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´╗┐Title: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Tom Sawyer's Comrade
Author: Twain, Mark, 1835-1910
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Tom Sawyer's Comrade" ***

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Archive: American Libraries.

[Illustration: Photo of the Author with Signature "S. L. Clemens"]





   SCENE: The Mississippi Valley
   TIME: Forty to Fifty Years Ago

   By Mark Twain







   THE $30,000 BEQUEST
   THE 1,000,000 POUND BANK-NOTE


   [Established 1817]

   The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
   Copyright, 1884. by Samuel L. Clemens
   Copyright. 1896 and 1899. by Harper & Brothers
   Copyright. 1912, by Clara Gabrilowitsch
   Printed in the United States of America


   I. I Discover Moses and the Bulrushers.
   II. Our Gang's Dark Oath
   III. We Ambuscade the A-rabs
   IV. The Hair-ball Oracle
   V. Pap Starts in on a New Life
   VI. Pap Struggles with the Death Angel
   VII. I Fool Pap and Get Away
   VIII. I Spare Miss Watson's Jim
   IX. The House of Death Floats By
   X. What Comes of Handlin' Snake-skin
   XI. They're After Us!
   XII. "Better Let Blame Well Alone"
   XIII. Honest Loot from the "Walter Scott"
   XIV. Was Solomon Wise?
   XV. Fooling Poor Old Jim
   XVI. The Rattlesnake-skin Does Its Work
   XVII. The Grangerfords Take Me In
   XVIII. Why Harney Rode Away for His Hat
   XIX. The Duke and the Dauphin Come Aboard
   XX. What Royalty Did to Parkville
   XXI. An Arkansaw Difficulty
   XXII. Why the Lynching Bee Failed
   XXIII. The Orneriness of Kings
   XXIV. The King Turns Parson
   XXV. All Full of Tears and Flapdoodle
   XXVI. I Steal the King's Plunder
   XXVII. Dead Peter has His Gold
   XXVIII. Overreaching Don't Pay
   XXIX. I Light Out in the Storm
   XXX. The Gold Saves the Thieves
   XXXI. You Can't Pray a Lie
   XXXII. I Have a New Name
   XXXIII. The Pitiful Ending of Royalty
   XXXIV. We Cheer Up Jim
   XXXV. Dark, Deep-laid Plans
   XXXVI. Trying to Help Jim
   XXXVII. Jim Gets His Witch-pie
   XXXVIII. "Here a Captive Heart Busted"
   XXXIX. Tom Writes Nonnamous Letters
   XL. A Mixed-up and Splendid Rescue
   XLI. "Must 'a' Been Sperits"
   XLII. Why They Didn't Hang Jim
   Chapter the Last. Nothing More to Write


   Portrait of the Author
   Huckleberry Finn
   "'Gimme a Chaw'"
   Tom Advises a Witch Pie


Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be
prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished;
persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

   By Order of the Author,
    Per G. G., Chief of Ordnance.


In this book a number of dialects are used, to wit: the Missouri negro
dialect; the extremest form of the backwoods Southwestern dialect; the
ordinary "Pike County" dialect; and four modified varieties of this
last. The shadings have not been done in a haphazard fashion, or by
guesswork; but painstakingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and
support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech.

I make this explanation for the reason that without it many readers
would suppose that all these characters were trying to talk alike and
not succeeding.

   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 warn't really
anything the matter with them--that is, nothing only everything was
cooked by itself. In a barrel of odds and ends it is different; things
get mixed up, and the juice kind of swaps around, and the things go

After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the
Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by and
by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time;
so then I didn't care no more about him, because I don't take no stock
in dead people.

Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked the widow to let me. But she
wouldn't. She said it was a mean practice and wasn't clean, and I must
try to not do it any more. That is just the way with some people. They
get down on a thing when they don't know nothing about it. Here she
was a-bothering about Moses, which was no kin to her, and no use to
anybody, being gone, you see, yet finding a power of fault with me for
doing a thing that had some good in it. And she took snuff, too; of
course that was all right, because she done it herself.

Her sister, Miss Watson, a tolerable slim old maid, with goggles on,
had just come to live with her, and took a set at me now with a
spelling-book. She worked me middling hard for about an hour, and then
the widow made her ease up. I couldn't stood it much longer. Then for
an hour it was deadly dull, and I was fidgety. Miss Watson would say,
"Don't put your feet up there, Huckleberry"; and "Don't scrunch up
like that, Huckleberry--set up straight"; and pretty soon she would
say, "Don't gap and stretch like that, Huckleberry--why don't you try
to behave?" Then she told me all about the bad place, and I said I
wished I was there. She got mad then, but I didn't mean no harm. All I
wanted was to go somewheres; all I wanted was a change, I warn't
particular. She said it was wicked to say what I said; said she
wouldn't say it for the whole world; she was going to live so as to go
to the good place. Well, I couldn't see no advantage in going where
she was going, so I made up my mind I wouldn't try for it. But I never
said so, because it would only make trouble, and wouldn't do no good.

Now she had got a start, and she went on and told me all about the
good place. She said all a body would have to do there was to go
around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever. So I
didn't think much of it. But I never said so. I asked her if she
reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she said not by a considerable
sight. I was glad about that, because I wanted him and me to be

Miss Watson she kept pecking at me, and it got tiresome and lonesome.
By and by they fetched the niggers in and had prayers, and then
everybody was off to bed. I went up to my room with a piece of candle,
and put it on the table. Then I set down in a chair by the window and
tried to think of something cheerful, but it warn't no use. I felt so
lonesome I most wished I was dead. The stars were shining, and the
leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and I heard an owl, away
off, who-whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill and a
dog crying about somebody that was going to die; and the wind was
trying to whisper something to me, and I couldn't make out what it
was, and so it made the cold shivers run over me. Then away out in the
woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to
tell about something that's on its mind and can't make itself
understood, and so can't rest easy in its grave, and has to go about
that way every night grieving. I got so downhearted and scared I did
wish I had some company. Pretty soon a spider went crawling up my
shoulder, and I flipped it off and it lit in the candle; and before I
could budge it was all shriveled up. I didn't need anybody to tell me
that that was an awful bad sign and would fetch me some bad luck, so I
was scared and most shook the clothes off of me. I got up and turned
around in my tracks three times and crossed my breast every time; and
then I tied up a little lock of my hair with a thread to keep witches
away. But I hadn't no confidence. You do that when you've lost a
horseshoe that you've found, instead of nailing it up over the door,
but I hadn't ever heard anybody say it was any way to keep off bad
luck when you'd killed a spider.

I set down again, a-shaking all over, and got out my pipe for a smoke;
for the house was all as still as death now, and so the widow wouldn't
know. Well, after a long time I heard the clock away off in the town
go boom--boom--boom--twelve licks; and all still again--stiller than
ever. Pretty soon I heard a twig snap down in the dark amongst the
trees--something was a-stirring. I set still and listened. Directly I
could just barely hear a "me-yow! me-yow!" down there. That was good!
Says I, "me-yow! me-yow!" as soft as I could, and then I put out the
light and scrambled out of the window on to the shed. Then I slipped
down to the ground and crawled in among the trees, and, sure enough,
there was Tom Sawyer waiting for me.


