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
enought 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 came in.

  Pap warn't in a good humor- so he was his natural self. He said he
was down to 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

  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
upards, 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 anear 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 ahold of a prowling, thieving, infernal, white-shirted nigger,

  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 'tother. 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

  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 ahold 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

  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 splitbottom
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,
and 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.


  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

  "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
cord-wood 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 'tother 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

  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 cat-fish off
of 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 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 wood pile, 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 in
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 ever notice it; and besides, this was the back
of the cabin and it warn't likely anybody would go fooling around

  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 bloodied the axe
good, and stuck it on the back side, and slung the axe in the
corner. Then I took 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. 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. Thinks I,
maybe it's pap, though I warn't expecting him. He dropped below me,
with the current, and by-and-by he come 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 to 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 soon I would be passing the ferry landing
and people might see me and hail me. I got out amongst the
drift-wood 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. 'Tother 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 tune. 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 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.


  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 think I hears a
deep sound of "boom!" away up the river. I rouses up and rests my
elbow and listens; pretty soon I hears it again. I hopped up and
went and looked out 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
ferry-boat'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

  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
ferry-boat 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

  "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 of 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 cat-fish
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

  When it was dark I set by my camp fire smoking, and feeling pretty
satisfied; but by-and-by it got sort of lonesome, and so I went and
set on the bank and listened to the currents washing 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 tip-toes
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

  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 agoing 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 onto 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 set 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 tree-tops, 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
awluz 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

  "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."

  "Yes- indeedy."

  "What, all that time?"

 "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 reckon 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 cat-fish, 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

  "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."

  "But mind, you said you wouldn't tell- you know you said you
wouldn't 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
agoing to tell, and I ain't agoing 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 ole 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 of 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

  "I tuck out en shin down de hill en 'spec to steal a skit 'long de
sho' som'ers 'bove de town, but dey wuz people a-stirrin' 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 skit 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 agoin' 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 shavins all day. I 'uz hungry, but I warn't
afeared; bekase I knowed ole missus en de widder wuz goin' to start to
de camp meetn' 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 aholt. 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 arisin' 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 Illinoi 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' anywheres, but I couldn't- bank too
bluff. I 'uz mos' to de foot er de islan' b'fo' I foun' 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

  "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 musn'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 bee-hive,
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

  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 goodluck signs. He says:

  "Mighty few- an' dey ain' 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 be rich bymeby."

  "Have you got hairy arms and a hairy breast, Jim?"

  "What's de use to ax dat question? don' 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't 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'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

  "Yes. You know dat 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'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' keep me out er
de business, bekase he say 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 chuckle-heads, 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 get 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 hundred dollars. I wisht I had de money, I wouldn' want no mo'."


  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

  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 up-stairs 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

  "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 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 under-clothes, 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 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 bed-quilt 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 fish-line as thick as my
little finger, with some monstrous hooks on it, and a roll of
buckskin, and a leather dog-collar, and a horse-shoe, 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.


  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
varmit 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 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 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 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 aholt 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 cat-fish 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 trowser-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.


  "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

  "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 mile
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
afeard 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 this town;
but by-and-by she dropped onto 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 thinks 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 ferry-boat 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 give 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 into 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

  "Why, are they after him yet?"

  "Well, you're innocent, ain't you! Does three hundred dollars lay
round every day for people to pick up? Some folks thinks 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 my 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 afeard 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?"


  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 she 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,

  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, but 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 any 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
mustn'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 day-times 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, 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 day-break 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

  "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 day-light."

  "Hold on a minute. I'll put you up a snack to eat. You might want

  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 most 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 'tother way. And when you throw at a rat
or anything, hitch yourself up a tip-toe, and fetch your hand up
over your head as awkard 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 Lotus,
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 hear 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 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.


  It must a been close onto 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 into 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 begun to show, we tied up to a tow-head
in a big bend on the Illinois side, and hacked off cotton-wood
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 sand-bar 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 upbound 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 tow-head
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 the 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 upstream 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 corn fields 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, sometime; 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
around, 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 pilothouse 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
starboard 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 onto 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 swor'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 agoing 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 about 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

  "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 agoin'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 din'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 tune; so
to keep from getting run over and catched I crawled into a stateroom
on the upper side. The man come 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 gotto 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 gether 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 agoin' 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
around 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!- 'en here we is!"


  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 onto the shutters, I was so weak. But Bill

  "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 a 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 paddlebox, 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 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 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 staid, 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 onto 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 ferry-boat. 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 give
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
ferry-boat 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?"


  "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 afloating down, stern-first,
about two mile, and saddle-baggsed on the wreck, and the ferry man 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 agoin' to pay for it? Do you reckon your

  "Why that's all right. Miss Hooker she told 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 agoing 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
ferry-boat 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 heavyhearted about the gang, but not much, for I
reckoned if they could stand it, I could.

  Then here comes the ferry-boat; 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 Horseback would want them; and then pretty soon
the ferryboat give it up and went for 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.


  By-and-by, when we got up, we turned over the truck the gang had
stole off 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 ferry-boat; 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 old 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't 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?"

  "What's de harem?"

  "The place where he keep 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'on. 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 blimblammin' 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't 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 would'n 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

  "But I tell you don't get the point."

  "Blame de pint! 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 er 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
fetch 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 ooty lonesome- dey ain' no kings here,
is dey, Huck?"


  "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

  "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. Spose a man was to come to you and say 'Polly-voo-franzy'-
what would you think?"

  "I wouldn't 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?"


  "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?"


  "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' got no business to talk like either one or
the yuther of 'em. Is a Frenchman a man?"

  "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.


  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
tow-head to tie to, for it wouldn't do to try to run in 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 to the tow-head. That was all right as far as it went,
but the tow-head 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 tow-head 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
'tother, 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 current 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 'tother side of it. It warn't
no tow-head, that you could float by in ten minutes. It had the big
timber of a regular island; it might be five or six mile long and more
than a 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 mile 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
tow-heads, 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 losing the whoops, down amongst the tow-heads; 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 just 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 begun 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 out after it; but when I got to it warn't nothing
but a couple of saw-logs made fast together. Then I see another speck,
and chased that; then another, and this time I was right. It was the

  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 begun 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 again? 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 again, '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

  "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 seen no tow-head."

  "You hain't seen no tow-head? 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 ben 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 'tother one was jis' as good as los', 'kase he didn'
know whah he wuz? En didn't I bust up again 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

  "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 tow-head 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 tow-heads 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 onto 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's 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


  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 the 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 staid 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, no way. 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 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't 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.

  "So 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 waysto 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 head-line, 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 smallpox, 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
then 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 smallpox, you see.
Look here, I'll tell you what to do. Don't you try to land by
yourself, and 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 smallpox, 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

  "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 comes handiest at the time.

  I went into the wigwam; Jim warn't there. I looked all around; he
warn't anywhere. I says:


  "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 was 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! tell you, chile, I 'speck it save' ole Jim-
ole Jim ain' gwyne 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 aver with a skiff, setting a trot-line. I ranged up and

  "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 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 tow-head
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' less' talk about it, Huck. Po' niggers can't have no luck.
I awluz 'spected dat rattle-snake 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 in shore, sure
enough, and outside was the old regular Muddy! So it was all up with

  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 cotton-wood 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 rattle-snake
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 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 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 to 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 laughed 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 pow-wow
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 staid
under water a minute and a half. Then I bounced for the top in a
hurry, for I was nearly busting. I popped out to my arm-pits 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 clum 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


  In about half 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

  "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 door-steps, 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 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 frowsy-headed. He come 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

  "Well, nobody come after me, and it ain't right. I'm always kep'
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 telling me about a blue jay 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 about
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-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, and the
same as houses in a town. There warn't no bed in the parlor, not 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 washed them over with red water-paint
that they called 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 mantel-piece, 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 swing 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 a table in the middle of the room
was a kind of 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 oil-cloth, 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 arm-pits, 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 she 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 the dead
person's name, which was Whistler. She warn't ever the same, after
that; she never complained, but she kind of 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 scrapbook
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!


  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 cloud-bank it was awful dark for a 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 decanters 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

  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, day-times, 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 the 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 came 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 came back when she found the man warn't

  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

  "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 folks; 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 buck-shot 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 years 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
outrun him; so they had it, nip and tuck, for five mile and more,
the old man againing 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 a 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 wood-pile, and kep' his horse
before him to stop the bullets; but the Grangerfords staid 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
against 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 up stairs, 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 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 reckoned 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 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 tuck 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 get 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, too, in de place o' what 'uz los'."

  "Why, how did you get hold of the raft again, Jim- did you catch

  "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 agoing 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, sometime- nobody don't know jis' when- run off to git
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 the 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 wood-pile 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 cotton-wood 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 wood-pile 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 wood-pile 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 agoing to tell all that
happened- it would make me sick again if I was to do that. I ain't
ever going to get shut of them- lots of times I dream about them.

  I staid 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 agoing on. I was mighty down-hearted;
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 piece of
paper meant that Miss Sophia was to meet Harney somewheres at halfpast
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 agin, 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 to think so- so don't you lose no
time, Jim, but just shove off for the big water as fast as ever you

  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.


  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
day-times; soon as night was most gone, we stopped navigating and tied
up- nearly always in the dead water under a tow-head; 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- perfactly still- just like the whole world was
asleep, only sometimes the bull-frogs 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 wood-yard, likely, and piled by
them cheats so you can throw a dog through it anywheres; then the nice
breeze blows 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 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 ax flash, and come down- you don't
hear nothing; you see that ax 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 pow-wow 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 day-break, 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 cow-path 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 as soon as they was aboard I lit out for our
tow-head, 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 tow-head 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 woolen 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 longtailed 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 with it- but I
staid 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 with you. That's the whole yarn- what's yourn?"

  "Well, I'd been a-runnin'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," says 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;
theatre-actor- tragedy, you know; take a turn at 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-


  "What're you alassin' about?" says the baldhead.

  "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 title 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, you ain't. You ain't the only person that's ben snaked down
wrongfully out'n a high place."


  "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

  "To the bitter death!" He took the old man by the hand and
squeezed it, and says, "The 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 staid hurry 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 less 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.


  They asked us considerable many questions; wanted to know what we
covered up the raft that way for, and laid by in the day-time
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 day-times 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 day-time 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

  "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;
I 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 night 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-wack!- 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 Shaksperean 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-actn', 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?"


  "All right. I'm jist a-freezn' for something fresh, anyway. Less
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 night-cap. 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 night-shirt and a ruffled night-cap 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 sunbonnets; 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! (amen!) 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 agoing; and you could hear
him over everybody; 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 the 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 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

  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 we was starting home through the woods. The king
said, take it all around, it laid over any day he'd ever put 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 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 cord-wood 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
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 pow-wow 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

  "Huck, does you reck'n we gwyne to run acrost any mo' kings on dis

  "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.


  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 a 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
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 don't bray like a

  Well, next they got out a couple of long swords that the duke made
out of oak laths, and begun to practice the swordfight- 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

  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

  "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


  Breathes forth contagion on the world,

  And thus the native hue of resolution, like the poor cat i' the


  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


  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

  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,


                      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


                         Romeo and Juliet!!!

  Romeo............................................... Mr. Garrick.

  Juliet.............................................. Mr. Kean.


           The thrilling, masterly, and blood-curdling

                      Broad-sword conflict

                       In Richard III.!!!

         Assisted by the whole strength of the company!

          New costumes, new scenery, new appointments!

  Richard III........................................ Mr. Garrick.

  Richmond........................................... Mr. Kean.


                      (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 dry-goods 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 every time; 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 they 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 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 whiskey 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, whopping 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

  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

  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,

  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 proudlooking 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,
bareheaded, with a friend on both sides of him aholt 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-


  I looked over 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 onto 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 onto 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; 'taint right and 'taint 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 stove-pipe 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 stopping 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 hatbrim 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.


  They swarmed up the street towards Sherburn's house, a-whooping
and yelling 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 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 of 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 outgaze 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 day-time 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 day-time, and robbed the lot. Your
newspapers call you 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 onto 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 staid, if I'd a 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 a
twenty-dollar gold piece and some other money, but I reckoned I better
save, 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 two and two, a gentleman and lady, side
by side, the men just in their drawers and under-shirts, 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, and their heads bobbing and skimming along, away up
there under the tentroof, 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 stuck out in the air and then the other, the horses leaning
more and more, and the ring-master going round and round the
centre-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 ring-master 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 ring-master 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 onto his bridle trying to hold him, and the
drunk man hanging onto his neck, and his heels flying in the air every
jump, and the whole crowd of people standing up shouting and
laughing till the 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
agoing 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 ring-master he see how he had been fooled, and he was the
sickest ring-master 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 Shakspeare; what they
wanted was low comedy- and may be 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 GARRICK THE YOUNGER!


                     EDMUND KEAN THE ELDER!

             Of the London and Continental Theatres,

                 In their Thrilling Tragedy of

                     THE KING'S CAMELOPARD


                     THE ROYAL NONESUCH!!!

                       Admission 50 cents.

Then at the bottom was the biggest line of all-which said:


  "There," says he, "if that line don't fetch them, I don't know


  Well, all day him and the king was hard at it, rigging up a stage,
and a curtain, and a row of candles for footlights; and that night the
house was jam full of men in no time. When the place couldn't hold
no more, the duke he quit tending door and went around the back way
and come onto the stage and stood up before the curtain, and made a
little speech, and praised up this tragedy, and said it was the most
thrillingest one that ever was; and so he went on a-bragging about the
tragedy and about Edmund Kean the Elder, which was to play the main
principal part in it; and at last when he'd got everybody's
expectations up high enough, he rolled up the curtain, and the next
minute the king come a-prancing out on all fours, naked; and he was
painted all over, ring-streaked-and-striped, all sorts of colors, as
splendid as a rainbow. And- but never mind the rest of his outfit,
it was just wild, but it was awful funny. The people most killed
themselves laughing; and when the king got done capering, and
capered off behind the scenes, they roared and clapped and stormed and
haw-hawed till he come back and done it over agin; and after that,
they made him do it another time. Well, it would a made a cow laugh to
see the shines that old idiot cut.

  Then the duke he lets the curtain down, and bows to the people,
and says the great tragedy will be performed only two nights more,
on accounts of pressing London engagements, where the seats is all
sold aready for it in Drury Lane; and then he makes them another
bow, and says if he has succeeded in pleasing them and instructing
them, he will be deeply obleeged if they will mention it to their
friends and get them to come and see it.

  Twenty people sings out:

  "What, is it over? Is that all?"

   The duke says yes. Then there was a fine time. Everybody sings
out "sold," and rose up mad, and was agoing for that stage and them
tragedians. But a big fine-looking man jumps up on a bench, and

  "Hold on! Just a word, gentlemen." They stopped to listen. "We are
sold- mighty badly sold. But we don't want to hear the last of this
thing as long as we live. No. What we be the laughing-stock of this
whole town, I reckon, and never want, is to go out here quiet, and
talk this show up, and sell the rest of the town! Then we'll all be in
the same boat. Ain't that sensible?" ("You bet it is!- the jedge is
right!" everybody sings out.) "All right, then- not a word about any
sell. Go along home, and advise everybody to come and see the

  Next day you couldn't hear nothing around that town but how splendid
that show was. House was jammed again, that night, and we sold this
crowd the same way. When me and the king and the duke got home to
the raft, we all had a supper; and by-and-by, about midnight, they
made Jim and me back her out and float her down the middle of the
river and fetch her in and hide her about two mile below the town.

  The third night the house was crammed again- and they warn't
new-comers, this time, but people that was at the show the other two
nights. I stood by the duke at the door, and I see that every man that
went in had his pockets bulging or something muffled up under his
coat- and I see it warn't no perfumery neither, not by a long sight. I
smelt sickly eggs by the barrel, and rotten cabbages, and such things;
and if I know the signs of a dead cat being around, and I bet I do,
there was sixty-four of them went in. I shoved in there for a
minute, but it was too various for me, I couldn't stand it. Well, when
the place couldn't hold no more people, the duke he give a fellow a
quarter and told him to tend door for him a minute, and then he
started around for the stage door, I after him; but the minute we
turned the corner and was in the dark, he says:

  "Walk fast, now, till you get away from the houses, and then shin
for the raft like the dickens was after you!"

  I done it, and he done the same. We struck the raft at the same
time, and in less than two seconds we was gliding down stream, all
dark and still, and edging towards the middle of the river, nobody
saying a word. I reckoned the poor king was in for a gaudy time of
it with the audience; but nothing of the sort; pretty soon he crawls
out from under the wigwam, and says:

  "Well, how'd the old thing pan out this time, Duke?"

  He hadn't been up town at all.

  We never showed a light till we was about ten mile below that
village. Then we lit up and had a supper, and the king and the duke
fairly laughed their bones loose over the way they'd served them
people. The duke says:

  "Greenhorns, flatheads! I knew the first house would keep mum and
let the rest of the town get roped in; and I knew they'd lay for us
the third night, and consider it was their turn now. Well, it is their
turn, and I'd give something to know how much they'd take for it. I
would just like to know how they're putting in their opportunity. They
can turn it into a picnic, if they want to- they brought plenty

  Them rapscallions took in four hundred and sixty-five dollars in
that three nights. I never see money hauled in by the wagon-load
like that, before.

  By-and-by, when they was asleep and snoring, Jim says:

  "Don't it 'sprise you, de way dem kings carries on, Huck?"

  "No," I says, "it don't."

  "Why don't it, Huck?"

  "Well, it don't, because it's in the breed. I reckon they're all

  "But, Huck, dese kings o' ourn is regular rapscallions; dat's jist
what dey is; dey's reglar rapscallions."

  "Well, that's what I'm a-saying; all kings is mostly rapscallions,
as fur as I can make out."

  "Is dat so?"

  "You read about them once- you'll see. Look at Henry the Eight;
this'n's a Sunday-School Superintendent to him. And look at Charles
Second, and Louis Fourteen, and Louis Fifteen, and James Second, and
Edward Second, and Richard Third, and forty more; besides all them
Saxon heptarchies that used to rip around so in old times and raise
Cain. My, you ought to seen old Henry the Eight when he was in
bloom. He was a blossom. He used to marry a new wife every day, and
chop off her head next morning. And he would do it just as indifferent
as if he was ordering up eggs. 'Fetch up Nell Gwynn,' he says. They
fetch her up. Next morning, 'Chop off her head!' And they chop it off.
'Fetch up Jane Shore,' he says; and up she comes. Next morning 'Chop
off her head'- and they chop it off. 'Ring up Fair Rosamun.' Fair
Rosamun answers the bell. Next morning, 'Chop off her head.' he made
every one of them tell him a tale every night; and he kept that up
till he had hogged a thousand and one tales that way, and then he
put them all in a book, and called it Domesday Book- which was a
good name and stated the case. You don't know kings, Jim, but I know
them; and this old rip of ourn is one of the cleanest I've struck in
history. Well, Henry he takes a notion he wants to get up some trouble
with this country. How does he go at it- give notice?- give the
country a show? No. All of a sudden he heaves all the tea in Boston
Harbor overboard, and whacks out a declaration of independence, and
dares them to come on. That was his style- he never give anybody a
chance. He had suspicions of his father, the Duke of Wellington. Well,
what did he do?- ask him to show up? No- drownded him in a butt of
mamsey, like a cat. Spose people left money laying around where he
was- what did he do? He collared it. Spose he contracted to do a
thing; and you paid him, and didn't set down there and see that he
done it- what did he do? He always done the other thing. Spose he
opened his mouth- what then? If he didn't shut it up powerful quick,
he'd lose a lie, every time. That's the kind of a bug Henry was; and
if we'd a had him along 'stead of our kings, he'd a fooled that town a
heap worse than ourn done. I don't say that ourn is lambs because they
ain't, when you come right down to the cold facts; but they ain't
nothing to that old ram, anyway. All I say is, kings is kings, and you
got to make allowances. Take them all around, they're a mighty
ornery lot. It's the way they're raised."

  "But dis one do smell so like de nation, Huck."

  "Well, they all do, Jim. We can't help the way a king smells;
history don't tell no way."

  "Now de duke, he's a tolerble likely man, in some ways."

  "Yes, a duke's different. But not very different. This one's a
middling hard lot, for a duke. When he's drunk, there ain't no
near-sighted man could tell him from a king."

  "Well, anyways, I doan' hanker for no mo' un um, Huck. Dese is all I
kin stan'."

  "It's the way I feel, too, Jim. But we've got them on our hands, and
we got to remember what they are, and make allowances. Sometimes I
wish we could hear of a country that's out of kings."

  What was the use to tell Jim these warn't real kings and dukes? It
wouldn't a done no good; and besides, it was just as I said; you
couldn't tell them from the real kind.

  I went to sleep, and Jim didn't call me when it was my turn. He
often done that. When I waked up, just at daybreak, he was setting
there with his head down betwixt his knees, moaning and mourning to
himself. I didn't take notice, nor let on. I knowed what it was about.
He was thinking about his wife and his children, away up yonder, and
he was low and homesick; because he hadn't ever been away from home
before in his life; and I do believe he cared just as much for his
people as white folks does for their'n. It don't seem natural, but I
reckon it's so. He was often moaning and mourning that way, nights,
when he judged I was asleep, and saying, "Po' little 'Lizabeth! po'
little Johnny! its mighty hard; I spec' I ain't ever gwyne to see
you no mo', no mo'!" He was a mighty good nigger, Jim was.

  But this time I somehow got to talking to him about his wife and
young ones; and by-and-by he says:

  "What makes me feel so bad dis time, 'uz bekase I hear sumpn over
yonder on de bank like a whack, er a slam, while ago, en it mine me er
de time I treat my little 'Lizabeth so ornery. She warn't on'y 'bout
fo' year ole, en she tuck de sk'yarlet-fever, en had a powful rough
spell; but she got well, en one day she was a-stannin' aroun', en I
says to her, I says:

  "'Shet de do'.'

  "She never done it; jis'stood dah, kiner smilin' up at me. It make
me mad; en I says agin, mighty loud, I says:

  "'Doan' you hear me?- shet de do'!'

  "She jis' stood de same way, kiner smilin'up. I was a-bilin'! I

  "'I lay I make you mine!'

  "En wid dat I fetch' her a slap side de head dat sont her
a-sprawlin'. Den I went into de yuther room, en 'uz gone 'bout ten
minutes; en when I come back, dah was dat do' a-stannin' open yit,
en dat chile stannin' mos' right in it, a-lookin' down and mournin',
en de tears runnin' down. My, but I wuz mad, I was agwyne for de
chile, but jis' den- it was a do' dat open innerds- jis' den 'long
come de wind en slam it to, behine de chile, ker-blam!- en my lan', de
chile never move'! My breff mos' hop outer me; en I feel so- so- I
doan' know how I feel. I crope out, all a-tremblin', en crope aroun'
en open de do' easy en slow, en poke my head in behine de chile,
sof' en still, en all uv a sudden, I says pow! jis' as loud as I could
yell. She never budge! Oh, Huck, I bust out a-cryin' en grab her up in
my arms, en say, 'Oh, de po' little thing! de Lord God Amighty
fogive po' ole Jim, kaze he never gwyne to fogive hisself as long's he
live!' Oh, she was plumb deef en dumb, Huck, plumb deef en dumb- en
I'd ben a-treat'n her so!"


  Next day, towards night, we laid up under a little willow tow-head
out in the middle, where there was a village on each side of the
river, and the duke and the king begun to lay out a plan for working
them towns. Jim he spoke to the duke, and said he hoped it wouldn't
take but a few hours, because it got mighty heavy and tiresome to
him when he had to lay all day in the wigwam tied with the rope. You
see, when we left him all alone we had to tie him, because if
anybody happened on him all by himself and not tied, it wouldn't
look much like he was a runaway nigger, you know. So the duke said
it was kind of hard to have to lay roped all day, and he'd cipher
out some way to get around it.

  He was uncommon bright, the duke was, and he soon struck it. He
dressed Jim up in King Lear's outfit- it was a long curtain-calico
gown, and a white horse-hair wig and whiskers; and then he took his
theatre-paint and painted Jim's face and hands and ears and neck all
over a dead dull solid blue, like a man that's been drownded nine
days. Blamed if he warn't the horriblest looking outrage I ever see.
Then the duke took and wrote out a sign on a shingle so-

   Sick Arab- but harmless when not out of his head

   And he nailed the shingle to a lath, and stood the lath up four
or five foot in front of the wigwam. Jim was satisfied. He said it was
a sight better than laying tied a couple of years every day and
trembling all over every time there was a sound. The duke told him
to make himself free and easy, and if anybody ever come meddling
around he must hop out of the wigwam, and carry on a little, and fetch
a howl or two like a wild beast, and he reckoned they would light
out and leave him alone. Which was sound enough judgment; but you take
the average man, and he wouldn't wait for him to howl. Why, he
didn't only look like he was dead, he looked considerable more than

  These rapscallions wanted to try the Nonesuch again, because there
was so much money in it, but they judged it wouldn't be safe,
because maybe the news might a worked along down by this time. They
couldn't hit no project that suited, exactly; so at last the duke said
he reckoned he'd lay off and work his brains an hour or two and see if
he couldn't put up something on the Arkansaw village; and the king
he allowed he would drop over to t'other village, without any plan,
but just trust in Providence to lead him the profitable way- meaning
the devil, I reckon. We had all bought store clothes where we
stopped last; and now the king put his'n on, and he told me to put
mine on. I done it, of course. The king's duds was all black, and he
did look real swell and starchy. I never knowed how clothes could
change a body before. Why, before, he looked like the orneriest old
rip that ever was; but now, when he'd take off his new white beaver
and make a bow and do a smile, he looked that grand and good and pious
that you'd say he had walked right out of the ark, and maybe was old
Leviticus himself. Jim cleaned up the canoe, and I got my paddle
ready. There was a big steamboat laying at the shore away up under the
point, about three mile above town- been there a couple of hours,
taking on freight. Says the king:

  "Seein' how I'm dressed, I reckon maybe I better arrive down from
St. Louis or Cincinnati, or some other big place. Go for the
steamboat, Huckleberry; we'll come down to the village on her."

  I didn't have to be ordered twice, to go and take a steamboat
ride. I fetched the shore a half a mile above the village, and then
went scooting along the bluff bank in the easy water. Pretty soon we
come to a nice innocent-looking young country jake setting on a log
swabbing the sweat off of his face, for it was powerful warm
weather; and he had a couple of big carpet-bags by him.

  "Run her nose in shore," says the king. I done it. "Wher' you
bound for, young man?"

  "For the steamboat; going to Orleans."

  "Git aboard," says the king. "Hold on a minute, my servant'll he'p
you with them bags. Jump out and he'p the gentleman, Adolphus"-
meaning me, I see.

  I done so, and then we all three started on again. The young chap
was mighty thankful; said it was tough work toting his baggage in such
weather. He asked the king where he was going, and the king told him
he'd come down the river and landed at the other village this morning,
and now he was going up a few mile to see an old friend on a farm up
there. The young fellow says:

  "When I first see you, I says to myself, 'It's Mr. Wilks, sure,
and he come mighty near getting here in time.' But then I says
again, 'No, I reckon it ain't him, or else he wouldn't be paddling
up the river.' You ain't him, are you?"

  "No, my name's Blodgett- Elexander Blodgett- Reverend Elexander
Blodgett, I spose I must say, as I'm one o' the Lord's poor
servants. But still I'm jist as able to be sorry for Mr. Wilks for not
arriving in time, all the same, if he's missed anything by it- which I
hope he hasn't."

  "Well, he don't miss any property by it, because he'll get that
all right; but he's missed seeing his brother Peter die- which he
mayn't mind, nobody can tell as to that- but his brother would a
give anything in this world to see him before he died; never talked
about nothing else all these three weeks; hadn't seen him since they
was boys together- and hadn't ever seen his brother William at all-
that's the deef and dumb one- William ain't more than thirty or
thirty-five. Peter and George was the only ones that come out here;
George was the married brother; him and his wife both died last
year. Harvey and William's the only ones that's left now; and, as I
was saying, they haven't got here in time."

  "Did anybody send' em word?"

  "Oh, yes; a month or two ago, when Peter was first took; because
Peter said then that he sorter felt like he warn't going to get well
this time. You see, he was pretty old, and George's g'yirls was too
young to be much company for him, except Mary Jane the red-headed one;
and so he was kinder lonesome after George and his wife died, and
didn't seem to care much to live. He most desperately wanted to see
Harvey- and William too, for that matter- because he was one of them
kind that can't bear to make a will. He left a letter behind for
Harvey, and said he'd told in it where his money was hid, and how he
wanted the rest of the property divided up so George's g'yirls would
be all right- for George didn't leave nothing. And that letter was all
they could get him to put a pen to."

  "Why do you reckon Harvey don't come? Wher' does he live?"

  "Oh, he lives in England- Sheffield- preaches there- hasn't ever
been in this country. He hasn't had any too much time- and besides
he mightn't a got the letter at all, you know."

  "Too bad, too bad he couldn't a lived to see his brothers, poor
soul. You going to Orleans, you say?"

  "Yes, but that ain't only a part of it. I'm going in a ship, next
Wednesday, for Ryo Janeero, where my uncle lives."

  "It's a pretty long journey. But it'll be lovely; I wisht I was
agoing. Is Mary Jane the oldest? How old is the others?"

  "Mary Jane's nineteen, Susan's fifteen, and Joanna's about fourteen-
that's the one that gives herself to good works and has a hare-lip."

  "Poor things! to be left alone in the cold world so."

  "Well, they could be worse off. Old Peter had friends, and they
ain't going to let them come to no harm. There's Hobson, the Babtis'
preacher; and Deacon Lot Hovey, and Ben Rucker, and Abner Shackleford,
and Levi Bell, the lawyer; and Dr. Robinson, and their wives, and
the widow Bartley, and- well, there's a lot of them; but these are the
ones that Peter was thickest with, and used to write about
sometimes, when he wrote home; so Harvey'll know where to look for
friends when he gets here."

  Well, the old man he went on asking questions till he just fairly
emptied that young fellow. Blamed if he didn't inquire about everybody
and everything in that blessed town, and all about the Wilkses; and
about Peter's business- which was a tanner; and about George's-
which was a carpenter; and about Harvey's- which was a dissentering
minister; and so on, and so on. Then he says:

  "What did you want to walk all the way up to the steamboat for?"

  "Because she's a big Orleans boat, and I was afeard she mightn't
stop there. When they're deep they won't stop for a hail. A Cincinnati
boat will, but this is a St. Louis one."

  "Was Peter Wilks well off?"

  "Oh, yes, pretty well off. He had houses and land, and it's reckoned
he left three or four thousand in cash hid up som'ers."

  "When did you say he died?"

  "I didn't say, but it was last night."

  "Funeral to-morrow, likely?"

  "Yes, 'bout the middle of the day."