We went tiptoeing along a path amongst the trees back toward 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 came tiptoeing down and stood right
between us; we could 'a' touched him, nearly. Well, likely it was
minutes and minutes that there warn't a sound, and we all there so
close together. There was a place on my ankle that got to itching, but
I dasn't scratch it; and then my ear begun to itch; and next my back,
right between my shoulders. Seemed like I'd die if I couldn't scratch.
Well, I've noticed that thing plenty times since. If you are with the
quality, or at a funeral, or trying to go to sleep when you ain't
sleepy--if you are anywheres where it won't do for you to scratch, why
you will itch all over in upward of a thousand places. Pretty soon Jim

"Say, who is you? Whar is you? Dog my cats ef I didn' hear sumf'n.
Well, I know what I's gwyne to do: I's gwyne to set down here and
listen tell I hears it ag'in."

So he set down on the ground betwixt me and Tom. He leaned his back up
against a tree, and stretched his legs out till one of them most
touched one of mine. My nose begun to itch. It itched till the tears
come into my eyes. But I dasn't scratch. Then it begun to itch on the
inside. Next I got to itching underneath. I didn't know how I was
going to set still. This miserableness went on as much as six or seven
minutes; but it seemed a sight longer than that. I was itching in
eleven different places now. I reckoned I couldn't stand it more'n a
minute longer, but I set my teeth hard and got ready to try. Just then
Jim begun to breathe heavy; next he begun to snore--and then I was
pretty soon comfortable again.

Tom he made a sign to me--kind of a little noise with his mouth--and
we went creeping away on our hands and knees. When we was ten foot off
Tom whispered to me, and wanted to tie Jim to the tree for fun. But I
said no; he might wake and make a disturbance, and then they'd find
out I warn't in. Then Tom said he hadn't got candles enough, and he
would slip in the kitchen and get some more. I didn't want him to try.
I said Jim might wake up and come. But Tom wanted to resk it; so we
slid in there and got three candles, and Tom laid five cents on the
table for pay. Then we got out, and I was in a sweat to get away; but
nothing would do Tom but he must crawl to where Jim was, on his hands
and knees, and play something on him. I waited, and it seemed a good
while, everything was so still and lonesome.

As soon as Tom was back we cut along the path, around the garden
fence, and by and by fetched up on the steep top of the hill the other
side of the house. Tom said he slipped Jim's hat off of his head and
hung it on a limb right over him, and Jim stirred a little, but he
didn't wake. Afterward 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 all over the world, and tired him most to
death, and his back was all over saddle-boils. Jim was monstrous proud
about it, and he got so he wouldn't hardly notice the other niggers.
Niggers would come miles to hear Jim tell about it, and he was more
looked up to than any nigger in that country. Strange niggers would
stand with their mouths open and look him all over, same as if he was
a wonder. Niggers is always talking about witches in the dark by the
kitchen fire; but whenever one was talking and letting on to know all
about such things, Jim would happen in and say, "Hm! What you know
'bout witches?" and that nigger was corked up and had to take a back
seat. Jim always kept that five-center piece round his neck with a
string, and said it was a charm the devil give to him with his own
hands, and told him he could cure anybody with it and fetch witches
whenever he wanted to just by saying something to it; but he never
told what it was he said to it. Niggers would come from all around
there and give Jim anything they had, just for a sight of that
five-center piece; but they wouldn't touch it, because the devil had
had his hands on it. Jim was most ruined for a servant, because he got
stuck up on account of having seen the devil and been rode by witches.

Well, when Tom and me got to the edge of the hilltop we looked away
down into the village and could see three or four lights twinkling,
where there was sick folks, maybe; and the stars over us was sparkling
ever so fine; and down by the village was the river, a whole mile
broad, and awful still and grand. We went down the hill and found Joe
Harper and Ben Rogers, and two or three more of the boys, hid in the
old tanyard. So we unhitched a skiff and pulled down the river two
mile and a half, to the big scar on the hillside, and went ashore.

We went to a clump of bushes, and Tom made everybody swear to keep the
secret, and then showed them a hole in the hill, right in the thickest
part of the bushes. Then we lit the candles, and crawled in on our
hands and knees. We went about two hundred yards, and then the cave
opened up. Tom poked about amongst the passages, and pretty soon
ducked under a wall where you wouldn't 'a' noticed that there was a
hole. We went along a narrow place and got into a kind of room, all
damp and sweaty and cold, and there we stopped. Tom says:

"Now, we'll start this band of robbers and call it Tom Sawyer's Gang.
Everybody that wants to join has got to take an oath, and write his
name in blood." Everybody was willing. So Tom got out a sheet of paper
that he had wrote the oath on, and read it. It swore every boy to
stick to the band, and never tell any of the secrets; and if anybody
done anything to any boy in the band, whichever boy was ordered to
kill that person and his family must do it, and he mustn't eat and he
mustn't sleep till he had killed them and hacked a cross in their
breasts, which was the sign of the band. And nobody that didn't belong
to the band could use that mark, and if he did he must be sued; and if
he done it again he must be killed. And if anybody that belonged to
the band told the secrets, he must have his throat cut, and then have
his carcass burnt up and the ashes scattered all around, and his name
blotted off 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

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

"Well, hain't he got a father?" says Tom Sawyer.

"Yes, he's got a father, but you can't never find him these days. He
used to lay drunk with the hogs in the tanyard, but he hain't been
seen in these parts for a year or more."

They talked it over, and they was going to rule me out, because they
said every boy must have a family or somebody to kill, or else it
wouldn't be fair and square for the others. Well, nobody could think
of anything to do--everybody was stumped, and set still. I was most
ready to cry; but all at once I thought of a way, and so I offered
them Miss Watson--they could kill her. Everybody said:

"Oh, she'll do. That's all right. Huck can come in."

Then they all stuck a pin in their fingers to get blood to sign with,
and I made my mark on the paper.

"Now," says Ben Rogers, "what's the line of business of this Gang?"

"Nothing only robbery and murder," Tom said.

"But who are we going to rob?--houses, or cattle, or--"

"Stuff! stealing cattle and such things ain't robbery; it's burglary,"
says Tom Sawyer. "We ain't burglars. That ain't no sort of style. We
are highwaymen. We stop stages and carriages on the road, with masks
on, and kill the people and take their watches and money."

"Must we always kill the people?"

"Oh, certainly. It's best. Some authorities think different, but
mostly it's considered best to kill them--except some that you bring
to the cave here, and keep them till they're ransomed."

"Ransomed? What's that?"

"I don't know. But that's what they do. I've seen it in books; and so
of course that's what we've got to do."

"But how can we do it if we don't know what it is?"

"Why, blame it all, we've _got_ to do it. Don't I tell you it's in the
books?  Do you want to go to doing different from what's in the books,
and get things all muddled up?"

"Oh, that's all very fine to _say,_ Tom Sawyer, but how in the nation
are these fellows going to be ransomed if we don't know how to do it
to them?--that's the thing I want to get at. Now, what do you reckon
it is?"

"Well, I don't know. But per'aps if we keep them till they're
ransomed, it means that we keep them till they're dead."

"Now, that's something _like._ That'll answer. Why couldn't you said
that before? We'll keep them till they're ransomed to death; and a
bothersome lot they'll be, too--eating up everything, and always
trying to get loose."

"How you talk, Ben Rogers. How can they get loose when there's a guard
over them, ready to shoot them down if they move a peg?"

"A guard! Well, that _is_ good. So somebody's got to set up all night
and never get any sleep, just so as to watch them. I think that's
foolishness. Why can't a body take a club and ransom them as soon as
they get here?"

"Because it ain't in the books so--that's why. Now, Ben Rogers, do you
want to do things regular, or don't you?--that's the idea. Don't you
reckon that the people that made the books knows what's the correct
thing to do? Do you reckon _you_ can learn 'em anything? Not by a good
deal. No, sir, we'll just go on and ransom them in the regular way."

"All right. I don't mind; but I say it's a fool way, anyhow. Say, do
we kill the women, too?"

"Well, Ben Rogers, if I was as ignorant as you I wouldn't let on. Kill
the women? No; nobody ever saw anything in the books like that. You
fetch them to the cave, and you're always as polite as pie to them;
and by and by they fall in love with you, and never want to go home
any more."

"Well, if that's the way I'm agreed, but I don't take no stock in it.
Mighty soon we'll have the cave so cluttered up with women, and
fellows waiting to be ransomed, that there won't be no place for the
robbers. But go ahead, I ain't got nothing to say."

Little Tommy Barnes was asleep now, and when they waked him up he was
scared, and cried, and said he wanted to go home to his ma, and didn't
want to be a robber any more.

So they all made fun of him, and called him cry-baby, and that made
him mad, and he said he would go straight and tell all the secrets.
But Tom give him five cents to keep quiet, and said we would all go
home and meet next week, and rob somebody and kill some people.

Ben Rogers said he couldn't get out much, only Sundays, and so he
wanted to begin next Sunday; but all the boys said it would be wicked
to do it on Sunday, and that settled the thing. They agreed to get
together and fix a day as soon as they could, and then we elected Tom
Sawyer first captain and Joe 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 awhile if I could. Then Miss Watson she took me in the
closet and prayed, but nothing come of it. She told me to pray every
day, and whatever I asked for I would get it. But it warn't so. I
tried it. Once I got a fish-line, but no hooks. It warn't any good to
me without hooks. I tried for the hooks three or four times, but
somehow I couldn't make it work. By and by, one day, I asked Miss
Watson to try for me, but she said I was a fool. She never told me
why, and I couldn't make it out no way.

I set down one time back in the woods, and had a long think about it.
I says to myself, if a body can get anything they pray for, why don't
Deacon Winn get back the money he lost on pork? Why can't the widow
get back her silver 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 a-going to be any better off
then than what he was before, seeing I was so ignorant, and so kind of
low-down and ornery.

Pap he hadn't been seen for more than a year, and that was comfortable
for me; I didn't want to see him no more. He used to always whale me
when he was sober and could get his hands on me; though I used to take
to the woods most of the time when he was around. Well, about this
time he was found in the river drownded, about twelve mile above town,
so people said. They judged it was him, anyway; said this drownded man
was just his size, and was ragged, and had uncommon long hair, which
was all like pap; but they couldn't make nothing out of the face,
because it had been in the water so long it warn't much like a face at
all. They said he was floating on his back in the water. They took him
and buried him on the bank. But I warn't comfortable long, because I
happened to think of something. I knowed mighty well that a drownded
man don't float on his back, but on his face. So I knowed, then, that
this warn't pap, but a woman dressed up in a man's clothes. So I was
uncomfortable again. I judged the old man would turn up again by and
by, though I wished he wouldn't.

We played robber now and then about a month, and then I resigned. All
the boys did. We hadn't robbed nobody, hadn't killed any people, but
only just pretended. We used to hop out of the woods and go charging
down on hog-drivers and women in carts taking garden stuff to market,
but we never hived any of them. Tom Sawyer called the hogs "ingots,"
and he called the turnips and stuff "julery," and we would go to the
cave and powwow over what we had done, and how many people we had
killed and marked. But I couldn't see no profit in it. One time Tom
sent a boy to run about town with a blazing stick, which he called a
slogan (which was the sign for the Gang to get together), and then he
said he had got secret news by his spies that next day a whole parcel
of Spanish merchants and rich A-rabs was going to camp in Cave Hollow
with two hundred elephants, and six hundred camels, and over a
thousand "sumter" mules, all loaded down with di'monds, and they
didn't have only a guard of four hundred soldiers, and so we would lay
in ambuscade, as he called it, and kill the lot and scoop the things.
He said we must slick up our swords and guns, and get ready. He never
could go after even a turnip-cart but he must have the swords and guns
all scoured up for it, though they was only lath and broomsticks, and
you might scour at them till you rotted, and then they warn't worth a
mouthful of ashes more than what they was before. I didn't believe we
could lick such a crowd of Spaniards and A-rabs, but I wanted to see
the camels and elephants, so I was on hand next day, Saturday, in the
ambuscade; and when we got the word we rushed out of the woods and
down the hill. But there warn't no Spaniards and A-rabs, and there
warn't no camels nor no elephants. It warn't anything but a
Sunday-school picnic, and only a primer class at that. We busted it
up, and chased the children up the hollow; but we never got anything
but some doughnuts and jam, though Ben Rogers got a rag doll, and Joe
Harper got a hymn-book and a tract; and then the teacher charged in,
and made us drop everything and cut. I didn't see no di'monds, and I
told Tom Sawyer so. He said there was loads of them there, anyway; and
he said there was A-rabs there, too, and elephants and things. I said,
why couldn't we see them, then? He said if I warn't so ignorant, but
had read a book called Don Quixote, I would know without asking. He
said it was all done by enchantment. He said there was hundreds of
soldiers there, and elephants and treasure, and so on, but we had
enemies which he called magicians, and they had turned the whole thing
into an infant Sunday-school, just out of spite. I said, all right;
then the thing for us to do was to go for the magicians. Tom Sawyer
said I was a numskull.

"Why," said he, "a magician could call up a lot of genies, and they
would hash you up like nothing before you could say Jack Robinson.
They are as tall as a tree and as big around as a church."

"Well," I says, "s'pose we got some genies to help _us_--can't we lick
the other crowd then?"

"How you going to get them?"

"I don't know. How do _they_ get them?"

"Why, they rub an old tin lamp or an iron ring, and then the genies
come tearing in, with the thunder and lightning a-ripping around and
the smoke a-rolling, and everything they're told to do they up and do
it. They don't think nothing of pulling a shot-tower up by the roots,
and belting a Sunday-school superintendent over the head with it--or
any other man."

"Who makes them tear around so?"

"Why, whoever rubs the lamp or the ring. They belong to whoever rubs
the lamp or the ring, and they've got to do whatever he says. If he
tells them to build a palace forty miles long out of di'monds, and
fill it full of chewing-gum, or whatever you want, and fetch an
emperor's daughter from China for you to marry, they've got to do
it--and they've got to do it before sun-up next morning, too. And
more: they've got to waltz that palace around over the country
wherever you want it, you understand."