  "Well, it's all terrible sad; but we've all got to go, one time or
another. So what we want to do is to be prepared; then we're all

  "Yes, sir, it's the best way. Ma used to always say that."

  When we struck the boat, she was about done loading, and pretty soon
she got off. The king never said nothing about going aboard, so I lost
my ride, after all. When the boat was gone, the king made me paddle up
another mile to a lonesome place, and then he got ashore, and says:

  "Now hustle back, right off, and fetch the duke up here, and the new
carpet-bags. And if he's gone over to t'other side, go over there
and git him. And tell him to git himself up regardless. Shove along,

  I see what he was up to; but I never said nothing, of course. When I
got back with the duke, we hid the canoe and then they set down on a
log, and the king told him everything, just like the young fellow
had said it- every last word of it. And all the time he was a doing
it, he tried to talk like an Englishman; and he done it pretty well
too, for a slouch. I can't imitate him, and so I ain't agoing to try
to; but he really done it pretty good. Then he says:

  "How are you on the deef and dumb, Bilgewater?"

  The duke said, leave him alone for that; said he had played a deef
and dumb person on the histrionic boards. So then they waited for a

  About the middle of the afternoon a couple of little boats come
along, but they didn't come from high enough up the river; but at last
there was a big one, and they hailed her. She sent out her yawl, and
we went aboard, and she was from Cincinnati; and when they found we
only wanted to go four or five mile, they was booming mad, and give us
a cussing, and said they wouldn't land us. But the king was ca'm. He

  "If gentlemen kin afford to pay a dollar a mile apiece, to be took
on and put off in a yawl, a steamboat kin afford to carry 'em, can't

  So they softened down and said it was all right; and when we got
to the village, they yawled us ashore. About two dozen men flocked
down, when they see the yawl a coming; and when the king says-

  "Kin any of you gentlemen tell me where Mr. Peter Wilks lives?" they
give a glance at one another, and nodded their heads, as much as to
say, "What d' I tell you?" Then one of them says, kind of soft and

  "I'm sorry, sir, but the best we can do is to tell you where he
did live yesterday evening."

  Sudden as winking, the ornery old cretur went all to smash, and fell
up against the man, and put his chin on his shoulder, and cried down
his back, and says:

  "Alas, alas, our poor brother- gone, and we never got to see him;
oh, it's too, too hard!"

  Then he turns around, blubbering, and making a lot of idiotic
signs to the duke on his hands, and blamed if he didn't drop a
carpet-bag and bust out a-crying. If they warn't the beatenest lot,
them two frauds, that ever I struck.

  Well, the men gethered around, and sympathized with them, and said
all sorts of kind things to them, and carried their carpet-bags up the
hill for them, and let them lean on them and cry, and told the king
all about his brother's last moments, and the king he told it all over
again on his hands to the duke, and both of them took on about that
dead tanner like they'd lost the twelve disciples. Well, if ever I
struck anything like it, I'm a nigger. It was enough to make a body
ashamed of the human race.


  The news was all over town in two minutes, and you could see the
people tearing down on the run, from every which way, some of them
putting on their coats as they come. Pretty soon we was in the
middle of a crowd, and the noise of the tramping was like a
soldier-march. The windows and door-yards was full; and every minute
somebody would say, over a fence:

  "Is it them?"

  And somebody trotting along with the gang would answer back and say,

  "You bet it is."

  When we got to the house, the street in front of it was packed,
and the three girls was standing in the door. Mary Jane was
red-headed, but that don't make no difference, she was most awful
beautiful, and her face and her eyes was all lit up like glory, she
was so glad her uncles was come. The king he spread his arms, and Mary
Jane she jumped for them, and the hare-lip jumped for the duke, and
there they had it! Everybody most, leastways women, cried for joy to
see them meet again at last and have such good times.

  Then the king he hunched the duke, private- I see him do it- and
then he looked around and see the coffin, over in the corner on two
chairs; so then, him and the duke, with a hand across each other's
shoulder, and t'other hand to their eyes, walked slow and solemn
over there, everybody dropping back to give them room, and all the
talk and noise stopping, people saying "Sh!" and all the men taking
their hats off and dropping their heads, so you could a heard a pin
fall. And when they got there, they bent over and looked in the
coffin, and took one sight, and then they bust out a crying so you
could a heard them to Orleans, most; and then they put their arms
around each other's neck, and hung their chins over each other's
shoulders; and then for three minutes, or maybe four, I never see
two men leak the way they done. And mind you, everybody was doing
the same; and the place was that damp I never see anything like it.
Then one of them got on one side of the coffin, and t'other on t'other
side, and they kneeled down and rested their foreheads on the
coffin, and let on to pray all to theirselves. Well, when it come to
that, it worked the crowd like you never see anything like it, and
so everybody broke down and went to sobbing right out loud- the poor
girls, too; and every woman, nearly, went up to the girls, without
saying a word, and kissed them, solemn, on the forehead, and then
put their hand on their head, and looked up towards the sky, with
the tears running down, and then busted out and went off sobbing and
swabbing, and give the next woman a show. I never see anything so

  Well, by-and-by the king he gets up and comes forward a little,
and works himself up and slobbers out a speech, all full of tears
and flapdoodle about its being a sore trial for him and his poor
brother to lose the diseased, and to miss seeing diseased alive, after
the long journey of four thousand mile, but it's a trial that's
sweetened and sanctified to us by this dear sympathy and these holy
tears, and so he thanks them out of his heart and out of his brother's
heart, because out of their mouths they can't, words being too weak
and cold, and all that kind of rot and slush, till it was just
sickening; and then he blubbers out a pious goody-goody Amen, and
turns hirnself loose and goes to crying fit to bust.

  And the minute the words was out of his mouth somebody over in the
crowd struck up the doxolojer, and everybody joined in with all
their might, and it just warmed you up and made you feel as good as
church letting out. Music is a good thing; and after all that
soul-butter and hogwash, I never see it freshen up things so, and
sound so honest and bully.

  Then the king begins to work his jaw again, and says how him and his
nieces would be glad if a few of the main principal friends of the
family would take supper here with them this evening, and help set
up with the ashes of the diseased; and says if his poor brother laying
yonder could speak, he knows who he would name, for they was names
that was very dear to him, and mentioned often in his letters; and
so he will name the same, to-wit, as follows, vizz:- Rev. Mr.
Hobson, and Deacon Lot Hovey, and Mr. Ben Rucker, and Abner
Shackleford, and Levi Bell, and Dr. Robinson, and their wives, and the
widow Bartley.

  Rev. Hobson and Dr. Robinson was down to the end of the town,
a-hunting together; that is, I mean the doctor was shipping a sick man
to t'other world, and the preacher was pinting him right. Lawyer
Bell was away up to Louisville on some business. But the rest was on
hand, so they all come and shook hands with the king and thanked him
and talked to him; and then they shook hands with the duke, and didn't
say nothing but just kept a-smiling and bobbing their heads like a
passel of sapheads whilst he made all sorts of signs with his hands
and said "Goo-goo- goo-goo-goo," all the time, like a baby that
can't talk.

  So the king he blatted along, and managed to inquire about pretty
much everybody and dog in town, by his name, and mentioned all sorts
of little things that happened one time or another in the town, or
to George's family, or to Peter; and he always let on that Peter wrote
him the things, but that was a lie, he got every blessed one of them
out of that young flathead that we canoed up to the steamboat.

  Then Mary Jane she fetched the letter her father left behind, and
the king he read it out loud and cried over it. It give the
dwelling-house and three thousand dollars, gold, to the girls; and
it give the tanyard (which was doing a good business), along with some
other houses and land (worth about seven thousand), and three thousand
dollars in gold to Harvey and William, and told where the six thousand
cash was hid, down cellar. So these two frauds said they'd go and
fetch it up, and have everything square and above-board; and told me
to come with a candle. We shut the cellar door behind us, and when
they found the bag they spilt it out on the floor and it was a
lovely sight, all them yaller-boys. My, the way the king's eyes did
shine! He slaps the duke on the shoulder, and says:

  "Oh, this ain't bully, nor noth'n! Oh, no, I reckon not! Why, Biljy,
it beats the Nonesuch, don't it!"

  The duke allowed it did. They pawed the yaller-boys, and sifted them
through their fingers and let them jingle down on the floor; and the
king says:

  "It ain't no use talkin'; bein' brothers to a rich dead man, and
representatives of furrin heirs that's got left, is the line for you
and me, Bilge. Thish-yer comes of trust'n to Providence. It's the best
way, in the long run. I've tried 'em all, and ther' ain't no better

  Most everybody would a been satisfied with the pile, and took it
on trust; but no, they must count it. So they counts it, and it
comes out four hundred and fifteen dollars short. Says the king:

  "Dern him, I wonder what he done with that four hundred and
fifteen dollars?"

  They worried over that a while, and ransacked all around for it.
Then the duke says:

  "Well, he was a pretty sick man, and likely he made a mistake- I
reckon that's the way of it. The best way's to let it go, and keep
still about it. We can spare it."

  "Oh, shucks, yes, we can spare it. I don't k'yer noth'n 'bout
that- it's the count I'm thinkin'about. We want to be awful square and
open and aboveboard, here, you know. We want to lug this h-yer money
up stairs and count it before everybody- then ther' ain't noth'n
suspicious. But when the dead man says ther's six thous'n dollars, you
know, we don't want to-"

  "Hold on," says the duke. "Less make up the deffisit"- and he
begun to haul out yaller-boys out of his pocket.

  "It's a most amaz'n' good idea, duke- you have got a rattlin' clever
head on you," says the king. "Blest if the old None-such ain't a
heppin' us out agin"- and he begun to haul out yaller-jackets and
stack them up.

  It most busted them, but they made up the six thousand clean and

  "Say," says the duke, "I got another idea. Le's go up stairs and
count this money, and then take and give it to the girls."

  "Good land, duke, lemme hug you! It's the most dazzling idea 'at
ever a man struck. You have cert'nly got the most astonishin' head I
ever see. Oh, this is the boss dodge, ther' ain't no mistake 'bout it.
Let 'em fetch along their suspicions now, if they want to- this'll lay
'em out."

  When we got up stairs, everybody gethered around the table, and
the king he counted it and stacked it up, three hundred dollars in a
pile- twenty elegant little piles. Everybody looked hungry at it,
and licked their chops. Then they raked it into the bag agin, and I
see the king begin to swell himself up for another speech. He says:

  "Friends all, my poor brother that lays yonder, has done generous by
them that's left behind in the vale of sorrers. He has done generous
by these-yer poor little lambs that he loved and sheltered, and that's
left fatherless and motherless. Yes, and we that knowed him, knows
that he would a done more generous by 'em if he hadn't ben afeard o'
woundin' his dear William and me. Now, wouldn't he? Ther' ain't no
question 'bout it, in my mind. Well, then- what kind o' brothers would
it be, that'd stand in his way at sech a time? And what kind o' uncles
would it be that'd rob- yes, rob- sech poor sweet lambs as these 'at
he loved so, at sech a time? If I know William- and I think I do-
he- well, I'll jest ask him." He turns around and begins to make a lot
of signs to the duke with hands; and the duke he looks at him stupid
and leather-headed a while, then all of a sudden he seems to catch his
meaning, and jumps for the king, goo-gooing with all his might for
joy, and hugs him about fifteen times before he lets up. Then the king
says, "I knowed it; I reckon that'll convince anybody the way he feels
about it. Here, Mary Jane, Susan, Joanner, take the money- take it
all. It's the gift of him that lays yonder, cold but joyful."

  Mary Jane she went for him, Susan and the hare-lip went for the
duke, and then such another hugging and kissing I never see yet. And
everybody crowded up with the tears in their eyes, and most shook
the hands off of them frauds, saying all the time:

  "You dear good souls!- how lovely!- how could you!"

  Well, then, pretty soon all hands got to talking about the
diseased again, and how good he was, and what a loss he was, and all
that; and before long a big iron-jawed man worked himself in there
from outside, and stood a listening and looking, and not saying
anything; and nobody saying anything to him either, because the king
was talking and they was all busy listening. The king was saying- in
the middle of something he'd started in on-

  "-they bein' partickler friends o' the diseased. That's why
they're invited here this evenin'; but to-morrow we want all to
come- everybody; for he respected everybody, he liked everybody, and
so it's fitten that his funeral orgies sh'd be public."

  And so he went a-mooning on and on, liking to hear himself talk, and
every little while he fetched in his funeral orgies again, till the
duke he couldn't stand it no more; so he writes on a little scrap of
paper, "obsequies, you old fool," and folds it up and goes to
goo-gooing and reaching it over people's heads to him. The king he
reads it, and puts it in his pocket, and says:

  "Poor William, afflicted as he is, his heart's aluz right. Asks me
to invite everybody to come to the funeral- wants me to make 'em all
welcome. But he needn't a worried- it was jest what I was at."

  Then he weaves along again, perfectly ca'm, and goes to dropping
in his funeral orgies again every now and then, just like he done
before. And when he done it the third time he says:

  "I say orgies, not because it's the common term, because it ain't-
obsequies bein' the common term- but because orgies is the right term.
Obsequies ain't used in England no more, now- it's gone out. We say
orgies now, in England. Orgies is better, because it means the thing
you're after, more exact. It's a word that's made up outin the Greek
orgo, outside, open, abroad; and the Hebrew jeesum, to plant, cover
up; hence inter. So, you see, funeral orgies is an open er public

  He was the worst I ever struck. Well, the iron-jawed man he
laughed right in his face. Everybody was shocked. Everybody says, "Why
doctor!" and Abner Shackleford says:

  "Why, Robinson, hain't you heard the news? This is Harvey Wilks."

  The king he smiled eager, and shoved out his flapper, and says:

  "Is it my poor brother's dear good friend and physician? I-"

  "Keep your hands off of me!" says the doctor. "You talk like an
Englishman- don't you? It's the worst imitation I ever heard. You
Peter Wilks's brother. You're a fraud, that's what you are!"

  Well, how they all took on! They crowded around the doctor, and
tried to quiet him down, and tried to explain to him, and tell him how
Harvey'd showed in forty ways that he was Harvey, and knowed everybody
by name, and the names of the very dogs, and begged and begged him not
to hurt Harvey's feelings and the poor girls' feelings, and all
that; but it warn't no use, he stormed right along, and said any man
that pretended to be an Englishman and couldn't imitate the lingo no
better than what he did, was a fraud and a liar. The poor girls was
hanging to the king and crying; and all of a sudden the doctor ups and
turns on them. He says:

  "I was your father's friend, and I'm your friend; and I warn you
as a friend, and an honest one, that wants to protect you and keep you
out of harm and trouble, to turn your backs on that scoundrel, and
have nothing to do with him, the ignorant tramp, with his idiotic
Greek and Hebrew as he calls it. He is the thinnest kind of an
imposter- has come here with a lot of empty names and facts which he
has picked up somewheres, and you take them for proofs, and are helped
to fool yourselves by these foolish friends here, who ought to know
better. Mary Jane Wilks, you know me for your friend, and for your
unselfish friend, too. Now listen to me; turn this pitiful rascal out-
I beg you to do it. Will you?"

  Mary Jane straightened herself up, and my, but she was handsome! She

  "Here is my answer." She hove up the bag of money and put it in
the king's hands, and says, "Take this six thousand dollars, and
invest it for me and my sisters any way you want to, and don't give us
no receipt for it."

  Then she put her arm around the king on one side, and Susan and
the hare-lip done the same on the other. Everybody clapped their hands
and stomped on the floor like a perfect storm, whilst the king held up
his hand and smiled proud. The doctor says:

  "All right, I wash my hands of the matter. But I warn you all that a
time's coming when you're going to feel sick whenever you think of
this day"- and away he went.

  "All right, doctor," says the king, kinder mocking him, "we'll try
and get 'em to send for you"- which made them all laugh, and they said
it was a prime good hit.


  Well when they was all gone, the king he asks Mary Jane how they was
off for spare rooms, and she said she had one spare room, which
would do for Uncle William, and she'd give her own room to Uncle
Harvey, which was a little bigger, and she would turn into the room
with her sisters and sleep on a cot; and up garret was a little cubby,
with a pallet in it. The king said the cubby would do for his
valley- meaning me.

  So Mary Jane took us up, and she showed them their rooms, which
was plain but nice. She said she'd have her frocks and a lot of
other traps took out of her room if they was in Uncle Harvey's way,
but he said they warn't. The frocks was hung along the wall, and
before them was a curtain made out of calico that hung down to the
floor. There was an old hair trunk in one corner, and a guitar box
in another, and all sorts of little knickknacks and jimcracks
around, like girls brisken up a room with. The king said it was all
the more homely and more pleasanter for these fixings, and so don't
disturb them. The duke's room was pretty small, but plenty good
enough, and so was my cubby.

  That night they had a big supper, and all them men and women was
there, and I stood behind the king and the duke's chairs and waited on
them, and the niggers waited on the rest. Mary Jane she set at the
head of the table, with Susan along side of her, and said how bad
the biscuits was, and how mean the preserves was, and how ornery and
tough the fried chickens was- and all that kind of rot, the way
women always do for to force out compliments; and the people all
knowed everything was tip-top, and said so- said "How do you get
biscuits to brown so nice?" and "Where, for the land's sake did you
get these amaz'n pickles?" and all that kind of humbug talky-talk,
just the way people always does at a supper, you know.

  And when it was all done, me and the hare-lip had supper in the
kitchen off of the leavings, whilst the others was helping the niggers
clean up the things. The hare-lip she got to pumping me about England,
and blest if I didn't think the ice was getting mighty thin,
sometimes. She says:

  "Did you ever see the king?"

  "Who? William Fourth? Well, I bet I have- he goes to our church."
I knowed he was dead years ago, but I never let on. So when I says
he goes to our church, she says:

  "What- regular?"

  "Yes- regular. His pew's right over opposite ourn- on t'other side
the pulpit."

  "I thought he lived in London?"

  "Well, he does. Where would he live?"

  "But I thought you lived in Sheffield?"

  I see I was up a stump. I had to let on to get choked with a chicken
bone, so as to get time to think how to get down again. Then I says:

  "I mean he goes to our church regular when he's in Sheffield. That's
only in the summer-time, when he comes there to take the sea baths."

  "Why, how you talk- Sheffield ain't on the sea."

  "Well, who said it was?"

  "Why, you did."

  "I didn't, nuther."

  "You did!"

  "I didn't."

  "You did."

  "I never said nothing of the kind."

  "Well, what did you say, then?"

  "Said he come to take the sea baths- that's what I said."

  "Well, then! how's he going to take the sea baths if it ain't on the

  "Looky here," I says; "did you ever see any Congress-water?"


  "Well, did you have to go to Congress to get it?"

  "Why, no."

  "Well, neither does William Fourth have to go to the sea to get a
sea bath."

  "How does he get it, then?"

  "Gets it the way people down here gets Congress-water- in barrels.
There in the palace at Sheffield they've got furnaces, and he wants
his water hot. They can't bile that amount of water away off there
at the sea. They haven't got no conveniences for it."

  "Oh, I see, now. You might a said that in the first place and
saved time."

  When she said that, I see I was out of the woods again, and so I was
comfortable and glad. Next, she says:

  "Do you go to church, too?"

  "Yes- regular."

  "Where do you set?"

  "Why, in our pew."

  "Whose pew?"

  "Why, ourn- your Uncle Harvey's."

  "His'n? What does he want with a pew?"

  "Wants it to set in. What did you reckon he wanted with it?"

  "Why, I thought he'd be in the pulpit."

  Rot him, I forgot he was a preacher. I see I was up a stump again,
so I played another chicken bone and got another think. Then I says:

  "Blame it, do you suppose there ain't but one preacher to a church?"

  "Why, what do they want with more?"

  "What!- to preach before a king? I never see such a girl as you.
They don't have no less than seventeen."

  "Seventeen! My land! Why, I wouldn't set out such a string as
that, not if I never got to glory. It must take 'em a week."

  "Shucks, they don't all of 'em preach the same day- only one of

  "Well, then, what does the rest of 'em do?"

  "Oh, nothing much. Loll around, pass the plate- and one thing or
another. But mainly they don't do nothing."

  "Well, then, what are they for?"

  "Why, they're for style. Don't you know nothing?"

  "Well, I don't want to know no such foolishness as that. How is
servants treated in England? Do they treat 'em better 'n we treat
our niggers?"

  "No! A servant ain't nobody there. They treat them worse than dogs."

  "Don't they give 'em holidays, the way we do, Christmas and New
Year's week, and Fourth of July?"

  "Oh, just listen! A body could tell you hain't ever been to England,
by that. Why, Hare-l- why, Joanna, they never see a holiday from
year's end to year's end; never go to the circus, nor theatre, nor
nigger shows, nor nowheres."

  "Nor church?"

  "Nor church."

  "But you always went to church."

  Well, I was gone up again. I forgot I was the old man's servant. But
next minute I whirled in on a kind of an explanation how a valley
was different from a common servant, and had to go to church whether
he wanted to or not, and set with the family, on account of it's being
the law. But I didn't do it pretty good, and when I got done I see she
warn't satisfied. She says:

  "Honest injun, now, hain't you been telling me a lot of lies?"

  "Honest injun," says I.

  "None of it at all?"

  "None of it at all. Not a lie in it," says I.

  "Lay your hand on this book and say it."

  I see it warn't nothing but a dictionary, so I laid my hand on it
and said it. So then she looked a little better satisfied, and says:

  "Well, then, I'll believe some of it; but I hope to gracious if I'll
believe the rest."

  "What is it you won't believe, Joe?" says Mary Jane, stepping in
with Susan behind her. "It ain't right nor kind for you to talk so
to him, and him a stranger and so far from his people. How would you
like to be treated so?"

  "That's always your way, Maim- always sailing in to help somebody
before they're hurt. I hain't done nothing to him. He's told some
stretchers, I reckon; and I said I wouldn't swallow it all; and that's
every bit and grain I did say. I reckon he can stand a little thing
like that, can't he?"

  "I don't care whether 'twas little or whether 'twas big, he's here
in our house and a stranger, and it wasn't good of you to say it. If
you was in his place, it would make you feel ashamed; and so you
oughtn't to say a thing to another person that will make them feel

  "Why, Maim, he said-"

  "It don't make no difference what he said- that ain't the thing. The
thing is for you to treat him kind, and not be saying things to make
him remember he ain't in his own country and amongst his own folks."

  I says to myself, this is a girl that I'm letting that old reptle
rob her of her money!

  Then Susan she waltzed in; and if you'll believe me, she did give
Hare-lip hark from the tomb!

  Says I to myself, And this is another one that I'm letting him rob
her of her money!

  Then Mary Jane she took another inning, and went in sweet and lovely
again- which was her way- but when she got done there warn't hardly
anything left o' poor Hare-lip. So she hollered.

  "All right, then," says the other girls, "you just ask his pardon."

  She done it, too. And she done it beautiful. She done it so
beautiful it was good to hear; and I wished I could tell her a
thousand lies, so she could do it again.

  I says to myself, this is another one that I'm letting him rob her
of her money. And when she got through, they all jest laid theirselves
out to make me feel at home and know I was amongst friends. I felt
so ornery and low down and mean, that I says to myself, My mind's made
up; I'll hive that money for them or bust.

  So then I lit out- for bed, I said, meaning some time or another.
When I got by myself, I went to thinking the thing over. I says to
myself, shall I go to that doctor, private, and blow on these
frauds? No- that won't do. He might tell who told him; then the king
and the duke would make it warm for me. Shall I go, private, and
tell Mary Jane? No- I dasn't do it. Her face would give them a hint,
sure; they've got the money, and they'd slide right out and get away
with it. If she was to fetch in help, I'd get mixed up in the
business, before it was done with, I judge. No, there ain't no good
way but one. I got to steal that money, somehow; and I got to steal it
some way that they won't suspicion that I done it. They've got a
good thing, here; and they ain't agoing to leave till they've played
this family and this town for all they're worth, so I'll find a chance
time enough. I'll steal it, and hide it; and by-and-by, when I'm
away down the river, I'll write a letter and tell Mary Jane where it's
hid. But I better hive it to-night, if I can, because the doctor maybe
hasn't let up as much as he lets on he has; he might scare them out of
here, yet.

  So, thinks I, I'll go and search them rooms. Up stairs the hall
was dark, but I found the duke's room, and started to paw around it
with my hands; but I recollected it wouldn't be much like the king
to let anybody else take care of that money but his own self; so
then I went to his room and begun to paw around there. But I see I
couldn't do nothing without a candle, and I dasn't light one, of
course. So I judged I'd got to do the other thing- lay for them and
eavesdrop. About that time, I hears their footsteps coming and was
going to skip under the bed; I reached for it, but it wasn't where I
thought it would be; but I touched the curtain that hid Mary Jane's
frocks, so I jumped in behind that and snuggled in amongst the
gowns, and stood there perfectly still.

  They come in and shut the door; and the first thing the duke done
was to get down and look under the bed. Then I was glad I hadn't found
the bed when I wanted it. And yet, you know, it's kind of natural to
hide under the bed when you are up to anything private. They sets
down, then, and the king says:

  "Well, what is it? and cut it middlin' short, because it's better
for us to be down there a whoopin'-up the mournin', than up here
givin' 'em a chance to talk us over."

  "Well, this is it, Capet. I ain't easy; I ain't comfortable. That
doctor lays on my mind. I wanted to know your plans. I've got a
notion, and I think it's a sound one."

  "What is it, duke?"

  "That we better glide out of this, before three in the morning,
and clip it down the river with what we've got. Specially, seeing we
got it so easy- given back to us, flung at our heads, as you may
say, when of course we allowed to have to steal it back. I'm for
knocking off and lighting out."

  That made me feel pretty bad. About an hour or two ago, it would a
been a little different, but now it made me feel bad and disappointed.
The king rips out and says:

  "What! And not sell out the rest o' the property? March off like a
passel o' fools and leave eight or nine thous'n' dollars' worth o'
property layin' around jest sufferin' to be scooped in?- and all
good salable stuff, too."

  The duke he grumbled; said the bag of gold was enough, and he didn't
want to go no deeper- didn't want to rob a lot of orphans of
everything they had.

  "Why, how you talk!" says the king. "We shan't rob 'em of nothing at
all but jest this money. The people that buys the property is the
suff'rers; because as soon's it's found out 'at we didn't own it-
which won't be long after we've slid- the sale won't be valid, and
it'll all go back to the estate. These-yer orphans'll git their
house back agin, and that's enough for them; they're young and spry,
and k'n easy earn a livin'. They ain't agoing to suffer. Why, jest
think- there's thous'n's and thous'n's that ain't nigh so well off.
Bless you, they ain't got noth'n to complain of."

  Well, the king he talked him blind; so at last he give in, and
said all right, but said he believed it was blame foolishness to stay,
and that doctor hanging over them. But the king says:

  "Cuss the doctor! What do we k'yer for him? Hain't we got all the
fools in town on our side? and ain't that a big enough majority in any

  So they got ready to go down stairs again. The duke says:

  "I don't think we put that money in a good place."

  That cheered me up. I'd begun to think I warn't going to get a
hint of no kind to help me. The king says:

  "Because Mary Jane'll be in mourning from this out; and first you
know the nigger that does up the rooms will get an order to box
these duds up and put 'em away; and do you reckon a nigger can run
across money and not borrow some of it?"

  "Your head's level, agin, duke," says the king; and he come a
fumbling under the curtain two or three foot from where I was. I stuck
tight to the wall, and kept mighty still, though quivery; and I
wondered what them fellows would say to me if they catched me; and I
tried to think what I'd better do if they did catch me. But the king
he got the bag before I could think more than about a half a
thought, and he never suspicioned I was around. They took and shoved
the bag through a rip in the straw tick that was under the feather
bed, and crammed it in a foot or two amongst the straw and said it was
all right, now, because a nigger only makes up the feather bed, and
don't turn over the straw tick only about twice a year, and so it
warn't in no danger of getting stole, now.

  But I knowed better. I had it out of there before they was
half-way down stairs. I groped along up to my cubby, and hid it
there till I could get a chance to do better. I judged I better hide
it outside of the house somewheres, because if they missed it they
would give the house a good ransacking. I knowed that very well.
Then I turned in, with my clothes all on; but I couldn't a gone to
sleep, if I'd a wanted to, I was in such a sweat to get through with
the business. By-and-by I heard the king and the duke come up; so I
rolled off my pallet and laid with my chin at the top of my ladder and
waited to see if anything was going to happen. But nothing did.

  So I held on till all the late sounds had quit and the early ones
hadn't begun, yet; and then I slipped down the ladder.


  I crept to their doors and listened; they was snoring, so I tip-toed
along, and got down stairs all right. There warn't a sound
anywheres. I peeped through a crack of the diningroom door, and see
the men that was watching the corpse all sound asleep on their chairs.
The door was open into the parlor, where the corpse was laying, and
there was a candle in both rooms. I passed along, and the parlor
door was open; but I see there warn't nobody in there but the
remainders of Peter; so I shoved on by; but the front door was locked,
and the key wasn't there. Just then I heard somebody coming down the
stairs, back behind me. I run in the parlor, and took a swift look
around, and the only place I see to hide the bag was in the coffin.
The lid was shoved along about a foot, showing the dead man's face
down in there, with a wet cloth over it, and his shroud on. I tucked
the money-bag in under the lid, just down beyond where his hands was
crossed, which made me creep, they was so cold, and then I run back
across the room and in behind the door.

  The person coming was Mary Jane. She went to the coffin, very
soft, and kneeled down and looked in; then she put up her handkerchief
and I see she begun to cry, though I couldn't hear her, and her back
was to me. I slid out, and as I passed the dining room I thought I'd
make sure them watchers hadn't seen me; so I looked through the
crack and everything was all right. They hadn't stirred.

  I slipped up to bed, feeling rather blue, on accounts of the thing
playing out that way after I had took so much trouble and run so
much resk about it. Says I, if it could stay where it is, all right;
because when we get down the river a hundred mile or two, I could
write back to Mary Jane, and she could dig him up again and get it;
but that ain't the thing that's going to happen; the thing that's
going to happen is, the money'll be found when they come to screw on
the lid. Then the king'll get it again, and it'll be a long day before
he gives anybody another chance to smouch it from him. Of course I
wanted to slide down and get it out of there, but I dasn't try it.
Every minute it was getting earlier, now, and pretty soon some of them
watchers would begin to stir, and I might get catched- catched with
six thousand dollars in my hands that nobody hadn't hired me to take
care of. I don't wish to be mixed up in no such business as that, I
says to myself.

  When I got down stairs in the morning, the parlor was shut up, and
the watchers was gone. There warn't nobody around but the family and
the widow Bartley and our tribe. I watched their faces to see if
anything had been happening, but I couldn't tell.

  Towards the middle of the day the undertaker come with his man,
and they set the coffin in the middle of the room on a couple of
chairs, and then set all our chairs in rows, and borrowed more from
the neighbors till the hall and the parlor and the dining-room was
full. I see the coffin lid was the way it was before, but I dasn't
go to look in under it, with folks around.