"Well," says I, "I think they are a pack of 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

"How you talk, Huck Finn. Why, you'd _have_ to come when he rubbed it,
whether you wanted to or not."

"What! and I as high as a tree and as big as a church? All right,
then; I _would_ come; but I lay I'd make that man climb the highest
tree there was in the country."

"Shucks, it ain't no use to talk to you, Huck Finn. You don't seem to
know anything, somehow--perfect saphead."

I thought all this over for two or three days, and then I reckoned I
would see if there was anything in it. I got an old tin lamp and an
iron ring, and went out in the woods and rubbed and rubbed till I
sweat like an Injun, calculating to build a palace and sell it; but it
warn't no use, none of the genies come. So then I judged that all that
stuff was only just one of Tom Sawyer's lies. I reckoned he believed
in the A-rabs and the elephants, but as for me I think different. It
had all the marks of a Sunday-school.


Well, three or four months run along, and it was well into the winter
now. I had been to school most all the time and could spell and read
and write just a little, and could say the multiplication table up to
six times seven is thirty-five, and I don't reckon I could ever get
any further than that if I was to live forever. I don't take no stock
in mathematics, anyway.

At first I hated the school, but by and by I got so I could stand it.
Whenever I got uncommon tired I played hookey, and the hiding I got
next day done me good and cheered me up. So the longer I went to
school the easier it got to be. I was getting sort of used to the
widow's ways, too, and they warn't so raspy on me. Living in a house
and sleeping in a bed pulled on me pretty tight mostly, but before the
cold weather I used to slide out and sleep in the woods sometimes, and
so that was a rest to me. I liked the old ways best, but I was getting
so I liked the new ones, too, a little bit. The widow said I was
coming along slow but sure, and doing very satisfactory. She said she
warn't ashamed of me.

One morning I happened to turn over the salt-cellar at breakfast. I
reached for some of it as quick as I could to throw over my left
shoulder and keep off the bad luck, but Miss Watson was in ahead of
me, and crossed me off. She says, "Take your hands away, Huckleberry;
what a mess you are always making!" The widow put in a good word for
me, but that warn't going to keep off the bad luck, I knowed that well
enough. I started out, after breakfast, feeling worried and shaky, and
wondering where it was going to fall on me, and what it was going to
be. There is ways to keep off some kinds of bad luck, but this wasn't
one of them kind; so I never tried to do anything, but just poked
along low-spirited and on the watch-out.

I went down to the front garden and clumb over the stile where you go
through the high board fence. There was an inch of new snow on the
ground, and I seen somebody's tracks. They had come up from the quarry
and stood around the stile awhile, and then went on around the garden
fence. It was funny they hadn't come in, after standing around so. I
couldn't make it out. It was very curious, somehow. I was going to
follow around, but I stooped down to look at the tracks first. I
didn't notice anything at first, but next I did. There was a cross in
the left boot-heel made with big nails, to keep off the devil.

I was up in a second and shinning down the hill. I looked over my
shoulder every now and then, but I didn't see nobody. I was at Judge
Thatcher's as quick as I could get there. He said:

"Why, my boy, you are all out of breath. Did you come for your

"No, sir," I says; "is there some for me?"

"Oh, yes, a half-yearly is in last night--over a hundred and fifty
dollars. Quite a fortune for you. You had better let me invest it
along with your six thousand, because if you take it you'll spend it."

"No, sir," I says, "I don't want to spend it. I don't want it at
all--nor the six thousand, nuther. I want you to take it; I want to
give it to you--the six thousand and all."

He looked surprised. He couldn't seem to make it out. He says:

"Why, what can you mean, my boy?"

I says, "Don't you ask me no questions about it, please. You'll take
it--won't you?"

He says:

"Well, I'm puzzled. Is something the matter?"

"Please take it," says I, "and don't ask me nothing--then I won't have
to tell no lies."

He studied awhile, and then he says:

"Oho-o! I think I see. You want to _sell_ all your property to me--not
give it. That's the correct idea."

Then he wrote something on a paper and read it over, and says:

"There; you see it says 'for a consideration.' That means I have
bought it of you and paid you for it. Here's a dollar for you. Now you
sign it."

So I signed it, and left.

Miss Watson's nigger, Jim, had a hair-ball as big as your fist, which
had been took out of the fourth stomach of an ox, and he used to do
magic with it. He said there was a spirit inside of it, and it knowed
everything. So I went to him that night and told him pap was here
again, for I found his tracks in the snow. What I wanted to know was,
what he was going to do, and was he going to stay? Jim got out his
hair-ball and said something over it, and then he held it up and
dropped it on the floor. It fell pretty solid, and only rolled about
an inch. Jim tried it again, and then another time, and it acted just
the same. Jim got down on his knees, and put his ear against it and
listened. But it warn't no use; he said it wouldn't talk. He said
sometimes it wouldn't talk without money. I told him I had an old
slick counterfeit quarter that warn't no good because the brass showed
through the silver a little, and it wouldn't pass nohow, even if the
brass didn't show, because it was so slick it felt greasy, and so that
would tell on it every time. (I reckoned I wouldn't say nothing about
the dollar I got from the judge.) I said it was pretty bad money, but
maybe the hair-ball would take it, because maybe it wouldn't know the
difference. Jim smelt it and bit it and rubbed it, and said he would
manage so the hair-ball would think it was good. He said he would
split open a raw Irish potato and stick the quarter in between and
keep it there all night, and next morning you couldn't see no brass,
and it wouldn't feel greasy no more, and so anybody in town would take
it in a minute, let alone a hair-ball. Well, I knowed a potato would
do that before, but I had forgot it.

Jim put the quarter under the hair-ball, and got down and listened
again. This time he said the hair-ball was all right. He said it would
tell my whole fortune if I wanted it to. I says, go on. So the
hair-ball talked to Jim, and Jim told it to me. He says:

"Yo' ole father doan' know yit what he's a-gwyne to do. Sometimes he
spec he'll go 'way, en den ag'in he spec he'll stay. De bes' way is to
res' easy en let de ole man take his own way. Dey's two angels
hoverin' roun' 'bout him. One uv 'em is white en shiny, en t'other one
is black. De white one gits him to go right a little while, den de
black one sail in en bust it all up. A body can't tell yit which one
gwyne to fetch him at de las'. But you is all right. You gwyne to have
considable trouble in yo' life, en considable joy. Sometimes you gwyne
to git hurt, en sometimes you gwyne to git sick; but every time you's
gwyne to git well ag'in. Dey's two gals flyin' 'bout you in yo' life.
One uv 'em's light en t'other one is dark. One is rich en t'other is
po'. You's gwyne to marry de po' one fust en de rich one by en by. You
wants to keep 'way fum de water as much as you kin, en don't run no
resk, 'kase it's down in de bills dat you's gwyne to git hung."

When I lit my candle and went up to my room that night there sat
pap--his own self!


I had shut the door to. Then I turned around, and there he was. I used
to be scared of him all the time, he tanned me so much. I reckoned I
was scared now, too; but in a minute I see I was mistaken--that is,
after the first jolt, as you may say, when my breath sort of hitched,
he being so unexpected; but right away after I see I warn't scared of
him worth bothring about.