  Then the people begun to flock in, and the beats and the girls
took seats in the front row at the head of the coffin, and for a
half an hour the people filed around slow, in single rank, and
looked down at the dead man's face a minute, and some dropped in a
tear, and it was all very still and solemn, only the girls and the
beats holding handkerchiefs to their eyes and keeping their heads
bent, and sobbing a little. There warn't no other sound but the
scraping of the feet on the floor, and blowing noses- because people
always blow them more at a funeral than they do at other places except

  When the place was packed full, the undertaker he slid around in his
black gloves with his softy soothering ways, putting on the last
touches, and getting people and things all ship-shape and comfortable,
and making no more sound than a cat. He never spoke; he moved people
around, he squeezed in late ones, he opened up passage-ways, and
done it all with nods, and signs with his hands. Then he took his
place over against the wall. He was the softest, glidingest,
stealthiest man I ever see; and there warn't no more smile to him than
there is to a ham.

  They had borrowed a melodeum- a sick one; and when everything was
ready, a young woman set down and worked it, and it was pretty skreeky
and colicky, and everybody joined in and sung, and Peter was the
only one that had a good thing, according to my notion. Then the
Reverend Hobson opened up, slow and solemn, and begun to talk; and
straight off the most outrageous row busted out in the cellar a body
ever heard; it was only one dog, but he made a most powerful racket,
and he kept it up, right along; the parson he had to stand there, over
the coffin, and wait- you couldn't hear yourself think. It was right
down awkward, and nobody didn't seem to know what to do. But pretty
soon they see that long-legged undertaker make a sign to the
preacher as much as to say, "Don't you worry- just depend on me." Then
he stooped down and begun to glide along the wall, just his
shoulders showing over the people's heads. So he glided along, and the
pow-wow and racket getting more and more outrageous all the time;
and at last, when he had gone around two sides of the room, he
disappears down cellar. Then, in about two seconds we heard a whack,
and the dog he finished up with a most amazing howl or two, and then
everything was dead still, and the parson begun his solemn talk
where he left off. In a minute or two here comes this undertaker's
back and shoulders gliding along the wall again; and so he glided, and
glided, around three sides of the room, and then rose up, and shaded
his mouth with his hands, and stretched his neck out towards the
preacher, over the people's heads, and says, in a kind of a coarse
whisper, "He had a rat!" Then he drooped down and glided along the
wall again to his place. You could see it was a great satisfaction
to the people, because naturally they wanted to know. A little thing
like that don't cost nothing, and it's just the little things that
makes a man to be looked up to and liked. There warn't no more popular
man in town than what that undertaker was.

  Well, the funeral sermon was very good, but pison long and tiresome;
and then the king he shoved in and got off some of his usual
rubbage, and at last the job was through, and the undertaker begun
to sneak up on the coffin with his screw-driver. I was in a sweat
then, and watched him pretty keen. But he never meddled at all; just
slid the lid along, as soft as mush, and screwed it down tight and
fast. So there I was! I didn't know whether the money was in there, or
not. So, says I, spose somebody has hogged that bag on the sly?- now
how do I know whether to write to Mary Jane or not? Spose she dug
him up and didn't find nothing- what would she think of me? Blame
it, I says, I might get hunted up and jailed; I'd better lay low and
keep dark, and not write at all; the thing's awful mixed, now;
trying to better it, I've worsened it a hundred times, and I wish to
goodness I'd just let it alone, dad fetch the whole business!

  They buried him, and we come back home, and I went to watching faces
again- I couldn't help it, and I couldn't rest easy. But nothing
come of it; the faces didn't tell me nothing.

  The king he visited around, in the evening, and sweetened
everybody up, and made himself ever so friendly; and he give out the
idea that his congregation over in England would be in a sweat about
him, so he must hurry and settle up the estate right away, and leave
for home. He was very sorry he was so pushed, and so was everybody;
they wished he could stay longer, but they said they could see it
couldn't be done. And he said of course him and William would take the
girls home with them; and that pleased everybody too, because then the
girls would be well fixed, and amongst their own relations; and it
pleased the girls, too- tickled them so they clean forgot they ever
had a trouble in the world; and told him to sell out as quick as he
wanted to, they would be ready. Them poor things was that glad and
happy it made my heart ache to see them getting fooled and lied to so,
but I didn't see no safe way for me to chip in and change the
general tune.

  Well, blamed if the king didn't bill the house and the niggers and
all the property for auction straight off- sale two days after the
funeral; but anybody could buy private beforehand if they wanted to.

  So the next day after the funeral, along about noontime, the
girls' joy got the first jolt; a couple of nigger traders come
along, and the king sold them the niggers reasonable, for three-day
drafts as they called it, and away they went, the two sons up the
river to Memphis, and their mother down the river to Orleans. I
thought them poor girls and them niggers would break their hearts
for grief; they cried around each other, and took on so it most made
me down sick to see it. The girls said they hadn't ever dreamed of
seeing the family separated or sold away from the town. I can't ever
get it out of my memory, the sight of them poor miserable girls and
niggers hanging around each other's necks and crying; and I reckon I
couldn't a stood it all but would a had to bust out and tell on our
gang if I hadn't known the sale warn't no account and the niggers
would be back home in a week or two.

  The thing made a big stir in the town, too, and a good many come out
flatfooted and said it was scandalous to separate the mother and the
children that way. It injured the frauds some; but the old fool he
bulled right along, spite of all the duke could say or do, and I
tell you the duke was powerful uneasy.

  Next day was auction day. About broad-day in the morning, the king
and the duke come up in the garret and woke me up, and I see by
their look that there was trouble. The king says:

  "Was you in my room night before last?"

  "No, your majesty"- which was the way I always called him when
nobody but our gang warn't around.

  "Was you in there yesterday er last night?"

  "No, your majesty."

  "Honor bright, now- no lies."

  "Honor bright, your majesty, I'm telling you the truth. I hain't
been anear your room since Miss Mary Jane took you and the duke and
showed it to you."

  The duke says:

  "Have you seen anybody else go in there?"

  "No, your grace, not as I remember, I believe."

  "Stop and think."

  I studied a while, and see my chance, then I says:

  "Well, I see the niggers go in there several times."

  Both of them give a little jump; and looked like they hadn't ever
expected it, and then like they had. Then the duke says:

  "What, all of them?"

  "No- leastways not all at once. That is, I don't think I ever see
them all come out at once but just one time."

  "Hello- when was that?"

  "It was the day we had the funeral. In the morning. It warn't early,
because I overslept. I was just starting down the ladder, and I see

  "Well, go on, go on- what did they do? How'd they act?"

  "They didn't do anything. And they didn't act anyway, much, as fur
as I see. They tip-toed away; so I seen, easy enough, that they'd
shoved in there to do up your majesty's room, or something, sposing
you was up; and found you warn't up, and so they was hoping to slide
out of the way of trouble without waking you up, if they hadn't
already waked you up."

  "Great guns, this is a go!" says the king; and both of them looked
pretty sick, and tolerable silly. They stood there a thinking and
scratching their heads, a minute, and then the duke he bust into a
kind of a little raspy chuckle, and says:

  "It does beat all, how neat the niggers played their hand. They
let on to be sorry they was going out of this region! and I believed
they was sorry. And so did you, and so did everybody. Don't ever
tell me any more that a nigger ain't got any histrionic talent. Why,
the way they played that thing, it would fool anybody. In my opinion
there's a fortune in 'em. If I had capital and a theatre, I wouldn't
want a better lay out than that- and here we've gone and sold 'em
for a song. Yes, and ain't privileged to sing the song, yet. Say,
where is that song?- that draft."

  "In the bank for to be collected. Where would it be?"

  "Well, that's all right then, thank goodness."

  Says I, kind of timid-like:

  "Is something gone wrong?"

  The king whirls on me and rips out:

  "None o' your business! You keep your head shet, and mind y'r own
affairs- if you got any. Long as you're in this town, don't you forgit
that, you hear?" Then he says to the duke, "We got to jest swaller it,
and say noth'n: mum's the word for us."

  As they was starting down the ladder, the duke he chuckles again,
and says:

  "Quick sales and small profits! It's a good business- yes."

  The king snarls around on him and says,

  "I was trying to do for the best, in sellin' 'm out so quick. If the
profits has turned out to be none, lackin' considable, and none to
carry, is it my fault any more'n it's yourn?"

  "Well, they'd be in this house yet, and we wouldn't if I could a got
my advice listened to."

  The king sassed back, as much as was safe for him, and then
swapped around and lit into me again. He give me down the banks for
not coming and telling him I see the niggers come out of his room
acting that way- said any fool would a knowed something was up. And
then waltzed in and cussed himself a while; and said it all come of
him not laying late and taking his natural rest that morning, and he'd
be blamed if he'd ever do it again. So they went off a jawing; and I
felt dreadful glad I'd worked it all off onto the niggers and yet
hadn't done the niggers no harm by it.


  By-and-by it was getting-up time; so I come down the ladder and
started for down stairs, but as I come to the girls' room, the door
was open, and I see Mary Jane setting by her old hair trunk, which was
open and she'd been packing things in it- getting ready to go to
England. But she had stopped now, with a folded gown in her lap, and
had her face in her hands, crying. I felt awful bad to see it; of
course anybody would. I went in there, and says:

  "Miss Mary Jane, you can't abear to see people in trouble, and I
can't- most always. Tell me about it."

  So she done it. And it was the niggers- I just expected it. She said
the beautiful trip to England was most about spoiled for her; she
didn't know how she was ever going to be happy there, knowing the
mother and the children warn't ever going to see each other no more-
and then busted out bitterer than ever, and flung up her hands, and

  "Oh, dear, to think they ain't ever going to see each other any

  "But they will- and inside of two weeks- and I know it!" says I.

  Laws, it was out before I could think!- and before I could budge,
she throws her arms around my neck, and told me to say it again, say
it again, say it again!

  I see I had spoke too sudden, and said too much, and was in a
close place. I asked her to let me think a minute; and she set
there, very impatient and excited, and handsome, but looking kind of
happy and eased-up, like a person that's had a tooth pulled out. So
I went to studying it out. I says to myself, I reckon a body that
ups and tells the truth when he is in a tight place, is taking
considerable many resks, though I ain't had no experience, and can't
say for certain; but it looks so to me, anyway; and yet here's a
case where I'm blest if it don't look to me like the truth is
better, and actuly safer, than a lie. I must lay it by in my mind, and
think it over some time or other, it's so kind of strange and
unregular. I never see nothing like it. Well, I says to myself at
last, I'm agoing to chance it; I'll up and tell the truth this time,
though it does seem most like setting down on a kag of powder and
touching it off just to see where you'll go to. Then I says:

  "Miss Mary Jane, is there any place out of town a little ways, where
you could go and stay three or four days?"

  "Yes- Mr. Lathrop's. Why?"

  "Never mind why, yet. If I tell you how I know the niggers will
see each other again- inside of two weeks- here in this house- and
prove how I know it- will you go to Mr. Lathrop's and stay four days?"

  "Four days!" she says; "I'll stay a year!"

  "All right," I says, "I don't want nothing more out of you than just
your word- I druther have it than another man's kiss-the-Bible." She
smiled, and reddened up very sweet, and I says, "If you don't mind it,
I'll shut the door- and bolt it."

  Then I come back and set down again, and says:

  "Don't you holler. Just set still, and take it like a man. I got
to tell the truth, and you want to brace up, Miss Mary, because it's a
bad kind, and going to be hard to take, but there ain't no help for
it. These uncles of yourn ain't no uncles at all- they're a couple
of frauds- regular dead-beats. There, now we're over the worst of
it- you can stand the rest middling easy."

  It holted her up like everything, of course; but I was over the
shoal water now, so I went right along, her eyes a blazing higher
and higher all the time, and told her every blame thing, from where we
first struck that young fool going up to the steamboat, clear
through to where she flung herself onto the king's breast at the front
door and he kissed her sixteen or seventeen times- and then up she
jumps, with her face afire like sunset, and says:

  "The brute! Come- don't waste a minute- not a second- we'll have
them tarred and feathered, and flung in the river!

  Says I:

  "Cert'nly. But do you mean, before you go to Mr. Lathrop's, or-"

  "Oh," she says, "what am I thinking about!" she says, and set
right down again. "Don't mind what I said- please don't- you won't,
now, will you?" Laying her silky hand on mine in that kind of a way
that I said I would die first. "I never thought, I was so stirred up,"
she says; "now go on, and I won't do so any more. You tell me what
to do, and whatever you say, I'll do it."

  "Well," I says, "it's a rough gang, them two frauds, and I'm fixed
so I got to travel with them a while longer, whether I want to or not-
I druther not tell you why- and if you was to blow on them this town
would get me out of their claws, and I'd be all right, but there'd
be another person that you don't know about who'd be in big trouble.
Well, we got to save him, hain't we? Of course. Well, then, we won't
blow on them."

  Saying them words put a good idea in my head. I see how maybe I
could get me and Jim rid of the frauds; get them jailed here, and then
leave. But I didn't want to run the raft in day-time, without
anybody aboard to answer questions but me; so I didn't want the plan
to begin working till pretty late to-night. I says:

  "Miss Mary Jane, I'll tell you what we'll do- and you won't have
to stay at Mr. Lathrop's so long, nuther. How fur is it?"

  "A little short of four miles- right out in the country, back here."

  "Well, that'll answer. Now you go along out there, and lay low
till nine or half-past, to-night, and then get them to fetch you
home again- tell them you've thought of something. If you get here
before eleven, put a candle in this window, and if I don't turn up,
wait till eleven, and then if I don't turn up it means I'm gone, and
out of the way, and safe. Then you come out and spread the news
around, and get these beats jailed."

  "Good," she says, "I'll do it."

  "And if it just happens so that I don't get away, but get took up
along with them, you must up and say I told you the whole thing
beforehand, and you must stand by me all you can."

  "Stand by you, indeed I will. They shan't touch a hair of your
head!" she says, and I see her nostrils spread and her eyes snap
when she said it, too.

  "If I get away, I shan't be here," I says, "to prove these
rapscallions ain't your uncles, and I couldn't do it if I was here.
I could swear they was beats and bummers, that's all; though that's
worth something. Well, there's others can do that better than what I
can- and they're people that ain't going to be doubted as quick as I'd
be. I'll tell you how to find them. Gimme a pencil and a piece of
paper. There- 'Royal Nonesuch, Bricksville.' Put it away, and don't
lose it. When the court wants to find out something about these two,
let them send up to Bricksville and say they've got the men that
oldyed the Royal Nonesuch, and ask for some witnesses- why, you'll
have that entire town down here before you can hardly wink, Miss Mary.
And they'll come a-biling, too."

  I judged we had got everything fixed about right, now. So I says:

  "Just let the auction go right along, and don't worry. Nobody
don't have to pay for the things they buy till a whole day after the
auction, on accounts of the short notice, and they ain't going out
of this till they get that money- and the way we've fixed it the
sale ain't going to count, and they ain't going to get no money.
It's just like the way it was with the niggers- it warn't no sale, and
the niggers will be back before long. Why, they can't collect the
money for the niggers, yet- they're in the worst kind of a fix, Miss

  "Well," she says, "I'll run down to breakfast now, and then I'll
start straight for Mr. Lathrop's."

  "Deed, that ain't the ticket, Miss Mary Jane," I says, "by no manner
of means; go before breakfast."


  "What did you reckon I wanted you to go at all for, Miss Mary?"

  "Well, I never thought- and come to think, I don't know. What was

  "Why, it's because you ain't one of these leather-face people. I
don't want no better book than what your face is. A body can set
down and read it off like coarse print. Do you reckon you can go and
face your uncles, when they come to kiss you good-morning, and never-"

  "There, there, don't! Yes, I'll go before breakfast- I'll be glad
to. And leave my sisters with them?"

  "Yes- never mind about them. They've got to stand it yet a while.
They might suspicion something if all of you was to go. I don't want
you to see them, nor your sisters, nor nobody in this town- if a
neighbor was to ask how is your uncles this morning, your face would
tell something. No, you go right along, Miss Mary Jane, and I'll fix
it with all of them. I'll tell Miss Susan to give your love to your
uncles and say you've went away for a few hours for to get a little
rest and change, or to see a friend, and you'll be back to-night or
early in the morning."

  "Gone to see a friend is all right, but I won't have my love given
to them."

  "Well, then, it shan't be." It was well enough to tell her so- no
harm in it. It was only a little thing to do, and no trouble; and it's
the little things that smoothes people's roads the most, down here
below; it would make Mary Jane comfortable, and it wouldn't cost
nothing. Then I says: "There's one more thing- that bag of money."

  "Well, they've got that; and it makes me feel pretty silly to
think how they got it."

  "No, you're out, there. They hain't got it."

  "Why, who's got it?"

  "I wish I knowed, but I don't. I had it, because I stole it from
them: and I stole it to give to you; and I know where I hid it, but
I'm afraid it ain't there no more. I'm awful sorry, Miss Mary Jane,
I'm just as sorry as I can be; but I done the best I could; I did,
honest. I come nigh getting caught, and I had to shove it into the
first place I come to, and run- and it warn't a good place."

  "Oh, stop blaming yourself- it's too bad to do it, and I won't allow
it- you couldn't help it; it wasn't your fault. Where did you hide

  I didn't want to set her to thinking about her troubles again; and I
couldn't seem to get my mouth to tell her what would make her see that
corpse laying in the coffin with that bag of money on his stomach.
So for a minute I didn't say nothing- then I says:

  "I'd ruther not tell you where I put it, Miss Mary Jane, if you
don't mind letting me off; but I'll write it for you on a piece of
paper, and you can read it along the road to Mr. Lathrop's, if you
want to. Do you reckon that'll do?"

  "Oh, yes."

  So I wrote: "I put it in the coffin. It was in there when you was
crying there, away in the night. I was behind the door, and I was
mighty sorry for you, Miss Mary Jane."

  It made my eyes water a little, to remember her crying there all
by herself in the night, and them devils laying there right under
her own roof, shaming her and robbing her; and when I folded it up and
give it to her, I see the water come into her eyes, too; and she shook
me by the hand, hard, and says:

  "Good-bye- I'm going to do everything just as you've told me; and if
I don't ever see you again, I shan't ever forget you, and I'll think
of you a many and a many a time, and I'll pray for you, too!"- and she
was gone.

  Pray for me! I reckoned if she knowed me she'd take a job that was
more nearer her size. But I bet she done it, just the same- she was
just that kind. She had the grit to pray for Judus if she took the
notion- there warn't no backdown to her, I judge. You may say what you
want to, but in my opinion she had more sand in her than any girl I
ever see; in my opinion she was just full of sand. It sounds like
flattery, but it ain't no flattery. And when it comes to beauty- and
goodness too- she lays over them all. I hain't ever seen her since,
but I reckon I've thought of her a many and a many a million times,
and of her saying she would pray for me; and if ever I'd a thought
it would do any good for me to pray for her, blamed if I wouldn't a
done it or bust.

  Well, Mary Jane she lit out the back way, I reckon; because nobody
see her go. When I struck Susan and the harelip, I says:

  "What's the name of them people over on t'other side of the river
that you all goes to see sometimes?"

  They says:

  "There's several; but it's the Proctors, mainly."

  "That's the name," I says; "I most forgot it. Well, Miss Mary Jane
she told me to tell you she's gone over there in a dreadful hurry- one
of them's sick."

  "Which one?"

  "I don't know; leastways I kinder forget; but I think it's-"

  "Sakes alive, I hope it ain't Hanner?"

  "I'm sorry to say it," I says, "but Hanner's the very one."

  "My goodness- and she so well only last week! Is she took bad?"

  "It ain't no name for it. They set up with her all night, Miss
Mary Jane said, and they don't think she'll last many hours."

  "Only think of that, now! What's the matter with her!"

  I couldn't think of anything reasonable, right off that way, so I


  "Mumps your granny! They don't set up with people that's got the

  "They don't, don't they? You better bet they do with these mumps.
These mumps is different. It's a new kind, Miss Mary Jane said."

  "How's it a new kind?"

  "Because it's mixed up with other things."

  "What other things?"

  "Well, measles, and whooping-cough, and erysiplas, and
consumption, and yeller janders, and brain fever, and I don't know
what all."

  "My land! And they call it the mumps?"

  "That's what Miss Mary Jane said."

  "Well, what in the nation do they call it the mumps for?"

  "Why, because it is the mumps. That's what it starts with."

  "Well, ther' ain't no sense in it. A body might stump his toe, and
take pison, and fall down the well, and break his neck, and bust his
brains out, and somebody come along and ask what killed him, and
some numskull up and say, 'Why, he stumped his toe.' Would ther' be
any sense in that? No. And ther' ain't no sense in this, nuther. Is it

  "Is it ketching? Why, how you talk. Is a harrow catching?- in the
dark? If you don't hitch onto one tooth, you're bound to on another,
ain't you? And you can't get away with that tooth without fetching the
whole harrow along, can you? Well, these kind of mumps is a kind of
harrow, as you may say- and it ain't no slouch of a harrow, nuther,
you come to get it hitched on good."

  "Well, it's awful, I think," says the hare-lip. "I'll go to Uncle
Harvey and-"

  "Oh, yes," I says, "I would. Of course I would. I wouldn't lose no

  "Well, why wouldn't you?"

  "Just look at it a minute, and maybe you can see. Hain't your uncles
obleeged to get along home to England as fast as they can? And do
you reckon they'd be mean enough to go off and leave you to go all
that journey by yourselves? You know they'll wait for you. So fur,
so good. Your uncle Harvey's a preacher, ain't he? Very well, then; is
a preacher going to deceive a steamboat clerk? is he going to
deceive a ship clerk?- so as to get them to let Miss Mary Jane go
aboard? Now you know he ain't. What will he do, then? Why, he'll
say, 'It's a great pity, but my church matters has got to get along
the best way they can; for my niece has been exposed to the dreadful
pluribus-unum mumps, and so it's my bounden duty to set down here
and wait the three months it takes to show on her if she's got it.'
But never mind, if you think it's best to tell your uncle Harvey-"

  "Shucks, and stay fooling around here when we could all be having
good times in England whilst we was waiting to find out whether Mary
Jane's got it or not? Why, you talk like a muggins."

  "Well, anyway, maybe you better tell some of the neighbors."

  "Listen at that, now. You do beat all, for natural stupidness. Can't
you see that they'd go and tell? Ther' ain't no way but just not to
tell anybody at all."

  "Well, maybe you're right- yes, I judge you are right."

  "But I reckon we ought to tell Uncle Harvey she's gone out a
while, anyway, so he won't be uneasy about her?"

  "Yes, Miss Mary Jane she wanted you to do that. She says, 'Tell them
to give Uncle Harvey and William my love and a kiss, and say I've
run over the river to see Mr.- Mr.- what is the name of that rich
family your uncle Peter used to think so much of?- I mean the one

  "Why, you must mean the Apthorps, ain't it?"

  "Of course; bother them kind of names, a body can't ever seem to
remember them, half the time, somehow. Yes, she said, say she has
run over for to ask the Apthorps to be sure and come to the auction
and buy this house, because she allowed her uncle Peter would ruther
they had it than anybody else; and she's going to stick to them till
they say they'll come, and then, if she ain't too tired, she's
coming home; and if she is, she'll be home in the morning anyway.
She said, don't say nothing about the Proctors, but only about the
Apthorps- which'll be perfectly true, because she is going there to
speak about their buying the house; I know it, because she told me so,

  "All right," they said, and cleared out to lay for their uncles, and
give them the love and the kisses, and tell them the message.

  Everything was all right now. The girls wouldn't say nothing because
they wanted to go to England; and the king and the duke would ruther
Mary Jane was off working for the auction than around in reach of
Doctor Robinson. I felt very good; I judged I had done it pretty neat-
I reckoned Tom Sawyer couldn't a done it no neater himself. Of
course he would a throwed more style into it, but I can't do that very
handy, not being brung up to it.

  Well, they held the auction in the public square, along towards
the end of the afternoon, and it strung along, and strung along, and
the old man he was on hand and looking his level piousest, up there
longside of the auctioneer, and chipping in a little Scripture, now
and then, or a little goody-goody saying, of some kind, and the duke
he was around goo-gooing for sympathy all he knowed how, and just
spreading himself generly.

  But by-and-by the thing dragged through, and everything was sold.
Everything but a little old trifling lot in the graveyard. So they'd
got to work that off- I never see such a girafft as the king was for
wanting to swallow everything. Well, whilst they was at it, a
steamboat landed, and in about two minutes up comes a crowd a whooping
and yelling and laughing and carrying on, and singing out:

  "Here's your opposition line! here's your two sets o' heirs to old
Peter Wilks- and you pays your money and you takes your choice!"


  They was fetching a very nice looking old gentleman along, and a
nice looking younger one, with his right arm in a sling. And my souls,
how the people yelled, and laughed, and kept it up. But I didn't see
no joke about it, and I judged it would strain the duke and the king
some to see any. I reckoned they'd turn pale. But no, nary a pale
did they turn. The duke he never let on he suspicioned what was up,
but just went a goo-gooing around, happy and satisfied, like a jug
that's googling out buttermilk; and as for the king, he just gazed and
gazed down sorrowful on them newcomers like it give him the
stomach-ache in his very heart to think there could be such frauds and
rascals in the world. Oh, he done it admirable. Lots of the
principal people gethered around the king, to let him see they was
on his side. That old gentleman that had just come looked all
puzzled to death. Pretty soon he begun to speak, and I see, straight
off, he pronounced like an Englishman, not the king's way, though
the king's was pretty good, for an imitation. I can't give the old
gent's words, nor I can't imitate him; but he turned around to the
crowd, and says, about like this:

  "This is a surprise to me which I wasn't looking for; and I'll
acknowledge, candid and frank, I ain't very well fixed to meet it
and answer it; for my brother and me has had misfortunes, he's broke
his arm, and our baggage got put off at a town above here, last
night in the night by a mistake. I am Peter Wilks's brother Harvey,
and this is his brother William, which can't hear nor speak- and can't
even make signs to amount to much, now't he's only got one hand to
work them with. We are who we say we are; and in a day or two, when
I get the baggage, I can prove it. But, up till then, I won't say
nothing more, but go to the hotel and wait."

  So him and the new dummy started off; and the king he laughs, and
blethers out:

  "Broke his arm- very likely ain't it?- and very convenient, too, for
a fraud that's got to make signs, and hain't learnt how. Lost their
baggage! That's mighty good!- and mighty ingenious- under the

  So he laughed again; and so did everybody else, except three or
four, or maybe half a dozen. One of these was that doctor; another one
was a sharp looking gentleman, with a carpet-bag of the
old-fashioned kind made out of carpet-stuff, that had just come off of
the steamboat and was talking to him in a low voice, and glancing
towards the king now and then and nodding their heads- it was Levi
Bell, the lawyer that was gone up to Louisville; and another one was a
big rough husky that come along and listened to all the old
gentleman said, and was listening to the king now. And when the king
got done, this husky up and says:

  "Say, looky here; if you are Harvey Wilks, when'd you come to this

   "The day before the funeral, friend," says the king.

  "But what time o' day?"

  "In the evenin'- 'bout an hour er two before sundown."

  "How'd you come?"

  "I come down on the Susan Powell, from Cincinnati."

  "Well, then, how'd you come to be up at the Pint in the mornin'-
in a canoe?"

  "I warn't up at the Pint

  "It's a lie."

  Several of them jumped for him and begged him not to talk that way
to an old man and a preacher.

  "Preacher be hanged, he's a fraud and a liar. He was up at the
Pint that mornin'. I live up there, don't I? Well, I was up there, and
he was up there. I see him there. He come in a canoe, along with Tim
Collins and a boy."

  The doctor he up and says:

  "Would you know the boy again if you was to see him, Hines?"

  "I reckon I would, but I don't know. Why, yonder he is, now. I
know him perfectly easy."

  It was me he pointed at. The doctor says:

  "Neighbors, I don't know whether the new couple is frauds or not;
but if these two ain't frauds, I am an idiot, that's all. I think it's
our duty to see that they don't get away from here till we've looked
into this thing. Come along, Hines; come along, the rest of you. We'll
take these fellows to the tavern and affront them with t'other couple,
and I reckon we'll find out something before we get through."

  It was nuts for the crowd, though maybe not for the king's
friends; so we all started. It was about sundown. The doctor he led me
along by the hand, and was plenty kind enough, but he never let go
my hand.

  We all got in a big room in the hotel, and lit up some candles,
and fetched in the new couple. First, the doctor says:

  "I don't wish to be too hard on these two men, but I think they're
frauds, and they may have complices that we don't know nothing
about. If they have, won't the complices get away with that bag of
gold Peter Wilks left? It ain't unlikely. If these men ain't frauds,
they won't object to sending for that money and letting us keep it
till they prove they're all right- ain't that so?"

  Everybody agreed to that. So I judged they had our gang in a
pretty tight place, right at the outstart. But the king he only looked
sorrowful, and says:

  "Gentlemen, I wish the money was there, for I ain't got no
disposition to throw anything in the way of a fair, open,
out-and-out investigation o' this misable business; but alas, the
money ain't there; you k'n send and see, if you want to."

  "Where is it, then?"

  "Well, when my niece give it to me to keep for her, I took and hid
it inside o' the straw tick o' my bed, not wishin' to bank it for
the few days we'd be here, and considerin' the bed a safe place, we
not bein' used to niggers, and suppos'n' em honest, like servants in
England. The niggers stole it the very next mornin' after I had went
down stairs; and when I sold 'em, I hadn't missed the money yit, so
they got clean away with it. My servant here k'n tell you 'bout it,

  The doctor and several said "Shucks!" and I see nobody didn't
altogether believe him. One man asked me if I see the niggers steal
it. I said no, but I see them sneaking out of the room and hustling
away, and I never thought nothing, only I reckoned they was afraid
they had waked up my master and was trying to get away before he
made trouble with them. That was all they asked me. Then the doctor
whirls on me and says:

  "Are you English too?"

  I says yes; and him and some others laughed, and said, "Stuff!"

  Well, then they sailed in on the general investigation, and there we
had it, up and down, hour in, hour out, and nobody never said a word
about supper, nor ever seemed to think about it- and so they kept it
up, and kept it up; and it was the worst mixed-up thing you ever
see. They made the king tell his yarn, and they made the old gentleman
tell his'n; and anybody but a lot of prejudiced chuckleheads would a
seen that the old gentleman was spinning truth and t'other one lies.
And by-and-by they had me up to tell what I knowed. The king he give
me a left-handed look out of the corner of his eye, and so I knowed
enough to talk on the right side. I begun to tell about Sheffield, and
how we lived there, and all about the English Wilkses, and so on;
but I didn't get pretty fur till the doctor begun to laugh; and Levi
Bell, the lawyer, says:

  "Set down, my boy, I wouldn't strain myself, if I was you. I
reckon you ain't used to lying, it don't seem to come handy; what
you want is practice. You do it pretty awkward."