He was most fifty, and he looked it. His hair was long and tangled and
greasy, and hung down, and you could see his eyes shining through like
he was behind vines. It was all black, no gray; so was his long,
mixed-up whiskers. There warn't no color in his face, where his face
showed; it was white; not like another man's white, but a white to
make a body sick, a white to make a body's flesh crawl--a tree-toad
white, a fish-belly white. As for his clothes--just rags, that was
all. He had one ankle resting on t'other knee; the boot on that foot
was busted, and two of his toes stuck through, and he worked them now
and then. His hat was laying on the floor--an old black slouch with
the top caved in, like a lid.

I stood a-looking at him; he set there a-looking at me, with his chair
tilted back a little. I set the candle down. I noticed the window was
up; so he had clumb in by the shed. He kept a-looking me all over. By
and by he says:

"Starchy clothes--very. You think you're a good deal of a big-bug,
_don't_ you?"

"Maybe I am, maybe I ain't," I says.

"Don't you give me none o' your lip," says he. "You've put on
considerable many frills since I been away. I'll take you down a peg
before I get done with you. You're educated, too, they say--can read
and write. You think you're better'n your father, now, don't you,
because he can't? _I'll_ take it out of you. Who told you you might
meddle with such hifalut'n foolishness, hey?--who told you you could?"

"The widow. She told me."

"The widow, hey?--and who told the widow she could put in her shovel
about a thing that ain't none of her business?"

"Nobody never told her."

"Well, I'll learn her how to meddle. And looky here--you drop that
school, you hear? I'll learn people to bring up a boy to put on airs
over his own father and let on to be better'n what _he_ is. You lemme
catch you fooling around that school again, you hear? Your mother
couldn't read, and she couldn't write, nuther, before she died. None
of the family couldn't before _they_ died. I can't; and here you're
a-swelling yourself up like this. I ain't the man to stand it--you
hear? Say, lemme hear you read."

I took up a book and begun something about General Washington and the
wars. When I'd read about a half a minute, he fetched the book a whack
with his hand and knocked it across the house. He says:

"It's so. You can do it. I had my doubts when you told me. Now looky
here; you stop that putting on frills. I won't have it. I'll lay for
you, my smarty; and if I catch you about that school I'll tan you
good. First you know you'll get religion, too. I never see such a

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

When he got out the new judge said he was a-going to make a man of
him. So he took him to his own house, and dressed him up clean and
nice, and had him to breakfast and dinner and supper with the family,
and was just old pie to him, so to speak. And after supper he talked
to him about temperance and such things till the old man cried, and
said he'd been a fool, and fooled away his life; but now he was
a-going to turn over a new leaf and be a man nobody wouldn't be
ashamed of, and he hoped the judge would help him and not look down on
him. The judge said he could hug him for them words; so he cried, and
his wife she cried again; pap said he'd been a man that had always
been misunderstood before, and the judge said he believed it. The old
man said that what a man wanted that was down was sympathy, and the
judge said it was so; so they cried again. And when it was bedtime the
old man rose up and held out his hand, and says:

"Look at it, gentlemen and ladies all; take a-hold of it; shake it.
There's a hand that was the hand of a hog; but it ain't so no more;
it's the hand of a man that's started in on a new life, and'll die
before he'll go back. You mark them words--don't forget I said them.
It's a clean hand now; shake it--don't be afeard."

So they shook it, one after the other, all around, and cried. The
judge's wife she kissed it. Then the old man he signed a pledge--made
his mark. The judge said it was the holiest time on record, or
something like that. Then they tucked the old man into a beautiful
room, which was the spare room, and in the night some time he got
powerful thirsty and clumb out on to the porch-roof and slid down a
stanchion and traded his new coat for a jug of forty-rod, and clumb
back again and had a good old time; and toward daylight he crawled out
again, drunk as a fiddler, and rolled off the porch and broke his left
arm in two places, and was most froze to death when somebody found him
after sun-up. And when they come to look at that spare room they had
to take soundings before they could navigate it.

The judge he felt kind of sore. He said he reckoned a body could
reform the old man with a shotgun, maybe, but he didn't know no other


Well, pretty soon the old man was up and around again, and then he
went for Judge Thatcher in the courts to make him give up that money,
and he went for me, too, for not stopping school. He catched me a
couple of times and thrashed me, but I went to school just the same,
and dodged him or outrun him most of the time. I didn't want to go to
school much before, but I reckoned I'd go now to spite pap. That law
trial was a slow business--appeared like they warn't ever going to get
started on it; so every now and then I'd borrow two or three dollars
off of the judge for him, to keep from getting a cowhiding. Every time
he got money he got drunk; and every time he got drunk he raised Cain
around town; and every time he raised Cain he got jailed. He was just
suited--this kind of thing was right in his line.

He got to hanging around the widow's too much, and so she told him at
last that if he didn't quit using around there she would make trouble
for him. Well, _wasn't_ he mad? He said he would show who was Huck
Finn's boss. So he watched out for me one day in the spring, and
catched me, and took me up the river about three mile in a skiff, and
crossed over to the Illinois shore where it was woody and there warn't
no houses but an old log hut in a place where the timber was so thick
you couldn't find it if you didn't know where it was.

He kept me with him all the time, and I never got a chance to run off.
We lived in that old cabin, and he always locked the door and put the
key under his head nights. He had a gun which he had stole, I reckon,
and we fished and hunted, and that was what we lived on. Every little
while he locked me in and went down to the store, three miles, to the
ferry, and traded fish and game for whisky, and fetched it home and
got drunk and had a good time, and licked me. The widow she found out
where I was by and by, and she sent a man over to try to get hold of
me; but pap drove him off with the gun, and it warn't long after that
till I was used to being where I was, and liked it--all but the
cowhide part.

It was kind of lazy and jolly, laying off comfortable all day, smoking
and fishing, and no books nor study. Two months or more run along, and
my clothes got to be all rags and dirt, and I didn't see how I'd ever
got to like it so well at the widow's, where you had to wash, and eat
on a plate, and comb up, and go to bed and get up regular, and be
forever bothering over a book, and have old Miss Watson pecking at you
all the time. I didn't want to go back no more. I had stopped cussing,
because the widow didn't like it; but now I took to it again because
pap hadn't no objections. It was pretty good times up in the woods
there, take it all around.

But by and by pap got too handy with his hick'ry, and I couldn't stand
it. I was all over welts. He got to going away so much, too, and
locking me in. Once he locked me in and was gone three days. It was
dreadful lonesome. I judged he had got drownded, and I wasn't ever
going to get out any more. I was scared. I made up my mind I would fix
up some way to leave there. I had tried to get out of that cabin many
a time, but I couldn't find no way. There warn't a window to it big
enough for a dog to get through. I couldn't get up the chimbly; it was
too narrow. The door was thick, solid oak slabs. Pap was pretty
careful not to leave a knife or anything in the cabin when he was
away; I reckon I had hunted the place over as much as a hundred times;
well, I was most all the time at it, because it was about the only way
to put in the time. But this time I found something at last; I found
an old rusty wood-saw without any handle; it was laid in between a
rafter and the clapboards of the roof. I greased it up and went to
work. There was an old horse-blanket nailed against the logs at the
far end of the cabin behind the table, to keep the wind from blowing
through the chinks and putting the candle out. I got under the table
and raised the blanket, and went to work to saw a section of the big
bottom log out--big enough to let me through. Well, it was a good long
job, but I was getting toward the end of it when I heard pap's gun in
the woods. I got rid of the signs of my work, and dropped the blanket
and hid my saw, and pretty soon pap come in.

Pap warn't in a good humor--so he was his natural self. He said he was
down-town, and everything was going wrong. His lawyer said he reckoned
he would win his lawsuit and get the money if they ever got started on
the trial; but then there was ways to put it off a long time, and
Judge Thatcher knowed how to do it. And he said people allowed there'd
be another trial to get me away from him and give me to the widow for
my guardian, and they guessed it would win this time. This shook me up
considerable, because I didn't want to go back to the widow's any more
and be so cramped up and sivilized, as they called it. Then the old
man got to cussing, and cussed everything and everybody he could think
of, and then cussed them all over again to make sure he hadn't skipped
any, and after that he polished off with a kind of a general cuss all
round, including a considerable parcel of people which he didn't know
the names of, and so called them what's-his-name when he got to them,
and went right along with his cussing.

He said he would like to see the widow get me. He said he would watch
out, and if they tried to come any such game on him he knowed of a
place six or seven mile off to stow me in, where they might hunt till
they dropped and they couldn't find me. That made me pretty uneasy
again, but only for a minute; I reckoned I wouldn't stay on hand till
he got that chance.

The old man made me go to the skiff and fetch the things he had got.
There was a fifty-pound sack of corn meal, and a side of bacon,
ammunition, and a four-gallon jug of whisky, and an old book and two
newspapers for wadding, besides some tow. I toted up a load, and went
back and set down on the bow of the skiff to rest. I thought it all
over, and I reckoned I would walk off with the gun and some lines, and
take to the woods when I run away. I guessed I wouldn't stay in one
place, but just tramp right across the country, mostly night-times,
and hunt and fish to keep alive, and so get so far away that the old
man nor the widow couldn't ever find me any more. I judged I would saw
out and leave that night if pap got drunk enough, and I reckoned he
would. I got so full of it I didn't notice how long I was staying till
the old man hollered and asked me whether I was asleep or drownded.

I got the things all up to the cabin, and then it was about dark.
While I was cooking supper the old man took a swig or two and got sort
of warmed up, and went to ripping again. He had been drunk over in
town, and laid in the gutter all night, and he was a sight to look at.
A body would 'a' thought he was Adam--he was just all mud. Whenever
his liquor begun to work he most always went for the govment. This
time he says:

"Call this a govment! why, just look at it and see what it's like.
Here's the law a-standing ready to take a man's son away from him--a
man's own son, which he has had all the trouble and all the anxiety
and all the expense of raising. Yes, just as that man has got that son
raised at last, and ready to go to work and begin to do suthin' for
_him_ and give him a rest, the law up and goes for him. And they call
_that_ govment! That ain't all, nuther. The law backs that old Judge
Thatcher up and helps him to keep me out o' my property. Here's what
the law does: The law takes a man worth six thousand dollars and
up'ards, and jams him into an old trap of a cabin like this, and lets
him go round in clothes that ain't fitten for a hog. They call that
govment! A man can't get his rights in a govment like this. Sometimes
I've a mighty notion to just leave the country for good and all. Yes,
and I _told_ 'em so; I told old Thatcher so to his face. Lots of 'em
heard me, and can tell what I said. Says I, for two cents I'd leave
the blamed country and never come a-near it ag'in. 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

"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 ag'in. Them's the very words I said; they all heard
me; and the country may rot for all me--I'll never vote ag'in as long
as I live. And to see the cool way of that nigger--why, he wouldn't
'a' give me the road if I hadn't shoved him out o' the way. I says to
the people, why ain't this nigger put up at auction and sold?--that's
what I want to know. And what do you reckon they said? Why, they said
he couldn't be sold till he'd been in the state six months, and he
hadn't been there that long yet. There, now--that's a specimen. They
call that a govment that can't sell a free nigger till he's been in
the state six months. Here's a govment that calls itself a govment,
and lets on to be a govment, and thinks it is a govment, and yet's got
to set stock-still for six whole months before it can take a-hold of a
prowling, thieving, infernal, white-shirted free nigger, and--"

Pap was a-going on so he never noticed where his old limber legs was
taking him to, so he went head over heels over the tub of salt pork
and barked both shins, and the rest of his speech was all the hottest
kind of language--mostly hove at the nigger and the govment, though he
give the tub some, too, all along, here and there. He hopped around
the cabin considerable, first on one leg and then on the other,
holding first one shin and then the other one, and at last he let out
with his left foot all of a sudden and fetched the tub a rattling
kick. But it warn't good judgment, because that was the boot that had
a couple of his toes leaking out of the front end of it; so now he
raised a howl that fairly made a body's hair raise, and down he went
in the dirt, and rolled there, and held his toes; and the cussing he
done then laid over anything he had ever done previous. He said so his
own self afterwards. He had heard old Sowberry Hagan in his best days,
and he said it laid over him, too; but I reckon that was sort of
piling it on, maybe.

After supper pap took the jug, and said he had enough whisky there for
two drunks and one delirium tremens. That was always his word. I
judged he would be blind drunk in about an hour, and then I would
steal the key, or saw myself out, one or t'other. He drank and drank,
and tumbled down on his blankets by and by; but luck didn't run my
way. He didn't go sound asleep, but was uneasy. He groaned and moaned
and thrashed around this way and that for a long time. At last I got
so sleepy I couldn't keep my eyes open all I could do, and so before I
knowed what I was about I was sound asleep, and the candle burning.

I don't know how long I was asleep, but all of a sudden there was an
awful scream and I was up. There was pap looking wild, and skipping
around every which way and yelling about snakes. He said they was
crawling up his legs; and then he would give a jump and scream, and
say one had bit him on the cheek--but I couldn't see no snakes. He
started and run round and round the cabin, hollering "Take him off!
take him off! he's biting me on the neck!" I never see a man look so
wild in the eyes. Pretty soon he was all fagged out, and fell down
panting; then he rolled over and over wonderful fast, kicking things
every which way, and striking and grabbing at the air with his hands,
and screaming and saying there was devils a-hold of him. He wore out
by and by, and laid still awhile, 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 split-bottom
chair and clumb up as easy as I could, not to make any noise, and got
down the gun. I slipped the ramrod down it to make sure it was loaded,
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
cordwood floating down, and pieces of log rafts--sometimes a dozen
logs together; so all you have to do is to catch them and sell them to
the woodyards and the sawmill.

I went along up the bank with one eye out for pap and t'other one out
for what the rise might fetch along. Well, all at once here comes a
canoe; just a beauty, too, about thirteen or fourteen foot long,
riding high like a duck. I shot head-first off of the bank like a
frog, clothes and all on, and struck out for the canoe. I just
expected there'd be somebody laying down in it, because people often
done that to fool folks, and when a chap had pulled a skiff out most
to it they'd raise up and laugh at him. But it warn't so this time. It
was a drift-canoe sure enough, and I clumb in and paddled her ashore.
Thinks I, the old man will be glad when he sees this--she's worth ten
dollars. But when I got to shore pap wasn't in sight yet, and as I was
running her into a little creek like a gully, all hung over with vines
and willows, I struck another idea: I judged I'd hide her good, and
then, 'stead of taking to the woods when I run off, I'd go down the
river about fifty mile and camp in one place for good, and not have
such a rough time tramping on foot.