  I didn't care nothing for the compliment, but I was glad to be let
off, anyway.

  The doctor he started to say something, and turns and says:

  "If you'd been in town at first, Levi Bell-"

  The king broke in and reached out his hand, and says:

  "Why, is this my poor dead brother's old friend that he's wrote so
often about?"

  The lawyer and him shook hands, and the lawyer smiled and looked
pleased, and they talked right along a while, and then got to one side
and talked low; and at last the lawyer speaks up and says:

  "That'll fix it. I'll take the order and send it, along with your
brother's, and then they'll know it's all right."

  So they got some paper and a pen, and the king he set down and
twisted his head to one side, and chawed his tongue, and scrawled
off something; and then they give the pen to the duke- and then for
the first time, the duke looked sick. But he took the pen and wrote.
So then the lawyer turns to the new old gentleman and says:

  "You and your brother please write a line or two and sign your

  The old gentleman wrote, but nobody couldn't read it. The lawyer
looked powerful astonished, and says:

  "Well, it beats me"- and snaked a lot of old letters out of his
pocket, and examined them, and then examined the old man's writing,
and then them again; and then says: "These old letters is from
Harvey Wilks; and here's these two's handwritings, and anybody can see
they didn't write them" (the king and the duke looked sold and
foolish, I tell you, to see how the lawyer had took them in), "and
here's this old gentleman's handwriting, and anybody can tell, easy
enough, he didn't write them- fact is, the scratches he makes ain't
properly writing, at all. Now here's some letters from-"

  The new old gentleman says:

  "If you please, let me explain. Nobody can read my hand but my
brother there- so he copies for me. It's his hand you've got there,
not mine."

  "Well!" says the lawyer, "this is a state of things. I've got some
of William's letters too; so if you'll get him to write a line or so
we can com-"

  "He can't write with his left hand," says the old gentleman. "If
he could use his right hand, you would see that he wrote his own
letters and mine too. Look at both, please- they're by the same hand."

  The lawyer done it, and says:

  "I believe it's so- and if it ain't so, there's a heap stronger
resemblance than I'd noticed before, anyway. Well, well, well! I
thought we was right on the track of a slution, but it's gone to
grass, partly. But anyway, one thing is proved- these two ain't either
of 'em Wilkses"- and he wagged his head towards the king and the duke.

  Well, what do you think?- that muleheaded old fool wouldn't give
in then! Indeed he wouldn't. Said it warn't no fair test. Said his
brother William was the cussedest joker in the world, and hadn't tried
to write- he see William was going to play one of his jokes the minute
he put the pen to paper. And so he warmed up and went warbling and
warbling right along, till he was actuly beginning to believe what
he was saying, himself- but pretty soon the new old gentleman broke
in, and says:

  "I've thought of something. Is there anybody here that helped to lay
out my br- helped to lay out the late Peter Wilks for burying?"

  "Yes," says somebody, "me and Ab Turner done it. We're both here."

  Then the old man turns towards the king, and says:

  "Perhaps this gentleman can tell me what was tatooed on his breast?"

  Blamed if the king didn't have to brace up mighty quick, or he'd a
squshed down like a bluff bank that the river has cut under, it took
him so sudden- and mind you, it was a thing that was calculated to
make most anybody sqush to get fetched such a solid one as that
without any notice- because how was he going to know what was
tatooed on the man? He whitened a little; he couldn't help it; and
it was mighty still in there, and everybody bending a little
forwards and gazing at him. Says I to myself, Now he'll throw up the
sponge- there ain't no more use. Well, did he? A body can't hardly
believe it, but he didn't. I reckon he thought he'd keep the thing
up till he tired them people out, so they'd thin out, and him and
the duke could break loose and get away. Anyway, he set there, and
pretty soon he begun to smile, and says:

  "Mf! It's a very tough question, ain't it! Yes, sir, I k'n tell
you what's tatooed on his breast. It's jest a small, thin, blue arrow-
that's what it is; and if you don't look clost, you can't see it.
Now what do you say- hey?"

  Well, I never see anything like that old blister for clean
out-and-out cheek.

  The new old gentleman turns brisk towards Ab Turner and his pard,
and his eye lights up like he judged he'd got the king this time,
and says:

  "There- you've heard what he said! Was there any such mark on
Peter Wilks's breast?"

  Both of them spoke up and says:

  "We didn't see no such mark."

  "Good!" says the old gentleman. "Now, what you did see on his breast
was a small dim P, and a B (which is an initial he dropped when he was
young), and a  W, with dashes between them, so: P-B-W"-and he marked
them that way on a piece of paper. "Come- ain't that what you saw?"

  Both of them spoke up again, and says:

  "No, we didn't. We never seen any marks at all."

  Well, everybody was in a state of mind, now; and they sings out:

  "The whole bilin' of' m's frauds! Le's duck 'em! le's drown 'em!
le's ride'em on a rail!" and everybody was whooping at once, and there
was a rattling pow-wow. But the lawyer he jumps on the table and
yells, and says:

  "Gentlemen- gentlemen! Hear me just a word- just a single word- if
you PLEASE! There's one way yet- let's go and dig up the corpse and

  That took them.

  "Hooray!" they all shouted, and was starting right off; but the
lawyer and the doctor sung out:

  "Hold on, hold on! Collar all these four men and the boy, and
fetch them along, too!"

  "We'll do it!" they all shouted: "and if we don't find them marks
we'll lynch the whole gang!"

  I was scared, now, I tell you. But there warn't no getting away, you
know. They gripped us all, and marched us right along, straight for
the graveyard, which was a mile and a half down the river, and the
whole town at our heels, for we made noise enough, and it was only
nine in the evening.

  As we went by our house I wished I hadn't sent Mary Jane out of
town; because now if I could tip her the wink, she'd light out and
save me, and blow on our dead-beats.

  Well, we swarmed along down the river road, just carrying on like
wild-cats; and to make it more scary, the sky was darking up, and
the lightning beginning to wink and flitter, and the wind to shiver
amongst the leaves. This was the most awful trouble and most
dangersome I ever was in; and I was kinder stunned; everything was
going so different from what I had allowed for; stead of being fixed
so I could take my own time, if I wanted to, and see all the fun,
and have Mary Jane at my back to save me and set me free when the
close-fit come, here was nothing in the world betwixt me and sudden
death but just them tatoo-marks. If they didn't find them-

  I couldn't bear to think about it; and yet, somehow, I couldn't
think about nothing else. It got darker and darker, and it was a
beautiful time to give the crowd the slip; but that big husky had me
by the wrist- Hines- and a body might as well try to give Goliar the
slip. He dragged me right along, he was so excited; and I had to run
to keep up.

  When they got there they swarmed into the graveyard and washed
over it like an overflow. And when they got to the grave, they found
they had about a hundred times as many shovels as they wanted, but
nobody hadn't thought to fetch a lantern. But they sailed into
digging, anyway, by the flicker of the lightning, and sent a man to
the nearest house a half a mile off, to borrow one.

  So they dug and dug, like everything; and it got awful dark, and the
rain started, and the wind swished and swushed along, and the
lightning come brisker and brisker, and the thunder boomed; but them
people never took no notice of it, they was so full of this
business; and one minute you could see everything and every face in
that big crowd, and the shovelfuls of dirt sailing up out of the
grave, and the next second the dark wiped it all out, and you couldn't
see nothing at all.

  At last they got out the coffin, and begun to unscrew the lid, and
then such another crowding, and shouldering, and shoving as there was,
to scrouge in and get a sight, you never see; and in the dark, that
way, it was awful. Hines he hurt my wrist dreadful, pulling and
tugging so, and I reckon he clean forgot I was in the world, he was so
excited and panting.

   All of a sudden the lightning let go a perfect sluice of white
glare, and somebody sings out:

  "By the living jingo, here's the bag of gold on his breast!"

  Hines let out a whoop, like everybody else, and dropped my wrist and
give a big surge to bust his way in and get a look, and the way I
lit out and shinned for the road in the dark, there ain't nobody can

  I had the road all to myself, and I fairly flew- leastways I had
it all to myself, except the solid dark, and the now-and-then
glares, and the buzzing of the rain, and the thrashing of the wind,
and the splitting of the thunder; and sure as you are born I did
clip it along!

  When I struck the town, I see there warn't nobody out in the
storm, so I never hunted for no back streets, but humped it straight
through the main one; and when I begun to get towards our house I
aimed my eye and set it. No light there; the house all dark- which
made me feel sorry and disappointed, I didn't know why. But at last,
just as I was sailing by, flash comes the light in Mary Jane's window!
and my heart swelled up sudden, like to bust; and the same second
the house and all was behind me in the dark, and wasn't ever going
to be before me no more in this world. She was the best girl I ever
see, and had the most sand.

  The minute I was far enough above the town to see I could make the
tow-head, I begun to look sharp for a boat to borrow; and the first
time the lightning showed me one that wasn't chained, I snatched it
and shoved. It was a canoe, and warn't fastened with nothing but a
rope. The tow-head was a rattling big distance off, away out there
in the middle of the river, but I didn't lose no time; and when I
struck the raft at last, I was so fagged I would a just laid down to
blow and gasp if I could afforded it. But I didn't. As I sprung aboard
I sung out:

  "Out with you Jim, and set her loose! Glory be to goodness, we're
shut of them!"

  Jim lit out, and was a coming for me with both arms spread, he was
so full of joy; but when I glimpsed him in the lightning, my heart
shot up in my mouth, and I went overboard backwards; for I forgot he
was old King Lear and a drowned A-rab all in one, and it most scared
the livers and lights out of me. But Jim fished me out, and was
going to hug me and bless me, and so on, he was so glad I was back and
we was shut of the king and the duke, but I says:

  "Not now- have it for breakfast, have it for breakfast! Cut loose
and let her slide!"

  So, in two seconds, away we went, a sliding down the river, and it
did seem so good to be free again and all by ourselves on the big
river and nobody to bother us. I had to skip around a bit, and jump up
and crack my heels a few times, I couldn't help it; but about the
third crack, I noticed a sound that I knowed mighty well- and held
my breath and listened and waited- and sure enough, when the next
flash busted out over the water, here they come!- and just a laying to
their oars and making their skiff hum! It was the king and the duke.

  So I wilted right down onto the planks, then, and give up; and it
was all I could do to keep from crying.


  When they got aboard, the king went for me, and shook me by the
collar, and says:

  "Tryin' to give us the slip, was ye, you pup! Tired of our
company- hey?"

  I says:

  "No, your majesty, we warn't- please don't, your majesty!"

  "Quick, then, and tell us what was your idea, or I'll shake the
insides out o' you!"

  "Honest, I'll tell you everything, just as it happened, your
majesty. The man that had aholt of me was very good to me, and kept
saying he had a boy about as big as me that died last year, and he was
sorry to see a boy in such a dangerous fix; and when they was all took
by surprise by finding the gold, and made a rush for the coffin, he
lets go of me and whispers, 'Heel it, now, or they'll hang ye,
sure!' and I lit out. It didn't seem no good for me to stay- I
couldn't do nothing, and I didn't want to be hung if I could get away.
So I never stopped running till I found the canoe; and when I got
there I told Jim to hurry, or they'd catch me and hang me yet, and
said I was afeard you and the duke wasn't alive, now, and I was
awful sorry, and so was Jim, and was awful glad when we see you
coming, you may ask Jim if I didn't."

  Jim said it was so; and the king told him to shut up, and said, "Oh,
yes, it's mighty likely!" and shook me up again, and said he
reckoned he'd drowned me. But the duke says:

  "Leggo the boy, you old idiot! Would you a done any different? Did
you inquire around for him, when you got loose? I don't remember it."

  So the king let go of me, and begun to cuss that town and
everybody in it. But the duke says:

  "You better a blame sight give yourself a good cussing, for you're
the one that's entitled to it most. You hain't done a thing, from
the start, that had any sense in it, except coming out so cool and
cheeky with that imaginary blue-arrow mark. That was bright- it was
right down bully; and it was the thing that saved us. For if it hadn't
been for that, they'd a jailed us till them Englishmen's baggage come-
and then- the penitentiary, you bet! But that trick took 'em to the
graveyard, and the gold done us a still bigger kindness; for if the
excited fools hadn't let go all holts and made that rush to get a
look, we'd a slept in our cravats to-night- cravats warranted to wear,
too- longer than we'd need 'em."

  They was still a minute- thinking- then the king says, kind of
absent-minded like:

  "Mf! And we reckoned the niggers stole it!"

  That made me squirm!

  "Yes," says the duke, kinder slow, and deliberate, and sarcastic,
"we did."

  After about a half a minute, the king drawls out:

  "Leastways- I did."

  The duke says, the same way:

  "On the contrary- I did."

  The king kind of ruffles up, and says:

  "Looky here, Bilgewater, what'r you referrin' to?"

  The duke says, pretty brisk:

  "When it comes to that, maybe you'll let me ask, what was you
referring to?"

  "Shucks!" says the king, very sarcastic; "but I don't know- maybe
you was asleep, and didn't know what you was about."

  The duke bristles right up, now, and says:

  "Oh, let up on this cussed nonsense- do you take me for a blame'
fool? Don't you reckon I know who hid that money in that coffin?"

  "Yes, sir! I know you do know- because you done it yourself!"

  "It's a lie!"- and the duke went for him. The king sings out:

  "Take y'r hands off!- leggo my throat!- I take it all back!" The
duke says:

  "Well, you just own up, first, that you did hide that money there,
intending to give me the slip one of these days, and come back and dig
it up, and have it all to yourself."

  "Wait jest a minute, duke- answer me this one question, honest and
fair; if you didn't put that money there, say it, and I'll b'lieve
you, and take back everything I said."

  "You old scoundrel, I didn't, and you know I didn't. There, now!"

  "Well, then, I b'lieve you. But answer me only jest this one more-
now don't git mad; didn't you have it in your mind to hook the money
and hide it?"

  The duke never said nothing for a little bit; then he says:

  "Well- I don't care if I did, I didn't do it, anyway. But you not
only had it in mind to do it, but you done it."

  "I wisht I may never die if I done it, duke, and that's honest. I
won't say I warn't goin' to do it, because I was; but you- I mean
somebody- got in ahead o' me."

  "It's a lie! You done it, and you got to say you done it, or-"

  The king begun to gurgle, and then he gasps out:

  "'Nough!- I own up!"

  I was very glad to hear him say that, it made me feel much more
easier than what I was feeling before. So the duke took his hands off,
and says:

  "If you ever deny it again, I'll drown you. It's well for you to set
there and blubber like a baby- it's fitten for you, after the way
you've acted. I never see such an old ostrich for wanting to gobble
everything- and I a trusting you all the time, like you was my own
father. You ought to been ashamed of yourself to stand by and hear
it saddled onto a lot of poor niggers and you never say a word for
'em. It makes me feel ridiculous to think I was soft enough to believe
that rubbage. Cuss you, I can see, now, why you was so anxious to make
up the deffesit- you wanted to get what money I'd got out of the
Nonesuch and one thing or another, and scoop it all!"

  The king says, timid, and still a snuffling:

  "Why, duke, it was you that said make up the deffersit, it warn't

  "Dry up! I don't want to hear no more out of you!" says the duke.
"And now you see what you got by it. They've got all their own money
back, and all of ourn but a shekel or two, besides. G'long to bed- and
don't you deffersit me no more deffersits, long's you live!"

  So the king sneaked into the wigwam, and took to his bottle for
comfort; and before long the duke tackled his bottle; and so in
about a half an hour they was as thick as thieves again, and the
tighter they got, the lovinger they got; and went off a snoring in
each other's arms. They both got powerful mellow, but I noticed the
king didn't get mellow enough to forget to remember to not deny
about hiding the money-bag again. That made me feel easy and
satisfied. Of course when they got to snoring, we had a long gabble,
and I told Jim everything.


  We dasn't stop again at any town, for days and days; kept right
along down the river. We was down south in the warm weather, now,
and a mighty long ways from home. We begun to come to trees with
Spanish moss on them, hanging down from the limbs like long gray
beards. It was the first I ever see it growing, and it made the
woods look solemn and dismal. So now the frauds reckoned they was
out of danger, and they begun to work the villages again.

  First they done a lecture on temperance; but they didn't make enough
for them both to get drunk on. Then in another village they started
a dancing school; but they didn't know no more how to dance than a
kangaroo does; so the first prance they made, the general public
jumped in and pranced them out of town. Another time they tried a go
at yellocution; but they didn't yellocute long till the audience got
up and give them a solid good cussing and made them skip out. They
tackled missionarying, and mesmerizering, and doctoring, and telling
fortunes, and a little of everything; but they couldn't seem to have
no luck. So at last they got just about dead broke, and laid around
the raft, as she floated along, thinking, and thinking, and never
saying nothing, by the half a day at a time, and dreadful blue and

  And at last they took a change, and begun to lay their heads
together in the wigwam and talk low and confidential two or three
hours at a time. Jim and me got uneasy. We didn't like the look of it.
We judged they was studying up some kind of worse deviltry than
ever. We turned it over and over, and at last we made up our minds
they was going to break into somebody's house or store, or was going
into the counterfeit-money business, or something. So then we was
pretty scared, and made up an agreement that we wouldn't have
nothing in the world to do with such actions, and if we ever got the
least show we would give them the cold shake, and clear out and
leave them behind. Well, early one morning we hid the raft in a good
safe place about two mile below a little bit of a shabby village,
named Pikesville, and the king he went ashore, and told us all to stay
hid whilst he went up to town and smelt around to see if anybody had
got any wind of the Royal Nonesuch there yet. ("House to rob, you
mean," says I to myself; "and when you get through robbing it you'll
come back here and wonder what's become of me and Jim and the raft-
and you'll have to take it out in wondering.") And he said if he
warn't back by midday, the duke and me would know it was all right,
and we was to come along.

  So we staid where we was. The duke he fretted and sweated around,
and was in a mighty sour way. He scolded us for everything, and we
couldn't seem to do nothing right; he found fault with every little
thing. Something was abrewing, sure. I was good and glad when midday
come and no king; we could have a change, anyway- and maybe a chance
for the change, on top of it. So me and the duke went up to the
village, and hunted around there for the king, and by-and-by we
found him in the back room of a little low doggery, very tight, and
a lot of loafers bullyragging him for sport, and he a cussing and
threatening with all his might, and so tight he couldn't walk, and
couldn't do nothing to them. The duke he begun to abuse him for an old
fool, and the king begun to sass back; and the minute they was
fairly at it, I lit out, and shook the reefs out of my hind legs,
and spun down the river road like a deer- for I see our chance; and
I made up my mind that it would be a long day before they ever see
me and Jim again. I got down there all out of breath but loaded up
with joy, and sung out-

  "Set her loose, Jim, we're all right, now!"

  But there warn't no answer, and nobody come out of the wigwam. Jim
was gone! I set up a shout- and then another one; and run this way and
that in the woods, whooping and screeching; but it warn't no use-
old Jim was gone. Then I set down and cried; I couldn't help it. But I
couldn't set still long. Pretty soon I went out on the road, trying to
think what I better do, and I run across a boy walking, and asked
him if he'd seen a strange nigger dressed so and so, and he says:


  "Whereabouts?" says I.

  "Down to Silas Phelps's place, two miles below here. He's a
runaway nigger, and they've got him. Was you looking for him?"

  "You bet I ain't! I run across him in the woods about an hour or two
ago, and he said if I hollered he'd cut my livers out- and told me
to lay down and stay where I was; and I done it. Been there ever
since; afeard to come out."

  "Well," he says, "you needn't be afeard no more, becuz they've got
him. He run f'm down South, som'ers."

  "It's a good job they got him."

  "Well, I reckon! There two hundred dollars reward on him. It's
like picking up money out'n the road."

  "Yes, it is- and I could a had it if I'd been big enough; I see
him first. Who nailed him?"

  "It was an old fellow- a stranger- and he sold out his chance in him
for forty dollars, becuz he's got to go up the river and can't wait.
Think o' that, now! You bet I'd wait, if it was seven year."

  "That's me, every time," says I. "But maybe his chance ain't worth
no more than that, if he'll sell it so cheap. Maybe there's
something ain't straight about it."

  "But it is, though- straight as a string. I see the handbill myself.
It tells all about him, to a dot- paints him like a picture, and tells
the plantation he's frum, below Newrleans. No-siree-bob, they ain't no
trouble 'bout that speculation, you bet you. Say, gimme a chaw
tobacker, won't ye?"

  I didn't have none, so he left. I went to the raft, and set down
in the wigwam to think. But I couldn't come to nothing. I thought till
I wore my head sore, but I couldn't see no way out of the trouble.
After all this long journey, and after all we'd done for them
scoundrels, here was it all come to nothing, everything all busted
up and ruined, because they could have the heart to serve Jim such a
trick as that, and make him a slave again all his life, and amongst
strangers, too, for forty dirty dollars.

  Once I said to myself it would be a thousand times better for Jim to
be a slave at home where his family was, as long as he's got to be a
slave, and so I'd better write a letter to Tom Sawyer and tell him
to tell Miss Watson where he was. But I soon give up that notion,
for two things: she'd be mad and disgusted at his rascality and
ungratefulness for leaving her, and so she'd sell him straight down
the river again; and if she didn't, everybody naturally despises an
ungrateful nigger, and they'd make Jim feel it all the time, and so
he'd feel ornery and disgraced. And then think of me! It would get all
around, that Huck Finn helped a nigger to get his freedom; and if I
was to ever see anybody from that town again, I'd be ready to get down
and lick his boots for shame. That's just the way: a person does a
low-down thing, and then he don't want to take no consequences of
it. Thinks as long as he can hide it, it ain't no disgrace. That was
my fix exactly. The more I studied about this, the more my
conscience went to grinding me, and the more wicked and low-down and
ornery I got to feeling. And at last, when it hit me all of a sudden
that here was the plain hand of Providence slapping me in the face and
letting me know my wickedness was being watched all the time from up
there in heaven, whilst I was stealing a poor old woman's nigger
that hadn't ever done me no harm, and now was showing me there's One
that's always on the lookout, and ain't agoing to allow no such
miserable doings to go only just so fur and no further, I most dropped
in my tracks I was so scared. Well, I tried the best I could to kinder
soften it up somehow for myself, by saying I was brung up wicked,
and so I warn't so much to blame; but something inside of me kept
saying, "There was the Sunday school, you could a gone to it; and if
you'd a done it they'd a learnt you, there, that people that acts as
I'd been acting about that nigger goes to everlasting fire."

  It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray; and see if I
couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was, and be better.
So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they?
It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from me, neither.
I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart
warn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was
playing double. I was letting on to give up sin, but away inside of me
I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my
mouth say I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and
write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep down in
me I knowed it was a lie-and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie- I
found that out.

  So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn't know what
to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I'll go and write the
letter- and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I
felt as light as a feather, right straight off, and my troubles all
gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited,
and set down and wrote:

  Miss Watson your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below
Pikesville and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for
the reward if you send.                             HUCK FINN

  I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had
ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn't
do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking-
thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come
to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to
thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me, all
the time; in the day, and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight,
sometimes storms, and we a floating along, talking, and singing, and
laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me
against him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on
top of his'n, stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and
see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I
come to him agin in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and
such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me, and do
everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and
at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had
smallpox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best
friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the only one he's got now;
and then I happened to look around, and see that paper.

  It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was
a trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things,
and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and
then says to myself:

  "All right, then, I'll go to hell"- and tore it up.

  It was awful thoughts, and awful words, but they was said. And I let
them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming. I shoved
the whole thing out of my head; and said I would take up wickedness
again, which was in my line, being brung up to it, and the other
warn't. And for a starter, I would go to work and steal Jim out of
slavery again; and if I could think up anything worse, I would do
that, too; because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as
well go the whole hog.

  Then I set to thinking over how to get at it, and turned over
considerable many ways in my mind; and at last fixed up a plan that
suited me. So then I took the bearings of a woody island that was down
the river a piece, and as soon as it was fairly dark I crept out
with my raft and went for it, and hid it there, and then turned in.
I slept the night through, and got up before it was light, and had
my breakfast, and put on my store clothes, and tied up some others and
one thing or another in a bundle, and took the canoe and cleared for
shore. I landed below where I judged was Phelps's place, and hid my
bundle in the woods, and then filled up the canoe with water, loaded
rocks into her and sunk her where I could find her again when I wanted
her, about a quarter of a mile below a little steam sawmill that was
on the bank.

  Then I struck up the road, and when I passed the mill I see a sign
on it, "Phelps's Sawmill," and when I come to the farm-houses, two
or three hundred yards further along, I kept my eyes peeled, but
didn't see nobody around, though it was good daylight, now. But I
didn't mind, because I didn't want to see nobody just yet- I only
wanted to get the lay of the land. According to my plan, I was going
to turn up there from the village, not from below. So I just took a
look, and shoved along, straight for town. Well, the very first man
I see, when I got there, was the duke. He was sticking up a bill for
the Royal Nonesuch- three-night performance- like the other time. They
had the cheek, them frauds! I was right on him, before I could
shirk. He looked astonished and says:

  "Hel-lo! Where'd you come from?" Then he says, kind of glad and
eager, "Where's the raft?- got her in a good place?"

  I says:

  "Why, that's just what I was agoing to ask your grace."

  Then he didn't look so joyful- and says:

  "What was your idea for asking me?" he says.

  "Well," I says, "when I see the king in that doggery yesterday, I
says to myself, we can't get him home for hours, till he's soberer; so
I went a loafing around town to put in the time, and wait. A man up
and offered me ten cents to help him pull a skiff over the river and
back to fetch a sheep, and so I went along; but when we was dragging
him to the boat, the man left me aholt of the rope and went behind him
to shove him along, he was too strong for me, and jerked loose and
run, and we after him. We didn't have no dog, and so we had to chase
him all over the country till we tired him out. We never got him
till dark, then we fetched him over, and I started down for the
raft. When I got there and see it was gone, I says to myself, 'they've
got into trouble and had to leave; and they've took my nigger, which
is the only nigger I've got in the world, and now I'm in a strange
country, and ain't got no property no more, nor nothing, and no way to
make my living'; so I set down and cried. I slept in the woods all
night. But what did become of the raft then?- and Jim, poor Jim!"

  "Blamed if I know- that is, what's become of the raft. That old fool
had made a trade and got forty dollars, and when we found him in the
doggery the loafers had matched half dollars with him and got every
cent but what he'd spent for whisky; and when I got him home late last
night and found the raft gone, we said, 'That little rascal has
stole our raft and shook us, and run off down the river.'"

    "I wouldn't shake my nigger, would I?- the only nigger I had in
the world, and the only property."

  "We never thought of that. Fact is, I reckon we'd come to consider
him our nigger; yes, we did consider him so- goodness knows we had
trouble enough for him. So when we see the raft was gone, and we
flat broke, there warn't anything for it but to try the Royal Nonesuch
another shake. And I've pegged along ever since, dry as a
powderhorn. Where's that ten cents? Give it here."

  I had considerable money, so I give him ten cents, but begged him to
spend it for something to eat, and give me some, because it was all
the money I had, and I hadn't had nothing to eat since yesterday.
The next minute he whirls on me and says:

  "Do you reckon that nigger would blow on us? We'd skin him if he
done that!"

  "How can he blow? Hain't he run off.?"

  "No! That old fool sold him, and never divided with me, and the
money's gone."

  "Sold him?" I says, and begun to cry; "why, he was my nigger, and
that was my money. Where is he?- I want my nigger."

  "Well, you can't get your nigger, that's all- so dry up your
blubbering. Looky here- do you think you'd venture to blow on us?
Blamed if I think I'd trust you. Why, if you was to blow on us-"

  He stopped, but I never see the duke look so ugly out of his eyes
before. I went on a-whimpering, and says:

  "I don't want to blow on nobody; and I ain't got no time to blow,
nohow. I got to turn out and find my nigger."

  He looked kinder bothered, and stood there with his bills fluttering
on his arm, thinking, and wrinkling up his forehead. At last he says:

  "I'll tell you something. We got to be here three days. If you'll
promise you won't blow, and won't let the nigger blow, I'll tell you
where to find him."

  So I promised, and he says:

  "A farmer by the name of Silas Ph-" and then he stopped. You see
he started to tell me the truth; but when he stopped, that way, and
begun to study and think agin, I reckoned he was changing his mind.
And so he was. He wouldn't trust me; he wanted to make sure of
having me out of the way the whole three days. So pretty soon he says:
"The man that bought him is named Abram Foster- Abram G. Foster- and
he lives forty mile back here in the country, on the road to

  "All right," I says, "I can walk it in three days. And I'll start
this very afternoon."

  "No, you won't, you'll start now; and don't lose any time about
it, neither, nor do any gabbling by the way. Just keep a tight
tongue in your head and move right along, and then you won't get
into trouble with us, d'ye hear?"

  That was the order I wanted, and that was the one I played for. I
wanted to be left free to work my plans.

  "So clear out," he says; "and can tell Mr. Foster whatever you
want to. Maybe you can get him to believe that Jim is your nigger-
some idiots don't require documents- leastways I've heard there's such
down South here. And when you tell him the handbill and the reward's
bogus, maybe he'll believe you when you explain to him what the idea
was for getting 'em out. Go 'long, now, and tell him anything you want
to; but mind you don't work your jaw any between here and there."

  So I left, and struck for the back country. I didn't look around,
but I kinder felt like he was watching me. But I knowed I could tire
him out at that. I went straight out in the country as much as a mile,
before I stopped; then I doubled back through the woods towards
Phelps's. I reckoned I better start in on my plan straight off,
without fooling around, because I wanted to stop Jim's mouth till
these fellows could get away. I didn't want no trouble with their
kind. I'd seen all I wanted to of them, and wanted to get entirely
shut of them.


  When I got there it was all still and Sunday-like, and hot and
sunshiny- the hands was gone to the fields; and there was them kind of
faint dronings of bugs and flies in the air that makes it seem so
lonesome and like everybody's dead and gone; and if a breeze fans
along and quivers the leaves, it makes you feel mournful, because
you feel like it's spirits whispering-spirits that's been dead ever so
many years- and you always think they're talking about you. As a
general thing it makes a body wish he was dead, too, and done with
it all.