It was pretty close to the shanty, and I thought I heard the old man
coming all the time; but I got her hid; and then I out and looked
around a bunch of willows, and there was the old man down the path a
piece just drawing a bead on a bird with his gun. So he hadn't seen

When he got along I was hard at it taking up a "trot" line. He abused
me a little for being so slow; but I told him I fell in the river, and
that was what made me so long. I knowed he would see I was wet, and
then he would be asking questions. We got five catfish off the lines
and went home.

While we laid off after breakfast to sleep up, both of us being about
wore out, I got to thinking that if I could fix up some way to keep
pap and the widow from trying to follow me, it would be a certainer
thing than trusting to luck to get far enough off before they missed
me; you see, all kinds of things might happen. Well, I didn't see no
way for a while, but by and by pap raised up a minute to drink another
barrel of water, and he says:

"Another time a man comes a-prowling round here you roust me out, you
hear? That man warn't here for no good. I'd a shot him. Next time you
roust me out, you hear?"

Then he dropped down and went to sleep again; what he had been saying
give me the very idea I wanted. I says to myself, I can fix it now so
nobody won't think of following me.

About twelve o'clock we turned out and went along up the bank. The
river was coming up pretty fast, and lots of driftwood going by on the
rise. By and by along comes part of a log raft--nine logs fast
together. We went out with the skiff and towed it ashore. Then we had
dinner. Anybody but pap would 'a' waited and seen the day through, so
as to catch more stuff; but that warn't pap's style. Nine logs was
enough for one time; he must shove right over to town and sell. So he
locked me in and took the skiff, and started off towing the raft about
half past three. I judged he wouldn't come back that night. I waited
till I reckoned he had got a good start; then I out with my saw, and
went to work on that log again. Before he was t'other side of the
river I was out of the hole; him and his raft was just a speck on the
water away off yonder.

[Illustration: HUCKLEBERRY FINN]

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; 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 ax, but there
wasn't any, only the one out at the woodpile, and I knowed why I was
going to leave that. I fetched out the gun, and now I was done.

I had wore the ground a good deal crawling out of the hole and
dragging out so many things. So I fixed that as good as I could from
the outside by scattering dust on the place, which covered up the
smoothness and the sawdust. Then I fixed the piece of log back into
its place, and put two rocks under it and one against it to hold it
there, for it was bent up at that place and didn't quite touch ground.
If you stood four or five foot away and didn't know it was sawed, you
wouldn't never notice it; and besides, this was the back of the cabin,
and it warn't likely anybody would go fooling around there.

It was all grass clear to the canoe, so I hadn't left a track. I
followed around to see. I stood on the bank and looked out over the
river. All safe. So I took the gun and went up a piece into the woods,
and was hunting around for some birds when I see a wild pig; hogs soon
went wild in them bottoms after they had got away from the
prairie-farms. I shot this fellow and took him into camp.

I took the ax 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 ax, and laid
him down on the ground to bleed; I say ground because it was
ground--hard packed, and no boards. Well, next I took an old sack and
put a lot of big rocks in it--all I could drag--and I started it from
the pig, and dragged it to the door and through the woods down to the
river and dumped it in, and down it sunk, out of sight. You could easy
see that something had been dragged over the ground. I did wish Tom
Sawyer was there; I knowed he would take an interest in this kind of
business, and throw in the fancy touches. Nobody could spread himself
like Tom Sawyer in such a thing as that.

Well, last I pulled out some of my hair, and blooded the ax good, and
stuck it on the back side, and slung the ax in the corner. Then I took
up the pig and held him to my breast with my jacket (so he couldn't
drip) till I got a good piece below the house and then dumped him into
the river. Now I thought of something else. So I went and got the bag
of meal and my old saw out of the canoe, and fetched them to the
house. I took the bag to where it used to stand, and ripped a hole in
the bottom of it with the saw, for there warn't no knives and forks on
the place--pap done everything with his clasp-knife about the cooking.
Then I carried the sack about a hundred yards across the grass and
through the willows east of the house, to a shallow lake that was five
mile wide and full of rushes--and ducks too, you might say, in the
season. There was a slough or a creek leading out of it on the other
side that went miles away, I don't know where, but it didn't go to the
river. The meal sifted out and made a little track all the way to the
lake. I dropped pap's whetstone there too, so as to look like it had
been done by accident. Then I tied up the rip in the meal-sack with a
string, so it wouldn't leak no more, and took it and my saw to the
canoe again.

It was about dark now; so I dropped the canoe down the river under
some willows that hung over the bank, and waited for the moon to rise.
I made fast to a willow; then I took a bite to eat, and by and by laid
down in the canoe to smoke a pipe and lay out a plan. I says to
myself, they'll follow the track of that sackful of rocks to the shore
and then drag the river for me. And they'll follow that meal track to
the lake and go browsing down the creek that leads out of it to find
the robbers that killed me and took the things. They won't ever hunt
the river for anything but my dead carcass. They'll soon get tired of
that, and won't bother no more about me. All right; I can stop
anywhere I want to. Jackson's Island is good enough for me; I know
that island pretty well, and nobody ever comes there. And then I can
paddle over to town nights, and slink around and pick up things I
want. Jackson's Island's the place.

I was pretty tired, and the first thing I knowed I was asleep. When I
woke up I didn't know where I was for a minute. I set up and looked
around, a little scared. Then I remembered. The river looked miles and
miles across. The moon was so bright I could 'a' counted the
drift-logs that went a-slipping along, black and still, hundreds of
yards out from shore. Everything was dead quiet, and it looked late,
and _smelt_ late. You know what I mean--I don't know the words to put
it in.

I took a good gap and a stretch, and was just going to unhitch and
start when I heard a sound away over the water. I listened. Pretty
soon I made it out. It was that dull kind of a regular sound that
comes from oars working in rowlocks when it's a still night. I peeped
out through the willow branches, and there it was--a skiff, away
across the water. I couldn't tell how many was in it. It kept
a-coming, and when it was abreast of me I see there warn't but one man
in it. Thinks I, maybe it's pap, though I warn't expecting him. He
dropped below me with the current, and by and by he came a-swinging up
shore in the easy water, and he went by so close I could 'a' reached
out the gun and touched him. Well, it _was_ pap, sure enough--and
sober, too, by the way he laid his oars.