  Phelps's was one of these little one-horse cotton plantations; and
they all look alike. A rail fence round a two-acre yard; a stile, made
out of logs sawed off and up-ended, in steps, like barrels of a
different length, to climb over the fence with, and for the women to
stand on when they are going to jump onto a horse; some sickly
grass-patches in the big yard, but mostly it was bare and smooth, like
an old hat with the nap rubbed off; big double log house for the white
folks- hewed logs, with the chinks stopped up with mud or mortar,
and these mud-stripes been whitewashed some time or another; round-log
kitchen, with a big broad, open but roofed passage joining it to the
house; log smoke-house back of the kitchen; three little log
nigger-cabins in a row t'other side the smokehouse; one little hut all
by itself away down against the back fence, and some outbuildings down
a piece the other side; ash-hopper, and big kettle to bile soap in, by
the little hut; bench by the kitchen door, with bucket of water and
a gourd; hound asleep there, in the sun; more hounds asleep, round
about; about three shade-trees away off in a corner; some currant
bushes and gooseberry bushes in one place by the fence; outside of the
fence a garden and a water-melon patch; then the cotton fields begins;
and after the fields, the woods.

  I went around and clumb over the back stile by the ash-hopper, and
started for the kitchen. When I got a little ways, I heard the dim hum
of a spinning-wheel wailing along up and sinking along down again; and
then I knowed for certain I wished I was dead- for that is the
lonesomest sound in the whole world.

  I went right along, not fixing up any particular plan, but just
trusting to Providence to put the right words in my mouth when the
time come; for I'd noticed that Providence always did put the right
words in my mouth, if I left it alone.

  When I got half-way, first one hound and then another got up and
went for me, and of course I stopped and faced them, and kept still.
And such another pow-wow as they made! In a quarter of a minute I
was a kind of a hub of a wheel, as you may say- spokes made out of
dogs- circle of fifteen of them packed together around me, with
their necks and noses stretched up towards me, a barking and
howling; and more a coming; you could see them sailing over fences and
around corners from everywheres.

  A nigger woman come tearing out of the kitchen with a rolling-pin in
her hand, singing out, "Begone! you Tige! you Spot! begone, sah!"
and she fetched first one and then another of them a clip and sent him
howling, and then the rest followed; and the next second, half of them
come back, wagging their tails around me and making friends with me.
There ain't no harm in a hound, nohow.

  And behind the woman comes a little nigger girl and two little
nigger boys, without anything on but tow-linen shirts, and they hung
onto their mother's gown, and peeped out from behind her at me,
bashful, the way they always do. And here comes the white woman
running from the house, about forty-five or fifty year old,
bareheaded, and her spinningstick in her hand; and behind her comes
her little white children, acting the same way the little niggers
was doing. She was smiling all over so she could hardly stand- and

  "It's you, at last!- ain't it?"

  I out with a "Yes'm," before I thought.

  She grabbed me and hugged me tight; and then gripped me by both
hands and shook and shook; and the tears come in her eyes, and run
down over; and she couldn't seem to hug and shake enough, and kept
saying, "You don't look as much like your mother as I reckoned you
would, but law sakes, I don't care for that, I'm so glad to see you!
Dear, dear, it does seem like I could eat you up! Children, it's
your cousin Tom!- tell him howdy."

  But they ducked their heads, and put their fingers in their
mouths, and hid behind her. So she run on:

  "Lize, hurry up and get him a hot breakfast, right away- or did
you get your breakfast on the boat?"

  I said I had got it on the boat. So then she started for the
house, leading me by the hand, and the children tagging after. When we
got there, she set me down in a split-bottomed chair, and set
herself down on a little low stool in front of me, holding both of
my hands, and says:

  "Now I can have a good look at you: and laws-a-me, I've been
hungry for it a many and a many a time, all these long years, and it's
come at last! We been expecting you a couple of days and more.
What's kep' you?- boat get aground?"

  "Don't say yes'm- say Aunt Sally. Where'd she get aground?"

  I didn't rightly know what to say, because I didn't know whether the
boat would be coming up the river or down. But I go a good deal on
instinct; and my instinct said she would be coming up- from down
towards Orleans. That didn't help me much, though; for I didn't know
the names of bars down that way. I see I'd got to invent a bar, or
forget the name of the one we got aground on- or- Now I struck an
idea, and fetched it out:

  "It warn't the grounding- that didn't keep us back but a little.
We blowed out a cylinder-head."

  "Good gracious! anybody hurt?"

  "No'm. Killed a nigger."

  "Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt. Two years
ago last Christmas, your uncle Silas was coming up from Newrleans on
the old Lally Rook, and she blowed out a cylinder-head and crippled
a man. And I think he died afterwards. He was a Babtist. Your uncle
Silas knowed a family in Baton Rouge that knowed his people very well.
Yes, I remember, now he did die. Mortification set in, and they had to
amputate him. But it didn't save him. Yes, it was mortification-
that was it. He turned blue all over, and died in the hope of a
glorious resurrection. They say he was a sight to look at. Your
uncle's been up to the town every day to fetch you. And he's gone
again, not more'n an hour ago; he'll be back any minute, now. You must
a met him on the road, didn't you?- oldish man, with a-"

  "No, I didn't see nobody, Aunt Sally. The boat landed just at
daylight, and I left my baggage on the wharf-boat and went looking
around the town and out a piece in the country, to put in the time and
not get here too soon; and so I come down the back way."

  "Who'd you give the baggage to?"


  "Why, child, it'll be stole!"

  "Not where I hid it I reckon it won't," I says.

  "How'd you get your breakfast so early on the boat?" It was kinder
thin ice, but I says:

  "The captain see me standing around, and told me I better have
something to eat before I went ashore; so he took me in the texas to
the officers' lunch, and give me all I wanted."

  I was getting so uneasy I couldn't listen good. I had my mind on the
children all the time; I wanted to get them out to one side, and
pump them a little, and find out who I was. But I couldn't get no
show, Mrs. Phelps kept it up and run on so. Pretty soon she made the
cold chills streak all down my back, because she says:

  "But here we're a running on this way, and you hain't told me a word
about Sis, nor any of them. Now I'll rest my works a little, and you
start up yourn; just tell me everything- tell me all about 'm all-
every one of 'm; and how they are, and what they're doing, and what
they told you to tell me; and every last thing you can think of."

  Well, I see I was up a stump- and up it good. Providence had stood
by me this fur, all right, but I was hard and tight aground, now, I
see it warn't a bit of use to try to go ahead- I'd got to throw up
my hand. So I says to myself, here's another place where I got to resk
the truth. I opened my mouth to begin; but she grabbed me and
hustled me in behind the bed, and says:

  "Here he comes! stick your head down lower- there, that'll do; you
can't be seen, now. Don't you let on you're here. I'll play a joke
on him. Children, don't you say a word."

  I see I was in a fix, now. But it warn't no use to worry; there
warn't nothing to do but just hold still, and try and be ready to
stand from under when the lightning struck.

  I had just one little glimpse of the old gentleman when he come
in, then the bed hid him. Mrs. Phelps she jumps for him and says:

  "Has he come?"

  "No," says her husband.

  "Good-ness gracious!" she says, "what in the world can have become
of him?"

  "I can't imagine," says the old gentleman; "and I must say, it makes
me dreadful uneasy."

  "Uneasy!" she says, "I'm ready to go distracted! He must a come; and
you've missed him along the road. I know it's so- something tells me

  "Why Sally, I couldn't miss him along the road- you know that."

  "But oh, dear, dear, what will Sis say! He must a come! You must a
missed him. He-"

  "Oh, don't distress me any more'n I'm already distressed. I don't
know what in the world to make of it. I'm at my wit's end, and I don't
mind acknowledging't I'm right down scared. But there's no hope that
he's come; for he couldn't come and me miss him. Sally, it's terrible-
just terrible- something's happened to the boat, sure!"

  "Why, Silas! Look yonder!- up the road!- ain't that somebody

  He sprung to the window at the head of the bed, and that gave Mrs.
Phelps the chance she wanted. She stooped down quick, at the foot of
the bed, and give me a pull, and out I come; and when he turned back
from the window, there she stood, a-beaming and a-smiling like a house
afire, and I standing pretty meek and sweaty alongside. The old
gentleman stared, and says:

  "Why, who's that?"

  "Who do you reckon 't is?"

  "I haint no idea. Who is it?"

  "It's Tom Sawyer!"

  By jings, I most slumped through the floor. But there warn't no time
to swap knives; the old man grabbed me by the hand and shook, and kept
on shaking; and all the time, how the woman did dance around and laugh
and cry; and then how they both did fire off questions about Sid,
and Mary, and the rest of the tribe.

  But if they was joyful, it warn't nothing to what I was; for it
was like being born again, I was so glad to find out who I was.
Well, they froze to me for two hours; and at last when my chin was
so tired it couldn't hardly go, any more, I had told them more about
my family- I mean the Sawyer family- than ever happened to any six
Sawyer families. And I explained all about how we blowed out a
cylinder-head at the mouth of White River and it took us three days to
fix it. Which was all right, and worked first rate; because they
didn't know but what it would take three days to fix it. If I'd a
called it a bolt-head it would a done just as well.

  Now I was feeling pretty comfortable all down one side, and pretty
uncomfortable all up the other. Being Tom Sawyer was easy and
comfortable; and it stayed easy and comfortable till by-and-by I
hear a steamboat coughing along down the river- then I says to myself,
spose Tom Sawyer come down on that boat?- and spose he steps in
here, any minute, and sings out my name before I can throw him a
wink to keep quiet? Well, I couldn't have it that way- it wouldn't
do at all. I must go up the road and waylay him. So I told the folks I
reckoned I would go up to the town and fetch down my baggage. The
old gentleman was for going along with me, but I said no, I could
drive the horse myself, and I druther he wouldn't take no trouble
about me.


  So I started for town, in the wagon, and when I was half-way I see a
wagon coming, and sure enough it was Tom Sawyer, and I stopped and
waited till he come along. I says "Hold on!" and it stopped alongside,
and his mouth opened up like a trunk, and staid so; and he swallowed
two or three times like a person that's got a dry throat, and then

  "I hain't ever done you no harm. You know that. So then, what you
want to come back and ha'nt me for?"

  I says:

  "I hain't come back- I hain't been gone."

  When he heard my voice, it righted him up some, but he warn't
quite satisfied yet. He says:

  "Don't you play nothing on me, because I wouldn't on you. Honest
injun, now, you ain't a ghost?"

  "Honest injun, I ain't," I says.

  "Well- I- I- well, that ought to settle it, of course; but I can't
somehow seem to understand it, no way. Looky here, warn't you ever
murdered at all?"

  "No. I warn't ever murdered at all- I played it on them. You come in
here and feel of me if you don't believe me."

  So he done it; and it satisfied him; and he was that glad to see
me again, he didn't know what to do. And he wanted to know all about
it right off; because it was a grand adventure, and mysterious, and so
it hit him where he lived. But I said, leave it alone till
by-and-by; and told his driver to wait, and we drove off a little
piece, and I told him the kind of a fix I was in, and what did he
reckon we better do? He said, let him alone a minute, and don't
disturb him. So he thought and thought, and pretty soon he says:

  "It's all right, I've got it. Take my trunk in your wagon, and let
on it's your'n; and you turn back and fool along slow, so as to get to
the house about the time you ought to; and I'll go towards town a
piece, and take a fresh start, and get there a quarter or a half an
hour after you; and you needn't let on to know me, at first."

  I says:

  "All right; but wait a minute. There's one more thing- a thing
that nobody don't know but me. And that is, there's a nigger here that
I'm a trying to steal out of slavery- and his name is Jim- old Miss
Watson's Jim."

  He says:

  "What! Why Jim is-"

  He stopped and went to studying. I says:

  "I know what you'll say. You'll say it's dirty low-down business;
but what if it is?- I'm low down; and I'm agoing to steal him, and I
want you to keep mum and not let on. Will you?"

  His eye lit up, and he says:

  "I'll help you steal him!"

  Well, I let go all holts then, like I was shot. It was the most
astonishing speech I ever heard- and I'm bound to say Tom Sawyer fell,
considerable, in my estimation. Only I couldn't believe it. Tom Sawyer
a nigger stealer!

  "Oh, shucks," I says, "you're joking."

  "I ain't joking, either."

  "Well, then," I says, "joking or no joking, if you hear anything
said about a runaway nigger, don't forget to remember that you don't
know nothing about him, and I don't know nothing about him."

  Then we took the trunk and put it in my wagon and he drove off his
way, and I drove mine. But of course I forgot all about driving
slow, on accounts of being glad and full of thinking; so I got home
a heap too quick for that length of a trip. The old gentleman was at
the door, and he says:

  "Why, this is wonderful. Who ever would a thought it was in that
mare to do it. I wish we'd a timed her. And she hain't sweated a hair-
not a hair. It's wonderful. Why, I wouldn't take a hundred dollars for
that horse now; I wouldn't, honest; and yet I'd a sold her for fifteen
before, and thought 'twas all she was worth."

  That's all he said. He was the innocentest, best old soul I ever
see. But it warn't surprising; because he warn't only just a farmer,
he was a preacher, too, and had a little one-horse log church down
back of the plantation, which he built it himself at his own
expense, for a church and school-house, and never charged nothing
for his preaching, and it was worth it, too. There was plenty other
farmer-preachers like that, and done the same way, down South.

  In about half an hour Tom's wagon drove up to the front stile, and
Aunt Sally she see it through the window because it was only about
fifty yards, and says:

  "Why, there's somebody come! I wonder who 'tis? Why, I do believe
it's a stranger. Jimmy" (that's one of the children), "run and tell
Lize to put on another plate for dinner."

  Everybody made a rush for the front door, because, of course, a
stranger don't come every year, and so he lays over the yaller
fever, for interest, when he does come. Tom was over the stile and
starting for the house; the wagon was spinning up the road for the
village, and we was all bunched in the front door. Tom had his store
clothes on, and an audience- and that was always nuts for Tom
Sawyer. In them circumstances it warn't no trouble to him to throw
in an amount of style that was suitable. He warn't a boy to meeky
along up that yard like a sheep; no, he come ca'm and important,
like the ram. When he got afront of us, he lifts his hat ever so
gracious and dainty, like it was the lid of a box that had butterflies
asleep in it and he didn't want to disturb them, and says:

  "Mr. Archibald Nichols, I presume?"

  "No, my boy," says the old gentleman, "I'm sorry to say't your
driver has deceived you; Nichols's place is down a matter of three
mile more. Come in, come in."

  Tom he took a look back over his shoulder, and says, "Too late- he's
out of sight."

  "Yes, he's gone, my son, and you must come in and eat your dinner
with us; and then we'll hitch up and take you down to Nichols's."

  "Oh, I can't make you so much trouble; I couldn't think of it.
I'll walk- I don't mind the distance."

  "But we won't let you walk- it wouldn't be Southern hospitality to
do it. Come right in."

  "Oh, do," says Aunt Sally; "it ain't a bit of trouble to us, not a
bit in the world. You must stay. It's a long, dusty three mile, and we
can't let you walk. And besides, I've already told 'em to put on
another plate, when I see you coming; so you mustn't disappoint us.
Come right in, and make yourself at home."

  So Tom he thanked them very hearty and handsome, and let himself
be persuaded, and come in; and when he was in, he said he was a
stranger from Hicksville, Ohio, and his name was William Thompson- and
he made another bow.

  Well, he run on, and on, and on, making up stuff about Hicksville
and everybody in it he could invent, and I was getting a little
nervous, and wondering how this was going to help me out of my scrape;
and at last, still talking along, he reached over and kissed Aunt
Sally right on the mouth, and then settled back again in his chair,
comfortable, and was going on talking; but she jumped up and wiped
it off with the back of her hand, and says:

  "You owdacious puppy!"

  He looked kind of hurt, and says:

  "I'm surprised at you, m'am."

  "You're s'rp- Why, what do you reckon I am? I've a good notion to
take and- say, what do you mean by kissing me?"

  He looked kind of humble, and says:

  "I didn't mean nothing, m'am. I didn't mean no harm. I- I- thought
you'd like it."

  "Why, you born fool!" She took up the spinning-stick, and it
looked like it was all she could do to keep from giving him a crack
with it. "What made you think I'd like it?"

  "Well, I don't know. Only, they- they- told me you would."

  "They told you I would. Whoever told you's another lunatic. I
never heard the beat of it. Who's they?"

  "Why- everybody. They all said so, m'am."

  It was all she could do to hold in; and her eyes snapped, and her
fingers worked like she wanted to scratch him; and she says:

  "Who's 'everybody?' Out with their names- or ther'll be an idiot

  He got up and looked distressed, and fumbled his hat, and says:

  "I'm sorry, and I warn't expecting it. They told me to. They all
told me to. They all said kiss her; and said she'll like it. They
all said it- every one of them. But I'm sorry, m'am, and I won't do it
no more- I won't honest."

  "You won't, won't you? Well, I sh'd reckon you won't!"

  "No'm, I'm honest about it; I won't ever do it again. Till you ask

  "Till I ask you! Well, I never see the beat of it in my born days! I
lay you'll be the Methusalem-numskull of creation before ever I ask
you- or the likes of you."

  "Well," he says, "it does surprise me so. I can't make it out,
somehow. They said you would, and I thought you would. But-" He
stopped and looked around slow, like he wished he could run across a
friendly eye, somewhere's; and fetched up on the old gentleman's,
and says, "Didn't you think she'd like me to kiss her, sir?"

  "Why, no, I- I- well, no, I b'lieve I didn't."

  Then he looks on around, the same way, to me- and says:

  "Tom, didn't you think Aunt Sally'd open out her arms and say,
'Sid Sawyer-'"

  "My land!" she says, breaking in and jumping for him, "you
impudent young rascal, to fool a body so-" and was going to hug him,
but he fended her off, and says:

  "No, not till you've asked me, first."

  So she didn't lose no time, but asked him; and hugged him and kissed
him, over and over again, and then turned him over to the old man, and
he took what was left. And after they got a little quiet again, she

  "Why, dear me, I never see such a surprise. We warn't looking for
you, at all, but only Tom. Sis never wrote to me about anybody
coming but him."

  "It's because it warn't intended for any of us to come but Tom,"
he says; "but I begged and begged, and at the last minute she let me
come, too; so, coming down the river, me and Tom thought it would be a
first-rate surprise for him to come here to the house first, and for
me to by-and-by tag along and drop in and let on to be a stranger. But
it was a mistake, Aunt Sally. This ain't no healthy place for a
stranger to come."

  "No- not impudent whelps, Sid. You ought to had your jaws boxed; I
hain't been so put out since I don't know when. But I don't care, I
don't mind the terms- I'd be willing to stand a thousand such jokes to
have you here. Well, to think of that performance! I don't deny it,
I was most putrified with astonishment when you give me that smack."

  We had dinner out in that broad open passage betwixt the house and
the kitchen; and there was things enough on that table for seven
families- and all hot, too; none of your flabby tough meat that's laid
in a cupboard in a damp cellar all night and tastes like a hunk of old
cold cannibal in the morning. Uncle Silas he asked a pretty long
blessing over it, but it was worth it; and it didn't cool it a bit,
neither, the way I've seen them kind of interruptions do, lots of

  There was a considerable good deal of talk, all the afternoon, and
me and Tom was on the lookout all the time, but it warn't no use, they
didn't happen to say nothing about any runaway nigger, and we was
afraid to try to work up to it. But at supper, at night, one of the
little boys says:

  "Pa, mayn't Tom and Sid and me go to the show?"

  "No," says the old man, "I reckon there ain't going to be any; and
you couldn't go if there was; because the runaway nigger told Burton
and me all about that scandalous show, and Burton said he would tell
the people; so I reckon they've drove the owdacious loafers out of
town before this time."

  So there it was!- but I couldn't help it. Tom and me was to sleep in
the same room and bed; so, being tired, we bid goodnight and went up
to bed, right after supper, and clumb out of the window and down the
lightning-rod, and shoved for the town; for I didn't believe anybody
was going to give the king and the duke a hint, and so, if I didn't
hurry up and give them one they'd get into trouble sure.

  On the road Tom he told me all about how it was reckoned I was
murdered, and how pap disappeared, pretty soon, and didn't come back
no more, and what a stir there was when Jim run away; and I told Tom
all about our Royal Nonesuch rapscallions, and as much of the
raft-voyage as I had time to; and as we struck into the town and up
through the middle of it- it was as much as half-after eight, then-
here comes a raging rush of people, with torches, and an awful
whooping and yelling, and banging tin pans and blowing horns; and we
jumped to one side to let them go by; and as they went by, I see
they had the king and the duke astraddle of a rail- that is, I
knowed it was the king and the duke, though they was all over tar
and feathers, and didn't look like nothing in the world that was
human- just looked like a couple of monstrous big soldier-plumes.
Well, it made me sick to see it; and I was sorry for them poor pitiful
rascals, it seemed like I couldn't ever feel any hardness against them
any more in the world. It was a dreadful thing to see. Human beings
can be awful cruel to one another.

  We see we was too late- couldn't do no good. We asked some
stragglers about it, and they said everybody went to the show
looking very innocent; and laid low and kept dark till the poor old
king was in the middle of his cavortings on the stage; then somebody
give a signal, and the house rose up and went for them.

  So we poked along back home, and I warn't feeling so brash as I
was before, but kind of ornery, and humble, and to blame, somehow-
though I hadn't done nothing. But that's always the way; it don't make
no difference whether you do right or wrong, a person's conscience
ain't got no sense, and just goes for him anyway. If I had a yaller
dog that didn't know no more than a person's conscience does, I
would pison him. It takes up more room than all the rest of a person's
insides, and yet ain't no good, nohow. Tom Sawyer he says the same.


  We stopped talking, and got to thinking. By-and-by Tom says:

  "Looky here, Huck, what fools we are, to not think of it before! I
bet I know where Jim is."

  "No! Where?"

  "In that hut down by the ash-hopper. Why, looky here. When we was at
dinner, didn't you see a nigger man go in there with some vittles?"

  "What did you think the vittles was for?"

  "For a dog."

  "So'd I. Well, it wasn't for a dog."

  "Because part of it was watermelon."

  "So it was- I noticed it. Well, it does beat all, that I never
thought about a dog not eating watermelon. It shows how a body can see
and don't see at the same time."

  "Well, the nigger unlocked the padlock when he went in, and he
locked it again when he come out. He fetched uncle a key, about the
time we got up from table- same key, I bet. Watermelon shows man, lock
shows prisoner; and it ain't likely there's two prisoners on such a
little plantation, and where the people's all so kind and good.
Jim's the prisoner. All right- I'm glad we found it out detective
fashion; I wouldn't give shucks for any other way. Now you work your
mind and study out a plan to steal Jim, and I will study out one, too;
and we'll take the one we like the best."

  What a head for just a boy to have! If I had Tom Sawyer's head, I
wouldn't trade it off to be a duke, nor mate of a steamboat, nor clown
in a circus, nor nothing I can think of. I went to thinking out a
plan, but only just to be doing something; I knowed very well where
the right plan was going to come from. Pretty soon, Tom says:


  "Yes," I says.

  "All right- bring it out."

  "My plan is this," I says. "We can easy find out if it's Jim in
there. Then get up my canoe to-morrow night, and fetch my raft over
from the island. Then the first dark night that comes, steal the key
out of the old man's britches, after he goes to bed, and shove off
down the river on the raft, with Jim, hiding daytimes and running
nights, the way me and Jim used to do before. Wouldn't that plan

  "Work? Why cert'nly, it would work, like rats a fighting. But it's
too blame' simple; there ain't nothing to it. What's the good of a
plan that ain't no more trouble than that? It's as mild as goose-milk.
Why, Huck, it wouldn't make no more talk than breaking into a soap

  I never said nothing, because I warn't expecting nothing
different; but I knowed mighty well that whenever he got his plan
ready it wouldn't have none of them objections to it.

  And it didn't. He told me what it was, and I see in a minute it
was worth fifteen of mine, for style, and would make Jim just as
free a man as mine would, and maybe get us all killed besides. So I
was satisfied, and said we would waltz in on it. I needn't tell what
it was, here, because I knowed it wouldn't stay the way it was. I
knowed he would be changing it around, every which way, as we went
along, and heaving in new bullinesses wherever he got a chance. And
that is what he done.

  Well, one thing was dead sure; and that was, that Tom Sawyer was
in earnest and was actuly going to help steal that nigger out of
slavery. That was the thing that was too many for me. Here was a boy
that was respectable, and well brung up and had a character to lose;
and folks at home that had characters; and he was bright and not
leather-headed; and knowing and not ignorant; and not mean, but
kind; and yet here he was, without any more pride, or rightness, or
feeling, than to stoop to this business, and make himself a shame, and
his family a shame, before everybody. I couldn't understand it, no way
at all. It was outrageous, and I knowed I ought to just up and tell
him so; and so be his true friend, and let him quit the thing right
where he was, and save himself. And I did start to tell him; but he
shut me up, and says:

  "Don't you reckon I know what I'm about? Don't I generly know what
I'm about?"


  "Didn't I say I was going to help steal the nigger?"


  "Well then."

  That's all he said, and that's all I said. It warn't no use to say
any more; because when he said he'd do a thing, he always done it. But
I couldn't make out how he was willing to go into this thing; so I
just let it go, and never bothered no more about it. If he was bound
to have it so, I couldn't help it.

  When we got home, the house was all dark and still; so we went on
down to the hut by the ash-hopper, for to examine it. We went
through the yard, so as to see what the hounds would do. They knowed
us, and didn't make no more noise than country dogs is always doing
when anything comes by in the night. When we got to the cabin, we took
a look at the front and the two sides; and on the side I warn't
acquainted with- which was the north side- we found a square
window-hole, up tolerable high, with just one stout board nailed
across it. I says:

  "Here's the ticket. This hole's big enough for Jim to get through,
if we wrench off the board."

  Tom says:

  "It's as simple as tit-tat-toe, three-in-a-row, and as easy as
playing hooky. I should hope we can find a way that's a little more
complicated than that, Huck Finn."

  "Well then," I says, "how'll it do to saw him out, the way I done
before I was murdered, that time?"

  "That's more like," he says. "It's real mysterious, and troublesome,
and good," he says; "but I bet we can find a way that's twice as long.
There ain't no hurry; le's keep on looking around."

  Betwixt the hut and the fence, on the back side, was a lean-to, that
joined the hut at the eaves, and was made out of plank. It was as long
as the hut, but narrow- only about six foot wide. The door to it was
at the south end, and was padlocked. Tom he went to the soap kettle,
and searched around and fetched back the iron thing they lift the
lid with; so he took it and prized out one of the staples. The chain
fell down, and we opened the door and went in, and shut it, and struck
a match, and see the shed was only built against the cabin and
hadn't no connection with it; and there warn't no floor to the shed,
nor nothing in it but some rusty played-out hoes, and spades, and
packs, and a crippled plow. The match went out, and so did we, and
shoved in the staple again, and the door was locked as good as ever.
Tom was joyful. He says:

  "Now we're all right. We'll dig him out. It'll take about a week!"

  Then we started for the house, and I went in the back door- you only
have to pull a buckskin latch-string, they don't fasten the doors- but
that warn't romantical enough for Tom Sawyer: no way would do him
but he must climb up the lightning-rod. But after he got up half-way
about three times, and missed fire and fell every time, and the last
time most busted his brains out, he thought he'd got to give it up;
but after he was rested, he allowed he would give her one more turn
for luck, and this time he made the trip.

  In the morning we was up at break of day, and down to the nigger
cabins to pet the dogs and make friends with the nigger that fed
Jim- if it was Jim that was being fed. The niggers was just getting
through breakfast and starting for the fields; and Jim's nigger was
piling up a tin pan with bread and meat and things; and whilst the
others was leaving, the key come from the house.

  This nigger had a good-natured, chuckle-headed face, and his wool
was all tied up in little bunches with thread. That was to keep
witches off. He said the witches was pestering him awful, these
nights, and making him see all kinds of strange things, and hear all
kinds of strange words and noises, and he didn't believe he was ever
witched so long, before, in his life. He got so worked up, and got
to running on so about his troubles, he forgot all about what he'd
been going to do. So Tom says:

  "What's the vittles for? Going to feed the dogs?"

  The nigger kind of smiled around graduly over his face, like when
you heave a brickbat in a mud puddle, and he says:

  "Yes, Mars Sid, a dog. Cur'us dog, too. Does you want to go en
look at 'im?"


  I hunched Tom, and whispers:

  "You going, right here in the day-break? That warn't the plan."

  "No, it warn't- but it's the plan now."

  So, drat him, we went along, but I didn't like it much. When we
got in, we couldn't hardly see anything, it was so dark; but Jim was
there, sure enough, and could see us; and he sings out:

  "Why, Huck! En good lan'! ain'dat Misto Tom?"

  I just knowed how it would be; I just expected it. I didn't know
nothing to do; and if I had, I couldn't a done it; because that nigger
busted in and says:

  "Why, de gracious sakes! do he know you genlmen?"

  We could see pretty well, now. Tom he looked at the nigger, steady
and kind of wondering, and says:

  "Does who know us?"

  "Why, dish-yer runaway nigger."

  "I don't reckon he does; but what put that into your head?"

  "What put it dar? Didn' he jis' dis minute sing out like he knowed

  Tom says, in a puzzled-up kind of way:

  "Well, that's mighty curious. Who sung out? When did he sing out?
What did he sing out?" And turns to me, perfectly c'am, and says, "Did
you hear anybody sing out?"

  Of course there warn't nothing to be said but the one thing; so I

  "No; I ain't heard nobody say nothing."

  Then he turns to Jim, and looks him over like he never see him
before; and says:

  "Did you sing out?"

  "No, sah," says Jim; "I hain't said nothing, sah."

  "Not a word?"

  "No, sah; not as I knows on."

  So Tom turns to the nigger, which was looking wild and distressed,
and says, kind of severe:

  "What do you reckon's the matter with you, anyway? What made you
think somebody sung out?"

  "Oh, it's de dad-blame' witches, sah, en I wisht I was dead, I do.
Dey's awluz at it, sah, en dey do mos' kill me, dey sk'yers me so.
Please to don't tell nobody 'bout it sah, er ole Mars Silas he'll
scole me; 'kase he say dey ain't no witches. I jis' wish to goodness
he was heah now- den what would he say! I jis' bet he couldn't fine no
way to git around it dis time. But it's awluz jis' so; people dat's
sot, stays sot; dey won't look into nothin' en fine it out f'r
deyselves, en when you fine it out en tell um 'bout it, dey doan'
b'lieve you."

  Tom give him a dime, and said we wouldn't tell nobody; and told
him to buy some more thread to tie up his wool with; and then looks at
Jim, and says:

  "I wonder if Uncle Silas is going to hang this nigger. If I was to
catch a nigger that was ungrateful enough to run away, I wouldn't give
him up, I'd hang him." And whilst the nigger stepped to the door to
look at the dime and bite it to see if it was good, he whispers to
Jim, and says:

  "Don't ever let on to know us. And if you hear any digging going
on nights, it's us: we're going to set you free."

  Jim only had time to grab us by the hand and squeeze it, then the
nigger come back, and we said we'd come again some time if the
nigger wanted us to; and he said he would, more particular if it was
dark, because the witches went for him mostly in the dark, and it
was good to have folks around then.


  It would be most an hour, yet, till breakfast, so we left, and
struck down into the woods; because Tom said we got to have some light
to see how to dig by, and a lantern makes too much, and might get us
into trouble; what we must have was a lot of them rotten chunks that's
called fox-fire and just makes a soft kind of a glow when you lay them
in a dark place. We fetched an armful and hid it in the weeds, and set
down to rest, and Tom says, kind of dissatisfied:

  "Blame it, this whole thing is just as easy and awkward as it can
be. And so it makes it so rotten difficult to get up a difficult plan.
There ain't no watchman to be drugged- now there ought to be a
watchman. There ain't even a dog to get a sleeping-mixture to. And
there's Jim chained by one leg, with a ten-foot chain, to the leg of
his bed: why, all you got to do is to lift up the bedstead and slip
off the chain. And Uncle Silas he trusts everybody; sends the key to
the punkinheaded nigger, and don't send nobody to watch the nigger.
Jim could a got out of that window hole before this, only there
wouldn't be no use trying to travel with a ten-foot chain on his
leg. Why, drat it, Huck, it's the stupidest arrangement I ever see.
You got to invent all the difficulties. Well, we can't help it, we got
to do the best we can with the materials we've got. Anyhow, there's
one thing- there's more honor in getting him out through a lot of
difficulties and dangers, where there warn't one of them furnished
to you by the people who it was their duty to furnish them, and you
had to contrive them all out of your own head. Now look at just that
one thing of the lantern. When you come down to the cold facts, we
simply got to let on that a lantern's resky. Why, we could work with a
torchlight procession if we wanted to, I believe. Now, whilst I
think of it, we got to hunt up something to make a saw out of, the
first chance we get."

  "What do we want of a saw?"

  "What do we want of it? Hain't we got to saw the leg of Jim's bed
off, so as to get the chain loose?"

  "Why, you just said a body could lift up the bedstead and slip the
chain off."

  "Well, if that ain't just like you, Huck Finn. You can get up the
infant-schooliest ways of going at a thing. Why, hain't you ever
read any books at all?- Baron Trenck, nor Casanova, nor Benvenuto
Chelleeny, nor Henri IV., nor none of them heroes? Whoever heard of
getting a prisoner loose in such an old-maidy way as that? No; the way
all the best authorities does, is to saw the bed-leg in two, and leave
it just so, and swallow the sawdust, so it can't be found, and put
some dirt and grease around the sawed place so the very keenest
seneskal can't see no sign of its being sawed, and thinks the
bed-leg is perfectly sound. Then, the night you're ready, fetch the
leg a kick, down she goes; slip off your chain, and there you are.
Nothing to do but hitch your rope-ladder to the battlements, shin down
it, break your leg in the moat- because a rope-ladder is nineteen foot
too short, you know- and there's your horses and your trusty
vassles, and they scoop you up and fling you across a saddle and
away you go, to your native Langudoc, or Navarre, or wherever it is.
It's gaudy, Huck. I wish there was a moat to this cabin. If we get
time, the night of the escape, we'll dig one."

  I says:

  "What do we want of a moat, when we're going to snake him out from
under the cabin?"

  But he never heard me. He had forgot me and everything else. He
had his chin in his hand, thinking. Pretty soon, he sighs, and
shakes his head; then sighs again, and says:

  "No, it wouldn't do- there ain't necessity enough for it."

  "For what?" I says.

  "Why, to saw Jim's leg off," he says.

  "Good land!" I says, "why, there ain't no necessity for it. And what
you want to saw his leg off for, anyway?"

  "Well, some of the best authorities has done it. They couldn't get
the chain off, so they just cut their hand off, and shoved. And a
leg would be better still. But we got to let that go. There ain't
necessity enough in this case; and besides, Jim's a nigger and
wouldn't understand the reasons for it, and how it's the custom in
Europe; so we'll let it go. But there's one thing- he can have a
rope-ladder; we can tear up our sheets and make him a rope-ladder easy
enough. And we can send it to him in a pie; it's mostly done that way.
And I've et worse pies."

  "Why, Tom Sawyer, how you talk," I says; "Jim ain't got no use for a

  "He has got use for it. How you talk, you better say; you don't know
nothing about it. He's got to have a rope ladder; they all do."

  "What in the nation can he do with it?"

  "Do with it? He can hide it in his bed, can't he? That's what they
all do; and he's got to, too. Huck, you don't ever seem to want to
do anything that's regular; you want to be starting something fresh
all the time. Spose he don't do nothing with it? ain't it there in his
bed, for a clew, after he's gone? and don't you reckon they'll want
clews? Of course they will. And you wouldn't leave them any? That
would be a pretty howdy- do, wouldn't it! I never heard of such a

  "Well," I says, "if it's in the regulations, and he's got to have
it, all right, let him have it; because I don't wish to go back on
no regulations; but there's one thing, Tom Sawyer- if we go to tearing
up our sheets to make Jim a rope-ladder, we're going to get into
trouble with Aunt Sally, just as sure as you're born. Now, the way I
look at it, a hickry-bark ladder don't cost nothing, and don't waste
nothing, and is just as good to load up a pie with, and hide in a
straw tick, as any rag ladder you can start; and as for Jim, he
ain't had no experience, and so he don't care what kind of a-"

  "Oh, shucks, Huck Finn, if I was as ignorant as you, I'd keep still-
that's what I'd do. Who ever heard of a state prisoner escaping by a
hickry-bark ladder? Why, it's perfectly ridiculous."

  "Well, all right, Tom, fix it your own way; but if you'll take my
advice, you'll let me borrow a sheet off of the clothes-line."

  He said that would do. And that give him another idea, and he says:

  "Borrow a shirt, too."

  "What do we want of a shirt, Tom?"

  "Want it for Jim to keep a journal on."

  "Journal your granny- Jim can't write."

  "Spose he can't write- he can make marks on the shirt, can't he,
if we make him a pen out of an old pewter spoon or a piece of an old
iron barrel-hoop?"

  "Why, Tom, we can pull a feather out of a goose and make him a
better one; and quicker, too."

  "Prisoners don't have geese running around the donjon-keep to pull
pens out of, you muggins. They always make their pens out of the
hardest, toughest, troublesomest piece of old brass candlestick or
something like that they can get their hands on; and it takes them
weeks and weeks, and months and months to file it out, too, because
they've got to do it by rubbing it on the wall. They wouldn't use a
goosequill if they had it. It ain't regular."

  "Well, then, what'll we make him the ink out of?"

  "Many makes it out of iron-rust and tears; but that's the common
sort and women; the best authorities uses their own blood. Jim can
do that; and when he wants to send any little common ordinary
mysterious message to let the world know where he's captivated, he can
write it on the bottom of a tin plate with a fork and throw it out
of the window. The Iron Mask always done that, and it's a blame'
good way, too."

  "Jim ain't got no tin plates. They feed him in a pan."

  "That ain't anything; we can get him some."

  "Can't nobody read his plates."

  "That ain't got nothing to do with it, Huck Finn. All he's got to do
is to write on the plate and throw it out. You don't have to be able
to read it. Why, half the time you can't read anything a prisoner
writes on a plate, or anywhere else."

  "Well, then, what's the sense in wasting the plates?"

  "Why, blame it all, it ain't the prisoner's plates."

  "But it's somebody's plates, ain't it?"

  "Well, spos'n it is? What does the prisoner care whose-"

  He broke off there, because we heard the breakfast-horn blowing.
So we cleared out for the house.

  Along during that morning I borrowed a sheet and a white shirt off
of the clothes-line; and I found an old sack and put them in it, and
we went down and got the fox-fire, and put that in too. I called it
borrowing, because that was what pap always called it; but Tom said it
warn't borrowing, it was stealing. He said we was representing
prisoners; and prisoners don't care how they get a thing so they get
it, and nobody don't blame them for it, either. It ain't no crime in a
prisoner to steal the thing he needs to get away with, Tom said;
it's his right; and so, as long as we was representing a prisoner,
we had a perfect right to steal anything on this place we had the
least use for, to get ourselves out of prison with. He said if we
warn't prisoners it would be a very different thing, and nobody but
a mean ornery person would steal when he warn't a prisoner. So we
allowed we would steal everything there was that come handy. And yet
he made a mighty fuss, one day, after that, when I stole a
watermelon out of the nigger patch and eat it; and he made me go and
give the niggers a dime, without telling them what it was for. Tom
said that what he meant was, we could steal anything we needed.
Well, I says, I needed the watermelon. But he said I didn't need it to
get out of prison with, there's where the difference was. He said if
I'd a wanted it to hide a knife in, and smuggle it to Jim to kill
the seneskal with, it would a been all right. So I let it go at
that, though I couldn't see no advantage in representing a prisoner,
if I got to set down and chaw over a lot of gold-leaf distinctions
like that, every time I see a chance to hog a watermelon.

  Well, as I was saying, we waited that morning till everybody was
settled down to business, and nobody in sight around the yard; then
Tom he carried the sack into the leanto whilst I stood off a piece
to keep watch. By-and-by he come out, and we went and set down on
the wood-pile, to talk. He says:

  "Everything's all right, now, except tools; and that's easy fixed."

  "Tools?" I says. "Tools for what?"

  "Why, to dig with. We ain't going to gnaw him out, are we?"

  "Ain't them old crippled picks and things in there good enough to
dig a nigger out with?" I says.

  He turns on me looking pitying enough to make a body cry, and says:

  "Huck Finn, did you ever hear of a prisoner having picks and
shovels, and all the modern conveniences in his wardrobe to dig
himself out with? Now I want to ask you- if you got any reasonableness
in you at all- what kind of a show would that give him to be a hero?
Why, they might as well lend him the key, and done with it. Picks
and shovels- why they wouldn't furnish 'em to a king."

  "Well, then," I says, "if we don't want the picks and shovels,
what do we want?"

  "A couple of case-knives."

  "To dig the foundations out from under that cabin with?"


  "Confound it, it's foolish, Tom."

  "It don't make no difference how foolish it is, it's the right
way- and it's the regular way. And there ain't no other way, that ever
I heard of, and I've read all the books that gives any information
about these things. They always dig out with a case-knife- and not
through dirt, mind you; generly it's through solid rock. And it
takes them weeks and weeks and weeks, and for ever and ever. Why, look
at one of them prisoners in the bottom dungeon of the Castle Deef,
in the harbor of Marseilles, that dug himself out that way; how long
was he at it, you reckon?"

  "I don't know."

  "Well, guess."

  "I don't know. A month and a half?"

  "Thirty-seven year- and he come out in China. That's the kind. I
wish the bottom of this fortress was solid rock."

  "Jim don't know nobody in China."

  "What's that got to do with it? Neither did our fellow. But you're
always a-wandering off on a side issue. Why can't you stick to the
main point?"

  "All right- I don't care where he comes out, so he comes out; and
Jim don't, either, I reckon. But there's one thing, anyway- Jim's
too old to be dug out with a case-knife. He won't last."

  "Yes he will last, too. You don't reckon it's going to take
thirty-seven years to dig out through a dirt foundation, do you?"

  "How long will it take, Tom?"

  "Well, we can't resk being as long as we ought to, because it mayn't
take very long for Uncle Silas to hear from down there by New Orleans.
He'll hear Jim ain't from there. Then his next move will be to
advertise Jim, or something like that. So we can't resk being as
long digging him out as we ought to. By rights I reckon we ought to be
a couple of years; but we can't. Things being so uncertain, what I
recommend is this: that we really dig right in, as quick as we can;
and after that, we can let on, to ourselves, that we was at it
thirty-seven years. Then we can snatch him out and rush him away the
first time there's an alarm. Yes, I reckon that'll be the best way."

  "Now, there's sense in that," I says. "Letting on don't cost
nothing; letting on ain't no trouble; and if it's any object, I
don't mind letting on we was at it a hundred and fifty year. It
wouldn't strain me none, after I got my hand in. So I'll mosey along
now, and smouch a couple of case-knives."

  "Smouch three," he says; "we want one to make a saw out of."

  "Tom, if it ain't unregular and irreligious to sejest it," I says,
"there's an old rusty saw-blade around yonder sticking under the
weatherboarding behind the smoke-house."

  He looked kind of weary and discouraged-like, and says:

  "It ain't no use to try to learn you nothing, Huck. Run along and
smouch the knives- three of them." So I done it.


  As soon as we reckoned everybody was asleep, that night, we went
down the lightning-rod, and shut ourselves up in the lean-to, and
got out our pile of fox-fire, and went to work. We cleared
everything out of the way, about four or five foot along the middle of
the bottom log. Tom said he was right behind Jim's bed now, and we'd
dig it under it, and when we got through there couldn't nobody in
the cabin ever know there was any hole there, because Jim's counterpin
hung down most to the ground, and you'd have to raise it up and look
under to see the hole. So we dug and dug, with the caseknives, till
most midnight; and then we was dog tired, and our hands was blistered,
and yet you couldn't see we'd done anything, hardly. At last I says:

  "This ain't no thirty-seven year job, this is a thirty-eight year
job, Tom Sawyer."

  He never said nothing. But he sighed, and pretty soon he stopped
digging, and then for a good little while I knowed he was thinking.
Then he says:

  "It ain't no use, Huck, it ain't agoing to work. If we was prisoners
it would, because then we'd have as many years as we wanted, and no
hurry; and we wouldn't get but a few minutes to dig, every day,
while they was changing watches, and so our hands wouldn't get
blistered, and we could keep it up right along, year in and year
out, and do it right, and the way it ought to be done. But we can't
fool along, we got to rush; we ain't got no time to spare. If we was
to put in another night this way, we'd have to knock off for a week to
let our hands get well- couldn't touch a case-knife with them sooner."

  "Well, then, what we going to do, Tom?"

  "I'll tell you. It ain't right, and it ain't moral, and I wouldn't
like it to get out- but there ain't only just the one way; we got to
dig him out with the picks, and let on it's case-knives."

  "Now you're talking!" I says; "your head gets leveler and leveler
all the time, Tom Sawyer," I says. "Picks is the thing, moral or no
moral; and as for me, I don't care shucks for the morality of it,
nohow. When I start in to steal a nigger, or a watermelon, or a
Sunday-school book, I ain't no ways particular how it's done so it's
done. What I want is my nigger; or what I want is my watermelon; or
what I want is my Sunday-school book; and if a pick's the handiest
thing, that's the thing I'm agoing to dig that nigger or that
watermelon or that Sunday-school book out with; and I don't give a
dead rat what the authorities think about it nuther."

  "Well," he says, "there's excuse for picks and letting-on in a
case like this; if it warn't so, I wouldn't approve of it, nor I
wouldn't stand by and see the rules broke- because right is right, and
wrong is wrong, and a body ain't got no business doing wrong when he
ain't ignorant and knows better. It might answer for you to dig Jim
out with a pick, without any letting-on, because you don't know no
better; but it wouldn't for me, because I do know better. Gimme a

  He had his own by him, but I handed him mine. He flung it down,
and says:

  "Gimme a case-knife."

  I didn't know just what to do- but then I thought. I scratched
around amongst the old tools, and got a pick-ax and give it to him,
and he took it and went to work, and never said a word.

  He was always just that particular. Full of principle.

  So then I got a shovel, and then we picked and shoveled, turn about,
and made the fur fly. We stuck to it about a half an hour, which was
as long as we could stand up; but we had a good deal of a hole to show
for it. When I got up stairs, I looked out at the window and see Tom
doing his level best with the lightning-rod, but he couldn't come
it, his hands was so sore. At last he says:

  "It ain't no use, it can't be done. What you reckon I better do?
Can't you think up no way?"

  "Yes," I says, "but I reckon it ain't regular. Come up the stairs,
and let on it's a lightning-rod."

  So he done it.

  Next day Tom stole a pewter spoon and a brass candlestick in the
house, for to make some pens for Jim out of, and six tallow candles;
and I hung around the nigger cabins, and laid for a chance, and
stole three tin plates. Tom said it wasn't enough; but I said nobody
wouldn't ever see the plates that Jim throwed out, because they'd fall
in the dog-fennel and jimpson weeds under the window-hole- then we
could tote them back and he could use them over again. So Tom was
satisfied. Then he says:

  "Now, the thing to study out is, how to get the things to Jim."

  "Take them in through the hole," I says, "when we get it done."

  He only just looked scornful, and said something about nobody ever
heard of such an idiotic idea, and then he went to studying. By-and-by
he said he had ciphered out two or three ways, but there warn't no
need to decide on any of them yet. Said we'd got to post Jim first.

  That night we went down the lightning-rod a little after ten, and
took one of the candles along, and listened under the window-hole, and
heard Jim snoring; so we pitched it in, and it didn't wake him. Then
we whirled in with the pick and shovel, and in about two hours and a
half the job was done. We crept in under Jim's bed and into the cabin,
and pawed around and found the candle and lit it, and stood over Jim a
while, and found him looking hearty and healthy, and then we woke
him up gentle and gradual. He was so glad to see us he most cried; and
called us honey, and all the pet names he could think of; and was
for having us hunt up a cold chisel to cut the chain off of his leg
with, right away, and clearing out without losing any time. But Tom he
showed him how unregular it would be, and set down and told him all
about our plans, and how we could alter them in a minute any time
there was an alarm; and not be the least afraid, because we would
see he got away, sure. So Jim he said it was all right, and we set
there and talked over old times a while, and then Tom asked a lot of
questions, and when Jim told him Uncle Silas come in every day or
two to pray with him, and Aunt Sally come in to see if he was
comfortable and had plenty to eat, and both of them was kind as they
could be, Tom says:

  "Now I know how to fix it. We'll send you some things by them."

  I said, "Don't do nothing of the kind; it's one of the most
jackass ideas I ever struck;" but he never paid no attention to me;
went right on. It was his way when he'd got his plans set.

  So he told Jim how we'd have to smuggle in the rope-ladder pie,
and other large things, by Nat, the nigger that fed him, and he must
be on the lookout, and not be surprised, and not let Nat see him
open them; and we would put small things in uncle's coat pockets and
he must steal them out; and we would tie things to aunt's apron
strings or put them in her apron pocket, if we got a chance; and
told him what they would be and what they was for. And told him how to
keep a journal on the shirt with his blood, and all that. He told
him everything. Jim he couldn't see no sense in the most of it, but he
allowed we was white folks and knowed better than him; so he was
satisfied, and said he would do it all just as Tom said.

  Jim had plenty corn-cob pipes and tobacco; so we had a right down
good sociable time; then we crawled out through the hole, and so
home to bed, with hands that looked like they'd been chawed. Tom was
in high spirits. He said it was the best fun he ever had in his
life, and the most intellectural; and said if he only could see his
way to it we would keep it up all the rest of our lives and leave
Jim to our children to get out; for he believed Jim would come to like
it better and better the more he got used to it. He said that in
that way it could be strung out to as much as eighty year, and would
be the best time on record. And he said it would make us all
celebrated that had a hand in it.

  In the morning we went out to the wood-pile and chopped up the brass
candlestick into handy sizes, and Tom put them and the pewter spoon in
his pocket. Then we went to the nigger cabins, and while I got Nat's
notice off, Tom shoved a piece of candlestick into the middle of a
corn-pone that was in Jim's pan, and we went along with Nat to see how
it would work, and it just worked noble; when Jim bit into it most
mashed all his teeth out; and there warn't ever anything could a
worked better. Tom said so himself. Jim he never let on but what it
was only just a piece of rock or something like that that's always
getting into bread, you know; but after that he never bit into nothing
but what he jabbed his fork into it in three or four places, first.

  And whilst we was a standing there in the dimmish light, here
comes a couple of the hounds bulging in, from under Jim's bed; and
they kept on piling in till there was eleven of them, and there warn't
hardly room in there to get your breath. By jings, we forgot to fasten
that lean-to door. The nigger Nat he only just hollered "witches!"
once, and keeled over onto the floor amongst the dogs, and begun to
groan like he was dying. Tom jerked the door open and flung out a slab
of Jim's meat, and the dogs went for it, and in two seconds he was out
himself and back again and shut the door, and I knowed he'd fixed
the other door too. Then he went to work on the nigger, coaxing him
and petting him, and asking him if he'd been imagining he saw
something again. He raised up, and blinked his eyes around, and says:

  "Mars Sid, you'll say I's a fool, but if I didn't b'lieve I see most
a million dogs, er devils, er some'n, I wisht I may die right heah
in dese tracks. I did, mos' sholy. Mars Sid, I felt um- I felt um,
sah; dey was all over me. Dad fetch it, I jis' wisht I could git my
han's on one er dem witches jis' wunst- on'y jis' wunst- it's all
I'd ast. But mos'ly I wisht dey'd lemme 'lone, I does."

  Tom says:

  "Well, I tell you what I think. What makes them come here just at
this runaway nigger's breakfast-time? It's because they're hungry;
that's the reason. You make them a witch pie; that's the thing for you
to do."

  "But my lan', Mars Sid, how's I gwyne to make make 'm a witch pie? I
doan' know how to make it. I hain't ever hearn er sich a thing b'fo'."

  "Well, then, I'll have to make it myself"

  "Will you do it, honey?- will you? I'll wusshup de groun' und' yo'
foot, I will!"

  "All right, I'll do it, seeing it's you, and you've been good to
us and showed us the runaway nigger. But you got to be mighty careful.
When we come around, you turn your back; and then whatever we've put
in the pan, don't you let on you see it at all. And don't you look,
when Jim unloads the pan- something might happen, I don't know what.
And above all, don't you handle the witch-things."

  "Hannel 'm Mars Sid? What is you a talkin' 'bout? I wouldn' lay de
weight er my finger on um, not f'r ten hund'd thous'n' billion
dollars, I wouldn't."


  That was all fixed. So then we went away and went to the
rubbage-pile in the back yard where they keep the old boots, and rags,
and pieces of bottles, and wore-out tin things, and all such truck,
and scratched around and found an old tin washpan and stopped up the
holes as well as we could, to bake the pie in and took it down
cellar and stole it full of flour, and started for breakfast and found
a couple of shingle-nails that Tom said would be handy for a
prisoner to scrabble his name and sorrows on the dungeon walls with,
and dropped one of them in Aunt Sally's apron pocket which was hanging
on a chair, and t'other we stuck in the band of Uncle Silas's hat,
which was on the bureau, because we heard the children say their pa
and ma was going to the runaway nigger's house this morning, and
then went to breakfast, and Tom dropped the pewter spoon in Uncle
Silas's coat pocket, and Aunt Sally wasn't come yet, so we had to wait
a little while.

  And when she come she was hot, and red, and cross, and couldn't
hardly wait for the blessing; and then she went to sluicing out coffee
with one hand and cracking the handiest child's head with her
thimble with the other, and says:

  "I've hunted high, and I've hunted low, and it does beat all, what
has become of your other shirt."

  My heart fell down amongst my lungs and livers and things, and a
hard piece of corn-crust started down my throat after it and got met
on the road with a cough and was shot across the table and took one of
the children in the eye and curled him up like a fishing-worm, and let
a cry out of him the size of a war-whoop, and Tom he turned kinder
blue around the gills, and it all amounted to a considerable state
of things for about a quarter of a minute or as much as that, and I
would a sold out for half price if there was a bidder. But after
that we was all right again- it was the sudden surprise of it that
knocked us so kind of cold. Uncle Silas he says:

  "It's most uncommon curious, I can't understand it. I know perfectly
well I took it off, because-"

  "Because you hain't got but one on. Just listen at the man! I know
you took it off, and know it by a better way than your
wool-gethering memory, too, because it was on the clo'esline
yesterday- I see it there myself. But it's gone- that's the long and
the short of it, and you'll just have to change to a red flann'l one
till I can get time to make a new one. And it'll be the third I've
made in two years; it just keeps a body on the jump to keep you in
shirts; and whatever you do manage to do with 'm all, is more'n I
can make out. A body'd think you would learn to take some sort of care
of 'em, at your time of life."

  "I know it, Sally, and I do try all I can. But it oughtn't to be
altogether my fault, because you know I don't see them nor have
nothing to do with them except when they're on me; and I don't believe
I've ever lost one of them off of me."

  "Well, it ain't your fault if you haven't, Silas- you'd a done it if
you could, I reckon. And the shirt ain't all that's gone, nuther.
Ther's a spoon gone; and that ain't all. There was ten, and now
there's only nine. The calf got the shirt I reckon, but the calf never
took the spoon, that's certain."

  "Why, what else is gone, Sally?"

  "Ther's six candles gone- that's what. The rats could a got the
candles, and I reckon they did; I wonder they don't walk off with
the whole place, the way you're always going to stop their holes and
don't do it; and if they warn't fools they'd sleep in your hair,
Silas- you'd never find it out; but you can't lay the spoon on the
rats, and that I know."

  "Well, Sally, I'm in fault, and I acknowledge it; I've been
remiss; but I won't let to-morrow go by without stopping up them

  "Oh, I wouldn't hurry, next year'll do. Matilda Angelina Araminta

  Whack comes the thimble, and the child snatches her claws out of the
sugar-bowl without fooling around any. Just then, the nigger woman
steps onto the passage, and says:

  "Missus, dey's a sheet gone."

  "A sheet gone! Well, for the land's sake!"

  "I'll stop up them holes to-day," says Uncle Silas, looking

  "Oh, do shet up!- spose the rats took the sheet? Where's it gone,

  "Clah to goodness I hain't no notion, Miss Sally. She wuz on de
clo's-line yistiddy, but she done gone; she ain' dah no mo', now."

  "I reckon the world is coming to an end. I never see the beat of it,
in all my born days. A shirt, and a sheet, and a spoon, and six can-"

  "Missus," comes a young yaller wench, "dey's a brass cannelstick

  "Cler out from here, you hussy, er I'll take a skillet to ye!"

  Well, she was just a biling. I begun to lay for a chance; I reckoned
I would sneak out and go for the woods till the weather moderated. She
kept a raging right along, running her insurrection all by herself,
and everybody else mighty meek and quiet; and at last Uncle Silas,
looking kind of foolish, fishes up that spoon out of his pocket. She
stopped, with her mouth open and her hands up; and as for me, I wished
I was in Jeruslem or somewheres. But not long; because she says:

  "It's just as I expected. So you had it in your pocket all the time;
and like as not you've got the other things there, too. How'd it get

  "I reely don't know, Sally," he says, kind of apologizing, "or you
know I would tell. I was a-studying over my text in Acts Seventeen,
before breakfast, and I reckon I put it in there, not noticing,
meaning to put my Testament in, and it must be so, because my
Testament ain't in, but I'll go and see, and if that Testament is
where I had it, I'll know I didn't put it in, and that will show
that I laid the Testament down and took up the spoon, and-"

  "Oh, for the land's sake! Give a body a rest! Go 'long now, the
whole kit and biling of ye; and don't come nigh me again till I've got
back my peace of mind."

  I'd a heard her, if she'd a said it to herself, let alone speaking
it out; and I'd a got up and obeyed her, if I'd a been dead. As we was
passing through the setting-room, the old man he took up his hat,
and the shingle-nail fell out on the floor, and he just merely
picked it up and laid it on the mantel-shelf, and never said
nothing, and went out. Tom see him do it, and remembered about the
spoon, and says:

  "Well, it ain't no use to send things by him no more, he ain't
reliable." Then he says: "But he done us a good turn with the spoon,
anyway, without knowing it, and so we'll go and do him one without him
knowing it- stop up his rat-holes."

  There was a noble good lot of them, down cellar, and it took us a
whole hour, but we done the job tight and good, and ship-shape. Then
we heard steps on the stairs, and blowed out our light, and hid; and
here comes the old man, with a candle in one hand and a bundle of
stuff in t'other, looking as absent-minded as year before last. He
went a mooning around, first to one rat-hole and then another, till
he'd been to them all. Then he stood about five minutes, picking
tallow-drip off of his candle and thinking. Then he turns off slow and
dreamy towards the stairs, saying:

  "Well, for the life of me I can't remember when I done it. I could
show her now that I warn't to blame on account of the rats. But
never mind- let it go. I reckon it wouldn't do no good."

  And so he went on a mumbling up stairs, and then we left. He was a
mighty nice old man. And always is.

  Tom was a good deal bothered about what to do for a spoon, but he
said we'd got to have it; so he took a think. When he ciphered it out,
he told me how we was to do; then we went and waited around the
spoon-basket till we see Aunt Sally coming, and then Tom went to
counting the spoons and laying them out to one side, and I slid one of
them up my sleeve, and Tom says:

  "Why, Aunt Sally, there ain't but nine spoons, yet."

  She says:

  "Go 'long to your play, and don't bother me. I know better, I
counted 'm myself."

  "Well, I've counted them twice, Aunty, and I can't make but nine."

  She looked out of all patience, but of course she come to count-
anybody would.

  "I declare to gracious ther' ain't but nine!" she says. "Why, what
in the world- plague take the things, I'll count 'm again."

  So I slipped back the one I had, and when she got done counting, she

  "Hang the troublesome rubbage, ther's ten, now!" and she looked
hurry and bothered both. But Tom says:

  "Why, Aunty, I don't think there's ten."

  "You numskull, didn't you see me count 'm?"

  "I know, but-"

  "Well, I'll count 'm again."

  So I smouched one, and they come out nine same as the other time.
Well, she was in a tearing way- just trembling all over, she was so
mad. But she counted and counted, till she got that addled she'd start
to count-in the basket for a spoon, sometimes; and so, three times
they come out right and three times they come out wrong. Then she
grabbed up the basket and slammed it across the house and knocked
the cat galley-west; and she said cle'r out and let her have some
peace, and if we come bothering around her again betwixt that and
dinner, she'd skin us. So we had the odd spoon; and dropped it in
her apron pocket whilst she was a giving us our sailing-orders, and
Jim got it all right, along with her shingle-nail, before noon. We was
very well satisfied with this business, and Tom allowed it was worth
twice the trouble it took, because he said now she couldn't ever count
them spoons twice alike again to save her life; and wouldn't believe
she'd counted them right, if she did; and said that after she'd
about counted her head off, for the next three days, he judged she'd
give it up and offer to kill anybody that wanted her to ever count
them any more.

  So we put the sheet back on the line, that night, and stole one
out of her closet; and kept on putting it back and stealing it
again, for a couple of days till she didn't know how many sheets she
had, any more, and said she didn't care, and warn't agoing to bullyrag
the rest of her soul out about it, and wouldn't count them again not
to save her life, she druther die first.

  So we was all right now, as to the shirt and the sheet and the spoon
and the candles, by the help of the calf and the rats and the mixed-up
counting; and as to the candlestick, it warn't no consequence, it
would blow over by-and-by.

  But that pie was a job; we had no end of trouble with that pie. We
fixed it up away down in the woods, and cooked it there; and we got it
done at last, and very satisfactory, too; but not all in one day;
and we had to use up three washpans full of flour, before we got
through, and we got burnt pretty much all over, in places, and eyes
put out with the smoke; because, you see, we didn't want nothing but a
crust, and we couldn't prop it up right, and she would always cave in.
But of course we thought of the right way at last; which was to cook
the ladder, too, in the pie. So then we laid in with Jim, the second
night, and tore up the sheet all in little strings, and twisted them
together, and long before daylight we had a lovely rope, that you
could a hung a person with. We let on it took nine months to make it.

  And in the forenoon we took it down to the woods, but it wouldn't go
in the pie. Being made of a whole sheet, that way, there was rope
enough for forty pies, if we'd a wanted them, and plenty left over for
soup, or sausage, or anything you choose. We could a had a whole

  But we didn't need it. All we needed was just enough for the pie,
and so we throwed the rest away. We didn't cook none of the pies in
the washpan, afraid the solder would melt; but Uncle Silas he had a
noble brass warming-pan which he thought considerable of, because it
belonged to one of his ancesters with a long wooden handle that come
over from England with William the Conqueror in the Mayflower or one
of them early ships and was hid away up garret with a lot of other old
pots and things that was valuable, not on account of being any account
because they warn't, but on account of them being relicts, you know,
and we snaked her out, private, and took her down there, but she
failed on the first pies, because we didn't know how, but she come
up smiling on the last one. We took and lined her with dough, and
set her in the coals, and loaded her up with rag-rope, and put on a
dough roof, and shut down the lid, and put hot embers on top, and
stood off five foot, with the long handle, cool and comfortable, and
in fifteen minutes she turned out a pie that was a satisfaction to
look at. But the person that et it would want to fetch a couple of
kags of toothpicks along, for if the rope-ladder wouldn't cramp him
down to business, I don't know nothing what I'm talking about, and lay
him enough stomach-ache to last him till next time, too.

  Nat didn't look, when we put the witch-pie in Jim's pan; and we
put the three tin plates in the bottom of the pan under the vittles;
and so Jim got everything all right, and so soon as he was by
himself he busted into the pie and hid the rope-ladder inside of his
straw tick, and scratched some marks on a tin plate and throwed it out
of the window-hole.


  Making them pens was a distressid-tough job, and so was the saw; and
Jim allowed the inscription was going to be the toughest of all.
That's the one which the prisoner has to scrabble on the wall. But
we had to have it; Tom said we'd got to; there warn't no case of a
state priosner not scrabbling his inscription to leave behind, and his
coat of arms.

  "Look at Lady Jane Grey," he says; "look at Gilford Dudley; look
at old Northumberland! Why, Huck, spose it is considerable trouble?-
what you going to do?- how you going to get around it? Jim's got to do
his inscription and coat of arms. They all do."

  Jim says:

  "Why, Mars Tom, I hain't got no coat o' arms; I hain't got nuffn but
dish-yer ole shirt, en you knows I got to keep de journal on dat."

  "Oh, you don't understand, Jim; a coat of arms is very different."

  "Well," I says, "Jim's right, anyway, when he says he hain't got
no coat of arms, because he hain't."

  "I reckon I knowed that," Tom says, "but you bet he'll have one
before he goes out of this- because he's going out right, and there
ain't going to be no flaws in his record."

  So whilst me and Jim filed away at the pens on a brickbat apiece,
Jim a making his'n out of the brass and I making mine out of the
spoon, Tom set to work to think out the coat of arms. By-and-by he
said he'd struck so many good ones he didn't hardly know which to
take, but there was one which he reckoned he'd decide on. He says:

  "On the scutcheon we'll have a bend or in the dexter base, a saltire
murrey in the fess, with a dog, couchant, for common charge, and under
his foot a chain embattled, for slavery, with a chevron vert in a
chief engrailed, and three invected lines on a field azure, with the
nombril points rampant on a dancette indented; crest, a runaway
nigger, sable, with his bundle over his shoulder on a bar sinister:
and a couple of gules for supporters, which is you and me; motto,
Maggiore fretta, minore atto. Got it out of a book-means, the more
haste, the less speed."

  "Geewhillikins," I says, "but what does the rest of it mean?"

  "We ain't got no time to bother over that," he says, "we got to
dig in like all git-out."

  "Well, anyway," I says, "what's some of it? What's a fess?"

  "A fess- a fess is- you don't need to know what a fess is. I'll show
him how to make it when he gets to it."

  "Shucks, Tom," I says, "I think you might tell a person. What's a
bar sinister?"

  "Oh, I don't know. But he's got to have it. All the nobility does."

  That was just his way. If it didn't suit him to explain a thing to
you, he wouldn't do it. You might pump at him a week, it wouldn't make
no difference.

  He'd got all that coat of arms business fixed, so now he started
in to finish up the rest of that part of the work, which was to plan
out a mournful inscription- said Jim got to have one, like they all
done. He made up a lot, and wrote them out on a paper, and read them
off, so:

  1. Here a captive heart busted.

  2. Here a poor prisoner, forsook by the world and friends, fretted
out his sorrowful life.

  3. Here a lonely heart broke, and a worn spirit went to its rest,
after thirty-seven years of solitary captivity.

  4. Here, homeless and friendless, after thirty-seven years of bitter
captivity, perished a noble stranger, natural son of Louis XIV.

  Tom's voice trembled, whilst he was reading them, and he most
broke down. When he got done, he couldn't no way make up his mind
which one for Jim to scrabble onto the wall, they was all so good; but
at last he allowed he would let him scrabble them all on. Jim said
it would take him a year to scrabble such a lot of truck onto the logs
with a nail, and he didn't know how to make letters, besides; but
Tom said he would block them out for him, and then he wouldn't have
nothing to do but just follow the lines. Then pretty soon he says:

  "Come to think, the logs ain't agoing to do; they don't have log
walls in a dungeon: we got to dig the inscriptions into a rock.
We'll fetch a rock."

  Jim said the rock was worse than the logs; he said it would take him
such a pison long time to dig them into a rock, he wouldn't ever get
out. But Tom said he would let me help him do it. Then he took a
look to see how me and Jim was getting along with the pens. It was
most pesky tedious hard work and slow, and didn't give my hands no
show to get well of the sores, and we didn't seem to make no
headway, hardly. So Tom says:

  "I know how to fix it. We got to have a rock for the coat of arms
and mournful inscriptions, and we can kill two birds with that same
rock. There's a gaudy big grindstone down at the mill, and we'll
smouch it, and carve the things on it, and file out the pens and the
saw on it, too."

  It warn't no slouch of an idea; and it warn't no slouch of a
grindstone nuther; but we allowed we'd tackle it. It warn't quite
midnight, yet, so we cleared out for the mill, leaving Jim at work. We
smouched the grindstone, and set out to roll her home, but it was a
most nation tough job. Sometimes, do what we could, we couldn't keep
her from falling over, and she come mighty near mashing us, every
time. Tom said she was going to get one of us, sure, before we got
through. We got her half way; and then we was plumb played out, and
most drownded with sweat. We see it warn't no use, we got to go and
fetch Jim. So he raised up his bed and slid the chain off of the
bed-leg, and wrapt it round and round his neck, and we crawled out
through our hole and down there, and Jim and me laid into the
grindstone and walked her along like nothing; and Tom superintended.
He could out-superintend any boy I ever see. He knowed how to do

  Our hole was pretty big, but it warn't big enough to get the
grindstone through; but Jim he took the pick and soon make it big
enough. Then Tom marked out them things on it with the nail, and set
Jim to work on them, with the nail for a chisel and an iron bolt
from the rubbage in the lean-to for a hammer, and told him to work
till the rest of his candle quit on him, and then he could go to
bed, and hide the grindstone under his straw tick and sleep on it.
Then we helped him fix his chain back on the bed-leg, and was ready
for bed ourselves. But Tom thought of something, and says:

  "You got any spiders in here, Jim?"

  "No, sah, thanks to goodness I hain't, Mars Tom."

  "All right, we'll get you some."

  "But bless you, honey, I doan' want none. I's afeard un um. I jis'
's soon have rattlesnakes aroun'."

  Tom thought a minute or two, and says:

  "It's a good idea. And I reckon it's been done. It must a been done;
it stands to reason. Yes, it's a prime good idea. Where could you keep

  "Keep what, Mars Tom?"

  "Why, a rattlesnake."

  "De goodness gracious alive, Mars Tom! Why, if dey was a rattlesnake
to come in heah, I'd take en bust right out thoo dat log wall, I
would, wid my head."

  "Why, Jim, you wouldn't be afraid of it, after a little. You could
tame it."

  "Tame it!"

  "Yes- easy enough. Every animal is grateful for kindness and
petting, and they wouldn't think of hurting a person that pets them.
Any book will tell you that. You try- that's all I ask; just try for
two or three days. Why, you can get him so, in a little while, that
he'll love you; and sleep with you; and won't stay away from you a
minute; and will let you wrap him round your neck and put his head
in your mouth."

  "Please, Mars Tom- doan' talk so! I can't stan' it! He'd let me
shove his head in my mouf- fer a favor, hain't it? I lay he'd wait a
pow'ful long time 'fo' I ast him. En mo' en dat, I doan' want him to
sleep wid me."

  "Jim, don't act so foolish. A prisoner's got to have some kind of
a dumb pet, and if a rattlesnake hain't ever been tried, why,
there's more glory to be gained in your being the first to ever try it
than any other way you could ever think of to save your life."

  "Why, Mars Tom, I doan' want no sich glory. Snake take 'n bite Jim's
chin off, den whah is de glory? No, sah, I doan' want no sich doin's."

  "Blame it, can't you try? I only want you to try- you needn't keep
it up if it don't work."

  "But de trouble all done, ef de snake bite me while I's a tryin'
him. Mars Tom, I's willin' to tackle mos'anything' at ain't
onreasonable, but ef you en Huck fetches a rattlesnake in heah for
me to tame, I's gwyne to leave, dat's shore."

  "Well, then, let it go, let it go, if you're so bullheaded about it.
We can get you some garter-snakes and you can tie some buttons on
their tails, and let on they're rattlesnakes, and I reckon that'll
have to do."

  "I k'n stan' dem, Mars Tom, but blame' 'f I couldn' get along widout
um, I tell you dat. I never knowed b'fo', 't was so much bother and
trouble to be a prisoner."

  "Well, it always is, when it's done right. You got any rats around

  "No, sah, I hain't seed none."

  "Well, we'll get you some rats."

  "Why, Mars Tom, I doan' want no rats. Dey's de dadblamedest
creturs to sturb a body, en rustle roun' over 'im, en bite his feet,
when he's trying to sleep, I ever see. No, sah, gimme g'yarter-snakes,
'f I's got to have 'm, but doan' gimme no rats, I ain' got no use
f'r um, skasely."

  "But Jim, you got to have 'em- they all do. So don't make no more
fuss about it. Prisoners ain't ever without rats. There ain't no
instance of it. And they train them, and pet them, and learn them
tricks, and they get to be as sociable as flies. But you got to play
music to them. You got anything to play music on?"

  "I ain' got nuffn but a coase comb en a piece o' paper, en a
juice-harp; but I reck'n dey wouldn' take no stock in a juice-harp."

  "Yes they would. They don't care what kind of music 'tis. A
jews-harp's plenty good enough for a rat. All animals likes music-
in a prison they dote on it. Specially, painful music; and you can't
get no other kind out of a jews-harp. It always interests them; they
come out to see what's the matter with you. Yes, you're all right;
you're fixed very well. You want to set on your bed, nights, before
you go to sleep, and early in the mornings, and play your jews-harp;
play The Last Link is Broken- that's the thing that'll scoop a rat,
quicker'n anything else: and when you've played about two minutes,
you'll see all the rats, and the snakes, and spiders, and things begin
to feel worried about you, and come. And they'll just fairly swarm
over you, and have a noble good time."

  "Yes, dey will, I reck'n, Mars Tom, but what kine er time is Jim
havin'? Blest if I kin see de pint. But I'll do it ef I got to. I
reck'n I better keep de animals satisfied, en not have no trouble in
de house."

  Tom waited to think over, and see if there wasn't nothing else;
and pretty soon he says:

  "Oh- there's one thing I forgot. Could you raise a flower here, do
you reckon?"

  "I doan' know but maybe I could, Mars Tom; but it's tolerable dark
in heah, en I ain' got no use f'r no flower, nohow, en she'd be a
pow'ful sight o' trouble."

  "Well, you try it anyway. Some other prisoners has done it."

  "One er dem big cat-tail-lookin' mullen-stalks would grow in heah,
Mars Tom, I reck'n, but she wouldn' be wuth half de trouble she'd

  "Don't you believe it. We'll fetch you a little one, and you plant
it in the corner, over there, and raise it. And don't call it
mullen, call it Pitchiola- that's its right name, when it's in a
prison. And you want to water it with your tears."

  "Why, I got plenty spring water, Mars Tom."

  "You don't want spring water; you want to water it with your
tears. It's the way they always do."

  "Why, Mars Tom, I lay I kin raise one er dem mullen-stalks twyste
wid spring water whiles another man's a start'n one wid tears."

  "That ain't the idea. You got to do it with tears."

  "She'll die on my han's, Mars Tom, she sholy will; kase I doan'
skasely ever cry."

  So Tom was stumped. But he studied it over, and then said Jim
would have to worry along the best he could with an onion. He promised
he would go to the nigger cabins and drop one, private, in Jim's
coffee-pot, in the morning. Jim said he would "jis' 's soon have
tobacker in his coffee;" and found so much fault with it, and with the
work and bother of raising the mullen, and jews-harping the rats,
and petting and flattering up the snakes and spiders and things, on
top of all the other work he had to do on pens, and inscriptions,
and journals, and things, which made it more trouble and worry and
responsibility to be a prisoner than anything he ever undertook,
that Tom most lost all patience with him; and said he was just
loadened down with more gaudier chances than a prisoner ever had in
the world to make a name for himself, and yet he didn't know enough to
appreciate them, and they was just about wasted on him. So Jim he
was sorry, and said he wouldn't behave so no more, and then me and Tom
shoved for bed.


  In the morning we went up to the village and bought a wire rat
trap and fetched it down, and unstopped the best rat hole, and in
about an hour we had fifteen of the bulliest kind of ones; and then we
took it and put it in a safe place under Aunt Sally's bed. But while
we was gone for spiders, little Thomas Franklin Benjamin Jefferson
Elexander Phelps found it there, and opened the door of it to see if
the rats would come out, and they did; and Aunt Sally she come in, and
when we got back she was a standing on top of the bed raising Cain,
and the rats was doing what they could to keep off the dull times
for her. So she took and dusted us both with the hickry, and we was as
much as two hours catching another fifteen or sixteen, drat that
meddlesome cub, and they warn't the likeliest, nuther, because the
first haul was the pick of the flock. I never see a likelier lot of
rats than what that first haul was.

  We got a splendid stock of sorted spiders, and bugs, and frogs,
and caterpillars, and one thing or another; and we liketo got a
hornet's nest, but we didn't. The family was at home. We didn't give
it right up, but staid with them as long as we could; because we
allowed we'd tire them out or they'd got to tire us out, and they done
it. Then we got allycumpain and rubbed on the places, and was pretty
near all right again, but couldn't set down convenient. And so we went
for the snakes, and grabbed a couple of dozen garters and housesnakes,
and put them in a bag, and put it in our room, and by that time it was
supper time, and a rattling good honest day's work; and hungry?- oh,
no, I reckon not! And there warn't a blessed snake up there, when we
went back- we didn't half tie the sack, and they worked out,
somehow, and left. But it didn't matter much, because they was still
on the premises somewheres. So we judged we could get some of them
again. No, there warn't no real scarcity of snakes about the house for
a considerable spell. You'd see them dripping from the rafters and
places, every now and then; and they generly landed in your plate,
or down the back of your neck, and most of the time where you didn't
want them. Well, they was handsome, and striped, and there warn't no
harm in a million of them; but that never made no difference to Aunt
Sally, she despised snakes, be the breed what they might, and she
couldn't stand them no way you could fix it; and every time one of
them flopped down on her, it didn't make no difference what she was
doing, she would just lay that work down and light out. I never see
such a woman. And you could hear her whoop to Jericho. You couldn't
get her to take aholt of one of them with the tongs. And if she turned
over and found one in bed, she would scramble out and lift a howl that
you would think the house was afire. She disturbed the old man so,
that he said he could most wish there hadn't ever been no snakes
created. Why, after every last snake had been gone clear out of the
house for as much as a week, Aunt Sally warn't over it yet; she warn't
near over it; when she was setting thinking about something, you could
touch her on the back of her neck with a feather and she would jump
right out of her stockings. It was very curious. But Tom said all
women was just so. He said they was made that way; for some reason
or other.

  We got a licking every time one of our snakes come in her way; and
she allowed these lickings warn't nothing to what she would do if we
ever loaded up the place again with them. I didn't mind the
lickings, because they didn't amount to nothing; but I minded the
trouble we had, to lay in another lot. But we got them laid in, and
all the other things; and you never see a cabin as blithesome as Jim's
was when they'd all swarm out for music and go for him. Jim didn't
like the spiders, and the spiders didn't like Jim; and so they'd lay
for him and make it mighty warm for him. And he said that between
the rats, and the snakes, and the grindstone, there warn't no room
in bed for him, skasely; and when there was, a body couldn't sleep, it
was so lively, and it was always lively, he said, because they never
all slept at one time, but took turn about, so when the snakes was
asleep the rats was on deck, and when the rats turned in the snakes
come on watch, so he always had one gang under him, in his way, and
t'other gang having a circus over him, and if he got up to hunt a
new place, the spiders would take a chance at him as he crossed
over. He said if he ever got out, this time, he wouldn't ever be a
prisoner again, not for a salary.

  Well, by the end of three weeks, everything was in pretty good
shape. The shirt was sent in early, in a pie, and every time a rat bit
Jim he would get up and write a little in his journal whilst the ink
was fresh; the pens was made, the inscriptions and so on was all
carved on the grindstone; the bed-leg was sawed in two, and we had
et up the sawdust, and it give us a most amazing stomach-ache. We
reckoned we was all going to die, but didn't. It was the most
undigestible sawdust I ever see; and Tom said the same. But as I was
saying, we'd got all the work done, now, at last; and we was all
pretty much fagged out, too, but mainly Jim. The old man had wrote a
couple of times to the plantation below Orleans to come and get
their runaway nigger, but hadn't got no answer, because there warn't
no such plantation; so he allowed he would advertise Jim in the St.
Louis and New Orleans papers; and when he mentioned the St. Louis
ones, it give me the cold shivers, and I see we hadn't no time to
lose. So Tom said, now for the nonnamous letters.

  "What's them?" I says.

  "Warnings to the people that something is up. Sometimes it's done
one way, sometimes another. But there's always somebody spying around,
that gives notice to the governor of the castle. When Louis XVI was
going to light out of the Tooleries, a servant girl done it. It's a
very good way, and so is the nonnamous letters. We'll use them both.
And it's usual for the prisoner's mother to change clothes with him,
and she stays in, and he slides out in her clothes. We'll do that

  "But looky here, Tom, what do we want to warn anybody for, that
something's up? Let them find it out for themselves- it's their

  "Yes, I know; but you can't depend on them. It's the way they've
acted from the very start- left us to do everything. They're so
confiding and mullet-headed they don't take notice of nothing at
all. So if we don't give them notice, there won't be nobody nor
nothing to interfere with us, and so after all our hard work and
trouble this escape'll go off perfectly flat: won't amount to nothing-
won't be nothing to it."

  "Well, as for me, Tom, that's the way I'd like."

  "Shucks," he says, and looked disgusted. So I says:

  "But I ain't going to make no complaint. Any way that suits you
suits me. What you going to do about the servant-girl?"

  "You'll be her. You slide in, in the middle of the night, and hook
that yaller girl's frock."

  "Why, Tom, that'll make trouble next morning; because of course
she prob'bly hain't got any but that one."

  "I know; but you don't want it but fifteen minutes, to carry the
nonnamous letter and shove it under the front door."

  "All right, then, I'll do it; but I could carry it just as handy
in my own togs."

  "You wouldn't look like a servant-girl then, would you?"

  "No, but there won't be nobody to see what I look like, anyway."

  "That ain't got nothing to do with it. The thing for us to do, is
just to do our duty, and not worry about whether anybody sees us do it
or not. Hain't you got no principle at all?"

  "All right, I ain't saying nothing; I'm the servant-girl.

  Who's Jim's mother?"

  "I'm his mother. I'll hook a gown from Aunt Sally."

  "Well, then, you'll have to stay in the cabin when me and Jim

  "Not much. I'll stuff Jim's clothes full of straw and lay it on
his bed to represent his mother in disguise, and Jim'll take Aunt
Sally's gown off of me and wear it, and we'll all evade together. When
a prisoner of style escapes, it's called an evasion. It's always
called so when a king escapes, frinstance. And the same with a
king's son; it don't make no difference whether he's a natural one
or an unnatural one."

  So Tom he wrote the nonnamous letter, and I smouched the yaller
wench's frock, that night, and put it on, and shoved it under the
front door, the way Tom told me to. It said:

    Beware, Trouble is brewing. Keep a sharp lookout.

                                      UNKNOWN FRIEND

  Next night, we stuck a picture which Tom drawed in blood, of a skull
and crossbones, on the front door; and next night another one of a
coffin, on the back door. I never see a family in such a sweat. They
couldn't a been worse scared if the place had a been full of ghosts
laying for them behind everything and under the beds and shivering
through the air. If a door banged, Aunt Sally she jumped, and said
"ouch!" if anything fell, she jumped and said "ouch!" if you
happened to touch her, when she warn't noticing, she done the same;
she couldn't face noway and be satisfied, because she allowed there
was something behind her every time-so she was always a whirling
around, sudden, and saying "ouch," and before she'd get two-thirds
around, she'd whirl back again, and say it again; and she was afraid
to go to bed, but she dasn't set up. So the thing was working very
well, Tom said; he said he never see a thing work more satisfactory.
He said it showed it was done right.

  So he said, now for the grand bulge! So the very next morning at the
streak of dawn we got another letter ready, and was wondering what
we better do with it, because we heard them say at supper they was
going to have a nigger on watch at both doors all night. Tom he went
down the lightning-rod to spy around; and the nigger at the back
door was asleep, and he stuck it in the back of his neck and come
back. This letter said:

  Don't betray me, I wish to be your friend. There is a desprate
gang of cutthroats from over in the Ingean Territory going to steal
your runaway nigger to-night, and they have been trying to scare you
so as you will stay in the house and not bother them. I am one of
the gang, but have got religgion and wish to quit it and lead a honest
life again, and will betray the helish design. They will sneak down
from northards, along the fence, at midnight exact, with a false
key, and go in the nigger's cabin to get him. I am to be off a piece
and blow a tin horn if I see any danger; but stead of that, I will
BA like a sheep soon as they get in and not blow at all; then whilst
they are getting his chains loose, you slip there and lock them in,
and can kill them at your leasure. Don't do anything but just the
way I am telling you, if you do they will suspicion something and
raise whoopjamboreehoo. I do not wish any reward but to know I have
done the right thing.

                                  UNKNOWN FRIEND


  We was feeling pretty good, after breakfast, and took my canoe and
went over the river a fishing, with a lunch, and had a good time,
and took a look at the raft and found her all right, and got home late
to supper, and found them in such a sweat and worry they didn't know
which end they was standing on, and made us go right off to bed the
minute we was done supper, and wouldn't tell us what the trouble
was, and never let on a word about the new letter, but didn't need to,
because we knowed as much about it as anybody did, and as soon as we
was half up stairs and her back was turned, we slid for the cellar
cubboard and loaded up a good lunch and took it up to our room and
went to bed, and got up about half-past eleven, and Tom put on Aunt
Sally's dress that he stole and was going to start with the lunch, but

  "Where's the butter?"

  "I laid out a hunk of it," I says, "on a piece of corn-pone."

  "Well, you left it laid out, then- it ain't here."

  "We can get along without it," I says.

  "We can get along with it, too," he says; "just you slide down
cellar and fetch it. And then mosey right down the lightning-rod and
come along. I'll go and stuff the straw into Jim's clothes to
represent his mother in disguise, and be ready to ba like a sheep
and shove soon as you get there."

  So out he went, and down cellar went I. The hunk of butter, big as a
person's fist, was where I had left it, so I took up the slab of
corn-pone with it on, and blowed out my light, and started up
stairs, very stealthy, and got up to the main floor all right, but
here comes Aunt Sally with a candle, and I clapped the truck in my
hat, and clapped my hat on my head, and the next second she see me;
and she says:

  "You been down cellar?"


  "What you been doing down there?"




  "Well, then, what possessed you to go down there, this time of

  "I don't know'm."

  "You don't know? Don't answer me that way, Tom, I want to know
what you been doing down there."

  "I hain't been doing a single thing, Aunt Sally, I hope to
gracious if I have."

  I reckoned she'd let me go, now, and as a generl thing she would;
but I spose there was so many strange things going on she was just
in a sweat about every little thing that warn't yard-stick straight;
so she says, very decided:

  "You just march into that setting-room and stay there till I come.
You been up to something you no business to, and I lay I'll find out
what it is before I'm done with you."

  So she went away as I opened the door and walked into the
setting-room. My, but there was a crowd there! Fifteen farmers, and
every one of them had a gun. I was most powerful sick, and slunk to
a chair and set down. They was setting around, some of them talking
a little, in a low voice, and all of them fidgety and uneasy, but
trying to look like they warn't; but I knowed they was, because they
was always taking off their hats, and putting them on, and
scratching their heads, and changing their seats, and fumbling with
their buttons. I warn't easy myself, but I didn't take my hat off, all
the same.

  I did wish Aunt Sally would come, and get done with me, and lick me,
if she wanted to, and let me get away and tell Tom how we'd overdone
this thing, and what a thundering hornet's nest we'd got ourselves
into, so we could stop fooling around, straight off, and clear out
with Jim before these rips got out of patience and come for us.

  At last she come, and begun to ask me questions, but I couldn't
answer them straight, I didn't know which end of me was up; because
these men was in such a fidget now, that some was wanting to start
right now and lay for them desperadoes, and saying it warn't but a few
minutes to midnight; and others was trying to get them to hold on
and wait for the sheep-signal; and here was aunty pegging away at
the questions, and me a shaking all over and ready to sink down in
my tracks I was that scared; and the place getting hotter and
hotter, and the butter beginning to melt and run down my neck and
behind my ears; and pretty soon, when one of them says, "I'm for going
and getting in the cabin first, and right now, and catching them
when they come," I most dropped; and a streak of butter come a
trickling down my forehead, and Aunt Sally she see it, and turns white
as a sheet, and says:

  "For the land's sake what is the matter with the child!- he's got
the brain fever as shore as you're born, and they're oozing out!"

  And everybody runs to see, and she snatches off my hat, and out
comes the bread, and what was left of the butter, and she grabbed
me, and hugged me, and says:

  "Oh, what a turn you give me! and how glad and grateful I am it
ain't no worse; for luck's against us, and it never rains but it
pours, and when I see that truck I thought we'd lost you, for I knowed
by the color and all, it was just like your brains would be if-
Dear, dear, whyd'nt you tell me that was what you'd been down there
for, I wouldn't a cared. Now cler out to bed, and don't lemme see no
more of you till morning!"

  I was up stairs in a second, and down the lightning-rod in another
one, and shinning through the dark for the lean-to. I couldn't
hardly get my words out, I was so anxious; but I told Tom as quick
as I could, we must jump for it, now, and not a minute to lose- the
house full of men, yonder, with guns!

  His eyes just blazed; and he says:

  "No!- is that so? Ain't it bully! Why, Huck, if it was to do over
again, I bet I could fetch two hundred! If we could put it off till-"

  "Hurry! hurry!" I says. "Where's Jim?"

  "Right at your elbow; if you reach out your arm you can touch him.
He's dressed, and everything's ready. Now we'll slide out and give the

  But then we heard the tramp of men, coming to the door, and heard
them begin to fumble with the padlock; and heard a man say:

  "I told you we'd be too soon; they haven't come- the door is locked.
Here, I'll lock some of you into the cabin and you lay for in the dark
and kill when they come; and the rest scatter around a piece, and
listen if you can hear 'em coming."

  So in they come, but couldn't see us in the dark, and most trod on
us whilst we was hustling to get under the bed. But we got under all
right, and out through the hole, swift but soft- Jim first, me next,
and Tom last, which was according to Tom's orders. Now we was in the
lean-to, and heard trampings close by outside. So we crept to the
door, and Tom stopped us there and put his eye to the crack, but
couldn't make out nothing, it was so dark; and whispered and said he
would listen for the steps to get further, and when he nudged us Jim
must glide out first, and him last. So he set his ear to the crack and
listened, and listened, and listened, and the steps a scraping around,
out there, all the time; and at last he nudged us, and we slid out,
and stooped down, not breathing, and not making the least noise, and
slipped stealthy towards the fence, in Injun file, and got to it,
all right, and me and Jim over it; but Tom's britches catched fast
on a splinter on the top rail, and then he heard the steps coming,
so he had to pull loose, which snapped the splinter and made a
noise; and as he dropped in our tracks and started, somebody sings

  "Who's that? Answer, or I'll shoot!"

  But we didn't answer; we just unfurled our heels and shoved. Then
there was a rush, and a bang, bang, bang! and the bullets fairly
whizzed around us! We heard them sing out:

  "Here they are! They've broke for the river! after 'em, boys! And
turn loose the dogs!"

  So here they come, full tilt. We could hear them, because they
wore boots, and yelled, but we didn't wear no boots, and didn't
yell. We was in the path to the mill; and when they got pretty close
onto us, we dodged into the bush and let them go by, and then
dropped in behind them. They'd had all the dogs shut up, so they
wouldn't scare off the robbers; but by this time somebody had let them
loose, and here they come, making pow-wow enough for a million; but
they was our dogs; so we stopped in our tracks till they catched up;
and when they see it warn't nobody but us, and no excitement to
offer them, they only just said howdy, and tore right ahead towards
the shouting and clattering; and then we up steam again and whizzed
along after them till we was nearly to the mill, and then struck up
through the bush to where my canoe was tied, and hopped in and
pulled for dear life towards the middle of the river, but didn't
make no more noise than we was obleeged to. Then we struck out, easy
and comfortable, for the island where my raft was; and we could hear
them yelling and barking at each other all up and down the bank,
till we was so far away the sounds got dim and died out. And when we
stepped onto the raft, I says:

  "Now, old Jim, you're a free man again, and I bet you won't ever
be a slave no more."

  "En a mighty good job it wuz, too, Huck. It 'uz planned beautiful,
en it 'uz done beautiful; en dey ain't nobody kin git up a plan
dat's mo' mixed-up en splendid den what dat one wuz."

  We was all as glad as we could be, but Tom was the gladdest of
all, because he had a bullet in the calf of his leg.

  When me and Jim heard that, we didn't feel so brash as what we did
before. It was hurting him considerble, and bleeding; so we laid him
in the wigwam and tore up one of the duke's shirts for to bandage him,
but he says:

  "Gimme the rags, I can do it myself. Don't stop, now; don't fool
around here, and the evasion booming along so handsome; man the
sweeps, and set her loose! Boys, we done it elegant!- 'deed we did.
I wish we'd a had the handling of Louis XVI, there wouldn't a been
no 'Son of Saint Louis, ascend to heaven!' wrote down in his
biography: no, sir, we'd a whooped him over the border-that's what
we'd a done with him- and done it just as slick as nothing at all,
too. Man the sweeps- man the sweeps!"

  But me and Jim was consulting- and thinking. And after we'd
thought a minute, I says:

  "Say it, Jim."

  So he says:

  "Well, den, dis is de way it look to me, Huck. Ef it wuz him dat 'uz
bein' sot free, en one er de boys wuz to git shot, would he say, 'Go
on en save me, nemmine 'bout a doctor f'r to save dis one? Is dat like
Mars Tom Sawyer? Would he say dat? You bet he wouldn't! Well, den,
is Jim gwyne to say it? No, sah- I doan' budge a step out'n dis place,
'dout a doctor; not if it's forty year!"

  I knowed he was white inside, and I reckoned he'd say what he did
say- so it was all right, now, and I told Tom I was agoing for a
doctor. He raised considerble row about it, but me and Jim stuck to it
and wouldn't budge; so he was for crawling out and setting the raft
loose himself; but we wouldn't let him. Then he give us a piece of his
mind- but it didn't do no good.

  So when he see me getting the canoe ready, he says:

  "Well, then, if you're bound to go, I'll tell you the way to do,
when you get to the village. Shut the door, and blindfold the doctor
tight and fast, and make him swear to be silent as the grave, and
put a purse full of gold in his hand, and then take and lead him all
around the back alleys and everywheres, in the dark, and then fetch
him here in the canoe, in a roundabout way amongst the islands, and
search him and take his chalk away from him, and don't give it back to
him till you get him back to the village, or else he will chalk this
raft so he can find it again. It's the way they all do."

  So I said I would, and left, and Jim was to hide in the woods when
he see the doctor coming, till he was gone again.


  The doctor was an old man; a very nice, kind-looking old man, when I
got him up. I told him me and my brother was over on Spanish Island
hunting, yesterday afternoon, and camped on a piece of a raft we
found, and about midnight he must a kicked his gun in his dreams,
for it went off and shot him in the leg, and we wanted him to go
over there and fix it and not say nothing about it, nor let anybody
know, because we wanted to come home this evening, and surprise the

  "Who is your folks?" he says.

  "The Phelpses, down yonder."

  "Oh," he says. And after a minute, he says: "How'd you say he got

  "He had a dream," I says, "and it shot him."

  "Singular dream," he says.

  So he lit up his lantern, and got his saddle-bags, and we started.
But when he see the canoe, he didn't like the look of her- said she
was big enough for one, but didn't look pretty safe for two. I says:

  "Oh, you needn't be afeard, sir, she carried the three of us, easy

  "What three?"

  "Why me and Sid, and- and- the guns; that's what I mean."

  "Oh," he says.

  But he put his foot on the gunnel, and rocked her; and shook his
head, and said he reckoned he'd look around for a bigger one. But they
was all locked and chained; so he took my canoe, and said for me to
wait till he come back, or I could hunt around further, or maybe I
better go down home and get them ready for the surprise, if I wanted
to. But I said I didn't; so I told him just how to find the raft,
and then he started.

  I struck an idea, pretty soon. I says to myself, spos'n he can't fix
that leg just in three shakes of a sheep's tail, as the saying is?
spos'n it takes him three or four days? What are we going to do?-
lay around there till he lets the cat out of the bag? No, sir, I
know what I'll do. I'll wait, and when he comes back, if he says
he's got to go any more, I'll get down there, too, if I swim; and
we'll take and tie him, and keep him, and shove out down the river;
and when Tom's done with him, we'll give him what it's worth, or all
we got, and then let him get shore.

  So then I crept into a lumber pile to get some sleep; and next
time I waked up the sun was away up over my head! I shot out and
went for the doctor's house, but they told me he'd gone away in the
night, some time or other, and warn't back yet. Well, thinks I, that
looks powerful bad for Tom, and I'll dig out for the island, right
off. So away I shoved, and turned the corner, and nearly rammed my
head into Uncle Silas's stomach! He says:

  "Why, Tom! Where you been, all this time, you rascal?"

  "I hain't been nowheres," I says, "only just hunting for the runaway
nigger- me and Sid."

  "Why, where ever did you go?" he says. "Your aunt's been mighty

  "She needn't," I says, "because we was all right. We followed the
men and the dogs, but they out-run us, and we lost them; but we
thought we heard them on the water, so we got a canoe and took out
after them, and crossed over but couldn't find nothing of them; so
we cruised along up-shore till we got kind of tired and beat out;
and tied up the canoe and went to sleep, and never waked up till about
an hour ago, then we paddled over here to hear the news, and Sid's
at the post-office to see what he can hear, and I'm a branching out to
get something to eat for us, and then we're going home."

  So then we went to the post-office to get "Sid"; but just as I
suspicioned, he warn't there; so the old man he got a letter out of
the office, and we waited a while longer but Sid didn't come; so the
old man said come along, let Sid foot it home, or canoe-it, when he
got done fooling around- but we would ride. I couldn't get him to
let me stay and wait for Sid; and he said there warn't no use in it,
and I must come along, and let Aunt Sally see we was all right.

  When we got home, Aunt Sally was that glad to see me she laughed and
cried both, and hugged me, and give me one of them lickings of hern
that don't amount to shucks, and said she'd serve Sid the same when he

  And the place was plumb full of farmers and farmers' wives, to
dinner; and such another clack a body never heard. Old Mrs.
Hotchkiss was the worst; her tongue was agoing all the time. She says:

  "Well, Sister Phelps, I've ransacked that-air cabin over an' I
b'lieve the nigger was crazy. I says so to Sister Damrell- didn't I,
Sister Damrell- s'I, he's crazy, s'I- them's the very words I said.
You all hearn me: he's crazy, s'I; everything shows it, s'I. Look at
that-air grindstone, s'I; want to tell me't any cretur 'ts in his
right mind's agoin' to scrabble all them crazy things onto a
grindstone, s'I? Here sich'n sich a person busted his heart; 'n'
here so 'n' so pegged along for thirty-seven year, 'n' all that-
natcherl son o' Louis somebody, 'n' sich everlast'n rubbage. He's
plumb crazy, s'I; it's what I says in the fust place, it's what I says
in the middle, 'n' it's what I says last 'n' all the time- the
nigger's crazy- crazy's Nebokoodneezer, s'I."

  "An' look at that-air ladder made out'n rags, Sister Hotchkiss,"
says old Mrs. Damrell, "what in the name o' goodness could he ever
want of-"

  "The very words I was a-sayin' no longer ago th'n this minute to
Sister Utterback, 'n' she'll tell you so herself. Sh-she, look at
that-air rag ladder, sh-she; 'n' s'I, yes, look at it, s'I- what could
he a wanted of it, s'I. Sh-she, Sister Hotchkiss, sh-she-"

  "But how in the nation'd they ever git that grindstone in there,
anyway? 'n' who dug that-air hole? 'n' who-"

  "My very words, Brer Penrod! I was a-sayin'- pass that air sasser o'
m'lasses, won't ye?- I was a-sayin' to Sister Dunlap, jist this
minute, how did they git that grindstone in there, s'I. Without
help, mind you- 'thout help! Thar's wher' 'tis. Don't tell me, s'I;
there wuz help, s'I; 'n' ther' wuz a plenty help, too, s'I; ther's ben
a dozen a-helpin' that nigger, 'n' I lay I'd skin every last nigger on
this place, but I'd find out who done it, s'I; 'n' moreover, s'I-"

  "A dozen says you!- forty couldn't a done everything that's been
done. Look at them case-knife saws and things, how tedious they've
been made; look at that bed-leg sawed off with 'm, a week's work for
six men; look at that nigger made out'n straw on the bed; and look

  "You may well say it, Brer Hightower! It's jist as I was a-sayin' to
Brer Phelps, his own self. S'e, what do you think of it, Sister
Hotchkiss, s'e? think o' what, Brer Phelps, s'I? think o' that bed-leg
sawed off that a way, s'e? think of it, s'I? I lay it never sawed
itself off, s'I- somebody sawed it, s'I; that's my opinion, take it or
leave it, it mayn't be no'count, s'I, but sich as 't is, it's my
opinion, s'I, 'n' if anybody k'n start a better one, s'I, let him do
it, s'I, that's all. I says to Sister Dunlap, s'I-"

  "Why, dog my cats, they must a ben a house-full o' niggers in
there every night for four weeks, to a done all that work, Sister
Phelps. Look at that shirt- every last inch of it kivered over with
secret Africa writ'n done with blood! Must a ben a raft uv 'm at it
right along, all the time, amost. Why, I'd give two dollars to have it
read to me; 'n' as for the niggers that wrote it, I 'low I'd take
'n' lash 'm t'll-"

  "People to help him, Brother Marples! Well, I reckon you'd think so,
if you'd a been in this house for a while back. Why, they've stole
everything they could lay their hands on- and we a watching, all the
time, mind you. They stole that shirt right off o' the line! and as
for that sheet they made the rag ladder out of ther' ain't no
telling how many times they didn't steal that; and flour, and candles,
and candlesticks, and spoons, and the old warming-pan, and most a
thousand things that I disremember, now, and my new calico dress;
and me, and Silas, and my Sid and Tom on the constant watch day and
night, as I was a telling you, and not a one of us could catch hide
nor hair, nor sight nor sound of them; and here at the last minute, lo
and behold you, they slides right in under our noses, and fools us,
and not only fools us but the Injun Territory robbers too, and
actuly gets away with that nigger, safe and sound, and that with
sixteen men and twenty-two dogs right on their very heels at that very
time! I tell you, it just bangs anything I ever heard of. Why, sperits
couldn't a done better, and been no smarter. And I reckon they must
a been sperits- because, you know our dogs, and ther' ain't no better;
well, them dogs never even got on the track of 'm once! You explain
that to me, if you can!- any of you!"

  "Well, it does beat-"

  "Laws alive, I never-"

  "So help me, I wouldn't a be-"

  "House thieves as well as-"

  "Goodnessgracioussakes, I'd a ben afeard to live in sich a-"

  "'Fraid to live!- why, I was that scared I dasn't hardly go to
bed, or get up, or lay down, or set down, Sister Ridgeway. Why, they'd
steal the very- why, goodness sakes, you can guess what kind of a
fluster I was in by the time midnight come, last night. I hope to
gracious if I warn't afraid they'd steal some o' the family! I was
just to that pass, I didn't have no reasoning faculties no more. It
looks foolish enough, now, in the day-time; but I says to myself,
there's my two poor boys asleep, 'way up stairs in that lonesome room,
and I declare to goodness I was that uneasy 't I crep' up there and
locked 'em in! I did. And anybody would. Because, you know, when you
get scared, that way, and it keeps running on, and getting worse and
worse, all the time, and your wits get to addling, and you get to
doing all sorts o' wild things, and by-and-by you think to yourself,
spos'n I was a boy, and was away up there, and the door ain't
locked, and you-" She stopped, looking kind of wondering, and then she
turned her head around slow, and when her eye lit on me- I got up
and took a walk.

  Says I to myself, I can explain better how we come to not be in that
room this morning, if I go out to one side and study over it a little.
So I done it. But I dasn't go fur, or she'd a sent for me. And when it
was late in the day, the people all went, and then I come in and
told her the noise and shooting waked up me and "Sid," and the door
was locked, and we wanted to see the fun, so we went down the
lightning-rod, and both of us got hurt a little, and we didn't never
want to try that no more. And then I went on and told her all what I
told Uncle Silas before; and then she said she'd forgive us, and maybe
it was all right enough anyway, and about what a body might expect
of boys, for all boys was a pretty harum-scarum lot, as fur as she
could see; and so, as long as no harm hadn't come of it, she judged
she better put in her time being grateful we was alive and well and
she had us still, stead of fretting over what was past and done. So
then she kissed me, and patted me on the head, and dropped into a kind
of brown study; and pretty soon jumps up, and says:

  "Why, lawsamercy, it's most night, and Sid not come yet! What has
become of that boy?"

  I see my chance; so I skips up and says:

  "I'll run right up to town and get him," I says.

  "No you won't," she says. "You'll stay right wher'you are; one's
enough to be lost at a time. If he ain't here to supper, your uncle'll

  Well, he warn't there to supper; so right after supper uncle went.

  He come back about ten, a little bit uneasy; hadn't run across Tom's
track. Aunt Sally was a good deal uneasy; but Uncle Silas he said
there warn't no occasion to be- boys will be boys, he said, and you'll
see this one turn up in the morning, all sound and right. So she had
to be satisfied. But she said she'd set up for him a while, anyway,
and keep a light burning, so he could see it.

  And then when I went up to bed she come up with me and fetched her
candle, and tucked me in, and mothered me so good I felt mean, and
like I couldn't look her in the face; and she set down on the bed
and talked with me a long time, and said what a splendid boy Sid
was, and didn't seem to want to ever stop talking about him; and
kept asking me every now and then, if I reckoned he could a got
lost, or hurt, or maybe drownded, and might be laying at this
minute, somewheres, suffering or dead, and she not by him to help him,
and so the tears would drip down, silent, and I would tell her that
Sid was all right, and would be home in the morning, sure; and she
would squeeze my hand, or maybe kiss me, and tell me to say it
again, and keep on saying it, because it done her good, and she was in
so much trouble. And when she was going away, she looked down in my
eyes, so steady and gentle, and says:

  "The door ain't going to be locked, Tom; and there's the window
and the rod; but you'll be good, won't you? And you won't go? For my

  Laws knows I wanted to go, bad enough, to see about Tom, and was all
intending to go; but after that, I wouldn't a went, not for kingdoms.

  But she was on my mind, and Tom was on my mind; so I slept very
restless. And twice I went down the rod, away in the night, and
slipped around front, and see her setting there by her candle in the
window with her eyes towards the road and the tears in them; and I
wished I could do something for her, but I couldn't, only to swear
that I wouldn't never do nothing to grieve her any more. And the third
time, I waked up at dawn, and slid down, and she was there yet, and
her candle was most out, and her old gray head was resting on her
hand, and she was asleep.


  The old man was up town again, before breakfast, but couldn't get no
track of Tom; and both of them set at the table, thinking, and not
saying nothing, and looking mournful, and their coffee getting cold,
and not eating anything. And by-and-by the old man says:

  "Did I give you the letter?"

  "What letter?"

  "The one I got yesterday out of the post-office."

  "No, you didn't give me no letter."

  "Well, I must a forgot it."

  So he rummaged his pockets, and then went off somewheres where he
had laid it down, and fetched it, and give it to her. She says:

  "Why, it's from St. Petersburg-it's from Sis."

  I allowed another walk would do me good; but I couldn't stir. But
before she could break it open, she dropped it and run- for she see
something. And so did I. It was Tom Sawyer on a mattress; and that old
doctor; and Jim, in her calico dress, with his hands tied behind
him; and a lot of people. I hid the letter behind the first thing that
come handy, and rushed. She flung herself at Tom, crying, and says:

  "Oh, he's dead, he's dead, I know he's dead!"

  And Tom he turned his head a little, and muttered something or
other, which showed he warn't in his right mind; then she flung up her
hands, and says:

  "He's alive, thank God! And that's enough!" and she snatched a
kiss of him, and flew for the house to get the bed ready, and
scattering orders right and left at the niggers and everybody else, as
fast as her tongue could go, every jump of the way.

  I followed the men to see what they was going to do with Jim; and
the old doctor and Uncle Silas followed after Tom into the house.
The men was very huffy, and some of them wanted to hang Jim, for an
example to all the other niggers around there, so they wouldn't be
trying to run away, like Jim done, and making such a raft of
trouble, and keeping a whole family scared most to death for days
and nights. But the others said, don't do it, it wouldn't answer at
all, he ain't our nigger, and his owner would turn up and make us
pay for him, sure. So that cooled them down a little, because the
people that's always the most anxious for to hang a nigger that hain't
done just right, is always the very ones that ain't the most anxious
to pay for him when they've got their satisfaction out of him.

  They cussed Jim considerble, though, and give him a cuff or two,
side the head, once in a while, but Jim never said nothing, and he
never let on to know me, and they took him to the same cabin, and
put his own clothes on him, and chained him again, and not to no
bed-leg, this time, but to a big staple drove into the bottom log, and
chained his hands, too, and both legs, and said he warn't to have
nothing but bread and water to eat, after this, till his owner come or
he was sold at auction, because he didn't come in a certain length
of time, and filled up our hole, and said a couple of farmers with
guns must stand watch around about the cabin every night, and a
bull-dog tied to the door in the day-time; and about this time they
was through with the job and was tapering off with a kind of generl
good-bye cussing, and then the old doctor comes and takes a look,
and says:

  "Don't be no rougher on him than you're obleeged to, because he
ain't a bad nigger. When I got to where I found the boy, I see I
couldn't cut the bullet out without some help, and he warn't in no
condition for me to leave, to go and get help; and he got a little
worse and a little worse, and after a long time he went out of his
head, and wouldn't let me come anigh him, any more, and said if I
chalked his raft he'd kill me, and no end of wild foolishness like
that, and I see I couldn't do anything at all with him; so I says, I
got to have help, somehow; and the minute I says it, out crawls this
nigger from somewheres, and says he'll help, and he done it, too,
and done it very well. Of course I judged he must be a runaway nigger,
and there I was! and there I had to stick, right straight along all
the rest of the day, and all night. It was a fix, I tell you! I had
a couple of patients with the chills, and of course, I'd of liked to
run up to town and see them, but I dasn't, because the nigger might
get away, and then I'd be to blame; and yet never a skiff come close
enough for me to hail. So there I had to stick, plumb till daylight
this morning; and I never see a nigger that was a better nuss or
faithfuller, and yet he was resking his freedom to do it, and was
all tired out, too, and I see plain enough he'd been worked main hard,
lately. I liked the nigger for that; I tell you, gentlemen, a nigger
like that is worth a thousand dollars- and kind treatment, too. I
had everything I needed, and the boy was doing as well there as he
would a done at home- better, maybe, because it was so quiet; but
there I was, with both of 'm on my hands; and there I had to stick,
till about dawn this morning; then some men in a skiff come by, and as
good luck would have it, the nigger was setting by the pallet with his
head propped on his knees, sound asleep; so I motioned them in, quiet,
and they slipped up on him and grabbed him and tied him before he
knowed what he was about, and we never had no trouble. And the boy
being in a kind of a flighty sleep, too, we muffled the oars and
hitched the raft on, and towed her over very nice and quiet, and the
nigger never made the least row nor said a word, from the start. He
ain't no bad nigger, gentlemen; that's what I think about him."

  Somebody says:

  "Well, it sounds very good, doctor, I'm obleeged to say."

  Then the others softened up a little, too, and I was mighty thankful
to that old doctor for doing Jim that good turn; and I was glad it was
according to my judgment of him, too; because I thought he had a
good heart in him and was a good man, the first time I see him. Then
they all agreed that Jim had acted very well, and was deserving to
have some notice took of it, and reward. So every one of them
promised, right out and hearty, that they wouldn't cuss him no more.

  Then they come out and locked him up. I hoped they was going to
say he could have one or two of the chains took off, because they
was rotten heavy, or could have meat and greens with his bread and
water, but they didn't think of it, and I reckoned it warn't best
for me to mix in, but I judged I'd get the doctor's yarn to Aunt
Sally, somehow or other, as soon as I'd got through the breakers
that was laying just ahead of me. Explanations, I mean, of how I
forgot to mention about Sid being shot, when I was telling how him and
me put in that dratted night paddling around hunting the runaway

  But I had plenty time. Aunt Sally she stuck to the sickroom all
day and all night; and every time I see Uncle Silas mooning around,
I dodged him.

  Next morning I heard Tom was a good deal better, and they said
Aunt Sally was gone to get a nap. So I slips to the sick-room, and
if I found him awake I reckoned we could put up a yarn for the
family that would wash. But he was sleeping, and sleeping very
peaceful, too; and pale, not fire-faced the way he was when he come.
So I set down and laid for him to wake. In about a half an hour,
Aunt Sally comes gliding in, and there I was, up a stump again! She
motioned me to be still, and set down by me, and begun to whisper, and
said we could all be joyful now, because all the symptoms was first
rate, and he'd been sleeping like that for ever so long, and looking
better and peacefuller all the time, and ten to one he'd wake up in
his right mind.

  So we set there watching, and by-and-by he stirs a bit, and opened
his eyes very natural, and takes a look, and says:

  "Hello, why I'm at home! How's that? Where's the raft?"

  "It's all right," I says.

  "And Jim?"

  "The same," I says, but couldn't say it pretty brash. But he never
noticed, but says:

  "Good! Splendid! Now we're all right and safe! Did you tell Aunty?"

  I was going to say yes; but she chipped in and says:

  "About what, Sid?"

  "Why, about the way the whole thing was done."

  "What whole thing?"

  "Why, the whole thing. There ain't but one; how we set the runaway
nigger free- me and Tom."

  "Good land! Set the run- What is the child talking about! Dear,
dear, out of his head again!"

  "No, I ain't out of my HEAD; I know all what I'm talking about. We
did set him free- me and Tom. We laid out to do it, and we done it.
And we done it elegant, too." He'd got a start, and she never
checked him up, just set and stared and stared, and let him clip
along, and I see it warn't no use for me to put in. "Why, Aunty, it
cost us a power of work- weeks of it- hours and hours, every night,
whilst you was all asleep. And we had to steal candles, and the sheet,
and the shirt, and your dress, and spoons, and tin plates, and
case-knives, and the warming-pan, and the grindstone, and flour, and
just no end of things, and you can't think what work it was to make
the saws, and pens, and inscriptions, and one thing or another, and
you can't think half the fun it was. And we had to make up the
pictures of coffins and things, and nonnamous letters from the
robbers, and get up and down the lightningrod, and dig the hole into
the cabin, and make the rope-ladder and send it in cooked up in a pie,
and send in spoons and things to work with, in your apron pocket-"

  "Mercy sakes!"

  -and load up the cabin with rats and snakes and so on, for company
for Jim; and then you kept Tom here so long with the butter in his hat
that you come near spiling the whole business, because the men come
before we was out of the cabin, and we had to rush, and they heard
us and let drive at us, and I got my share, and we dodged out of the
path and let them go by, and when the dogs come they warn't interested
in us, but went for the most noise, and we got our canoe, and made our
raft, and was all safe, and Jim was a free man, and we done it all
by ourselves, and wasn't it bully, Aunty!"

  "Well, I never heard the likes of it in all my born days! So it
was you, you little rapscallions, that's been making all this trouble,
and turned everybody's wits clean inside out and scared us all most to
death. I've as good a notion as ever I had in my life, to take it
out o' you this very minute. To think, here I've been, night after
night, a- you just get well once, you young scamp, and I lay I'll
tan the Old Harry out o' both o' ye!"

  But Tom, he was so proud and joyful, he just couldn't hold in, and
his tongue just went it- she a-chipping in, and spitting fire all
along, and both of them going it at once, like a cat-convention; and
she says:

  "Well, you get all the enjoyment you can out of it now, for mind I
tell you if I catch you meddling with him again-"

  "Meddling with who?" Tom says, dropping his smile and looking

  "With who? Why, the runaway nigger, of course. Who'd you reckon?"

  Tom looks at me very grave, and says:

  "Tom, didn't you just tell me he was all right? Hasn't he got away?"

  "Him?" says Aunt Sally; "the runaway nigger? 'Deed he hasn't.
They've got him back, safe and sound, and he's in that cabin again, on
bread and water, and loaded down with chains, till he's claimed or

  Tom rose square up in bed, with his eye hot, and his nostrils
opening and shutting like gills, and sings out to me:

  "They hain't no right to shut him up! Shove!- and don't you lose a
minute. Turn him loose! he ain't no slave; he's as free as any
cretur that walks this earth!"

  "What does the child mean?"

  "I mean every word I say, Aunt Sally, and if somebody don't go, I'll
go. I've knowed him all his life, and so has Tom, there. Old Miss
Watson died two months ago, and she was ashamed she ever was going
to sell him down the river, and said so; and she set him free in her

  "Then what on earth did you want to set him free for, seeing he
was already free?"

  "Well that is a question, I must say; and just like women! Why, I
wanted the adventure of it; and I'd a waded neckdeep in blood to-
goodness alive, Aunt Polly!"

  If she warn't standing right there, just inside the door, looking as
sweet and contented as an angel half-full of pie, I wish I may never!

  Aunt Sally jumped for her, and most hugged the head off of her,
and cried over her, and I found a good enough place for me under the
bed, for it was getting pretty sultry for us, seemed to me. And I
peeped out, and in a little while Tom's Aunt Polly shook herself loose
and stood there looking across at Tom over her spectacles- kind of
grinding him into the earth, you know. And then she says:

  "Yes, you better turn y'r head away- I would if I was you, Tom."

  "Oh, deary me!" says Aunt Sally; "is he changed so? Why, that
ain't Tom, it's Sid; Tom's- Tom's- why, where is Tom? He was here a
minute ago."

  "You mean where's Huck Finn- that's what you mean! I reckon I hain't
raised such a scamp as my Tom all these years, not to know him when
I see him. That would be a pretty howdy-do. Come out from under that
bed, Huck Finn."

  So I done it. But not feeling brash.

  Aunt Sally she was one of the mixed-upest looking persons I ever
see; except one, and that was Uncle Silas, when he come in, and they
told it all to him. It kind of made him drunk, as you may say, and
he didn't know nothing at all the rest of the day, and preached a
prayer-meeting sermon that night that give him a rattling
ruputation, because the oldest man in the world couldn't a
understood it. So Tom's Aunt Polly, she told all about who I was,
and what; and I had to up and trill how I was in such a tight place
when Mrs. Phelps took me for Tom Sawyer- she chipped in and says, "Oh,
go on and call me Aunt Sally, I'm used to it, now, and 'taint no
need to change"- that when Aunt Sally took me for Tom Sawyer, I had to
stand it- there warn't no other way, and I knowed he wouldn't mind,
because it would be nuts for him, being a mystery, and he'd make an
adventure out of it and be perfectly satisfied. And so it turned
out, and he let on to be Sid, and made things as soft as he could
for me.

  And his Aunt Polly she said Tom was right about old Miss Watson
setting Jim free in her will; and so, sure enough, Tom Sawyer had gone
and took all that trouble and bother to set a free nigger free! and
I couldn't ever understand, before, until that minute and that talk,
how he could help a body set a nigger free, with his bringing-up.

  Well, Aunt Polly she said that when Aunt Sally wrote to her that Tom
and Sid had come, all right and safe, she says to herself:

  "Look at that, now! I might have expected it, letting him go off
that way without anybody to watch him. So now I got to go and trapse
all the way down the river, eleven hundred mile, and find out what
that creetur's up to, this time; as long as I couldn't seem to get any
answer out of you about it."

  "Why, I never heard nothing from you," says Aunt Sally.

  "Well, I wonder! Why, I wrote to you twice, to ask you what you
could mean by Sid being here."

  "Well, I never got 'em, Sis."

  Aunt Polly, she turns around slow and severe, and says:

  "You, Tom!"

  "Well- what?" he says, kind of pettish.

  "Don't you what me, you impudent thing- hand out them letters."

  "What letters?"

  "Them letters. I be bound, if I have to take aholt of you I'll-"

  "They're in the trunk. There, now. And they're just the same as they
was when I got them out of the office. I hain't looked into them, I
hain't touched them. But I knowed they'd make trouble, and I thought
if you warn't in no hurry, I'd-"

  "Well, you do need skinning, there ain't no mistake about it. And
I wrote another one to tell you I was coming; and I spose he-"

  "No, it come yesterday; I hain't read it yet, but it's all right,
I've got that one."

  I wanted to offer to bet two dollars she hadn't, but I reckoned
maybe it was just as safe to not to. So I never said nothing.


  The first time I catched Tom, private, I asked him what was his
idea, time of the evasion?- what it was he'd planned to do if the
evasion worked all right and he managed to set a nigger free that
was already free before? And he said, what he had planned in his head,
from the start, if we got Jim out all safe, was for us to run him down
the river, on the raft, and have adventures plumb to the mouth of
the river, and then tell him about his being free, and take him back
up home on a steamboat, in style, and pay him for his lost time, and
write word ahead and get out all the niggers around, and have them
waltz him into town with a torchlight procession and a brass band, and
then he would be a hero, and so would we. But I reckened it was
about as well the way it was.

  We had Jim out of the chains in no time, and when Aunt Polly and
Uncle Silas and Aunt Sally found out how good he helped the doctor
nurse Tom, they made a heap of fuss over him, and fixed him up
prime, and give him all he wanted to eat, and a good time, and nothing
to do. And we had him up to the sick-room; and had a high talk; and
Tom give Jim forty dollars for being prisoner for us so patient, and
doing it up so good, and Jim was pleased most to death, and busted
out, and says:

  "Dah, now, Huck, what I tell you?- what I tell you up dah on Jackson
islan'? I tole you I got a hairy breas', en what's de sign un it; en I
tole you I ben rich wunst, en gwineter to be rich agin; en it's come
true; en heah she is! Dab, now! doan' talk to me- signs is signs, mine
I tell you; en I knowed jis' 's well 'at I 'uz gwineter be rich agin
as I's a stannin heah dis minute!"

  And then Tom he talked along, and talked along, and says, le's all
three slide out of here, one of these nights, and get an outfit, and
go for howling adventures amongst the Injuns, over in the Territory,
for a couple of weeks or two; and I says, all right, that suits me,
but I ain't got no money for to buy the outfit, and I reckon I
couldn't get none from home, because it's likely pap's been back
before now, and got it all away from Judge Thatcher and drunk it up.

  "No, he hain't," Tom says; "it's all there, yet- six thousand
dollars and more; and your pap hain't ever been back since. Hadn't
when I come away, anyhow."

  Jim says, kind of solemn:

  "He ain't a comin' back no mo', Huck."

  I says:

  "Why, Jim?"

  "Nemmine why, Huck- but he ain't comin' back no mo'."

  But I kept at him; so at last he says:

  "Doan' you 'member de house dat was float'n down de river, en dey
wuz a man in dah, kivered up, en I went in en unkivered him and didn't
let you come in? Well, den, you k'n git yo' money when you wants it;
kase dat wuz him."

  Tom's most well, now, and got his bullet around his neck on a
watch-guard for a watch, and is always seeing what time it is, and
so there ain't nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of
it, because if I'd a knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I
wouldn't a tackled it and ain't agoing to no more. But I reckon I
got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt
Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can't stand it.
I been there before.

                           THE END. YOURS TRULY, HUCK FINN


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