I didn't lose no time. The next minute I was a-spinning down-stream
soft, but quick, in the shade of the bank. I made two mile and a half,
and then struck out a quarter of a mile or more toward the middle of
the river, because pretty soon I would be passing the ferry-landing,
and people might see me and hail me. I got out amongst the driftwood,
and then laid down in the bottom of the canoe and let her float. I
laid there, and had a good rest and a smoke out of my pipe, looking
away into the sky; not a cloud in it. The sky looks ever so deep when
you lay down on your back in the moonshine; I never knowed it before.
And how far a body can hear on the water such nights! I heard people
talking at the ferry-landing. I heard what they said, too--every word
of it. One man said it was getting towards the long days and the short
nights now. T'other one said _this_ warn't one of the short ones, he
reckoned--and then they laughed, and he said it over again, and they
laughed again; then they waked up another fellow and told him, and
laughed, but he didn't laugh; he ripped out something brisk, and said
let him alone. The first fellow said he 'lowed to tell it to his old
woman--she would think it was pretty good; but he said that warn't
nothing to some things he had said in his time. I heard one man say it
was nearly three o'clock, and he hoped daylight wouldn't wait more
than about a week longer. After that the talk got further and further
away, and I couldn't make out the words any more; but I could hear the
mumble, and now and then a laugh, too, but it seemed a long ways off.

I was away below the ferry now. I rose up, and there was Jackson's
Island, about two mile and a half down-stream, heavy-timbered and
standing up out of the middle of the river, big and dark and solid,
like a steamboat without any lights. There warn't any signs of the bar
at the head--it was all under water now.

It didn't take me long to get there. I shot past the head at a ripping
rate, the current was so swift, and then I got into the dead water and
landed on the side towards the Illinois shore. I run the canoe into a
deep dent in the bank that I knowed about; I had to part the willow
branches to get in; and when I made fast nobody could 'a' seen the
canoe from the outside.

I went up and set down on a log at the head of the island, and looked
out on the big river and the black driftwood and away over to the
town, three mile away, where there was three or four lights twinkling.
A monstrous big lumber-raft was about a mile upstream, 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 thinks I hears a deep
sound of "boom!" away up the river. I rouses up, and rests on my elbow
and listens; pretty soon I hears it again. I hopped up, and went and
looked out at a hole in the leaves, and I see a bunch of smoke laying
on the water a long ways up--about abreast the ferry. And there was
the ferryboat full of people floating along down. I knowed what was
the matter now. "Boom!" I see the white smoke squirt out of the
ferryboat's side. You see, they was firing cannon over the water,
trying to make my carcass come to the top.

I was pretty hungry, but it warn't going to do for me to start a fire,
because they might see the smoke. So I set there and watched the
cannon-smoke and listened to the boom. The river was a mile wide
there, and it always looks pretty on a summer morning--so I was having
a good enough time seeing them hunt for my remainders if I only had a
bite to eat. Well, then I happened to think how they always put
quicksilver in loaves of bread and float them off, because they always
go right to the drownded carcass and stop there. So, says I, I'll keep
a lookout, and if any of them's floating around after me I'll give
them a show. I changed to the Illinois edge of the island to see what
luck I could have, and I warn't disappointed. A big double loaf come
along, and I most got it with a long stick, but my foot slipped and
she floated out further. Of course I was where the current set in the
closest to the shore--I knowed enough for that. But by and by along
comes another one, and this time I won. I took out the plug and shook
out the little dab of quicksilver, and set my teeth in. It was
"baker's bread"--what the quality eat; none of your low-down

I got a good place amongst the leaves, and set there on a log,
munching the bread and watching the ferry-boat, and very well
satisfied. And then something struck me. I says, now I reckon the
widow or the parson or somebody prayed that this bread would find me,
and here it has gone and done it. So there ain't no doubt but there is
something in that thing--that is, there's something in it when a body
like the widow or the parson prays, but it don't work for me, and I
reckon it don't work for only just the right kind.

I lit a pipe and had a good long smoke, and went on watching. The
ferryboat was floating with the current, and I allowed I'd have a
chance to see who was aboard when she come along, because she would
come in close, where the bread did. When she'd got pretty well along
down towards me, I put out my pipe and went to where I fished out the
bread, and laid down behind a log on the bank in a little open place.
Where the log forked I could peep through.

By and by she come along, and she drifted in so close that they could
'a' run out a plank and walked ashore. Most everybody was on the boat.
Pap, and Judge Thatcher, and Bessie Thatcher, and Joe 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 awhile. They turned around the foot of the island and started up
the channel on the Missouri side, under steam, and booming once in a
while as they went. I crossed over to that side and watched them. When
they got abreast the head of the island they quit shooting and dropped
over to the Missouri shore and went home to the town.

I knowed I was all right now. Nobody else would come a-hunting after
me. I got my traps out of the canoe and made me a nice camp in the
thick woods. I made a kind of a tent out of my blankets to put my
things under so the rain couldn't get at them. I catched a catfish and
haggled him open with my saw, and towards sundown I started my
camp-fire and had supper. Then I set out a line to catch some fish for

When it was dark I set by my camp-fire smoking, and feeling pretty
well satisfied; but by and by it got sort of lonesome, and so I went
and set on the bank and listened to the current swashing along, and
counted the stars and drift-logs and rafts that come down, and then
went to bed; there ain't no better way to put in time when you are
lonesome; you can't stay so, you soon get over it.

And so for three days and nights. No difference--just the same thing.
But the next day I went exploring around down through the island. I
was boss of it; it all belonged to me, so to say, and I wanted to know
all about it; but mainly I wanted to put in the time. I found plenty
strawberries, ripe and prime; and green summer grapes, and green
razberries; and the green blackberries was just beginning to show.
They would all come handy by and by, I judged.

Well, I went fooling along in the deep woods till I judged I warn't
far from the foot of the island. I had my gun along, but I hadn't shot
nothing; it was for protection; thought I would kill some game nigh
home. About this time I mighty near stepped on a good-sized snake, and
it went sliding off through the grass and flowers, and I after it,
trying to get a shot at it. I clipped along, and all of a sudden I
bounded right on to the ashes of a camp-fire that was still smoking.

My heart jumped up amongst my lungs. I never waited for to look
further, but uncocked my gun and went sneaking back on my tiptoes as
fast as ever I could. Every now and then I stopped a second amongst
the thick leaves and listened, but my breath come so hard I couldn't
hear nothing else. I slunk along another piece further, then listened
again; and so on, and so on. If I see a stump, I took it for a man; if
I trod on a stick and broke it, it made me feel like a person had cut
one of my breaths in two and I only got half, and the short half, too.

When I got to camp I warn't feeling very brash, there warn't much sand
in my craw; but I says, this ain't no time to be fooling around. So I
got all my traps into my canoe again so as to have them out of sight,
and I put out the fire and scattered the ashes around to look like an
old last-year's camp, and then clumb a tree.

I reckon I was up in the tree two hours; but I didn't see nothing, I
didn't hear nothing--I only _thought_ I heard and seen as much as a
thousand things. Well, I couldn't stay up there forever; so at last I
got down, but I kept in the thick woods and on the lookout all the
time. All I could get to eat was berries and what was left over from

By the time it was night I was pretty hungry. So when it was good and
dark I slid out from shore before moonrise and paddled over to the
Illinois bank--about a quarter of a mile. I went out in the woods and
cooked a supper, and I had about made up my mind I would stay there
all night when I hear a _plunkety-plunk_, _plunkety-plunk_, and says
to myself, horses coming; and next I hear people's voices. I got
everything into the canoe as quick as I could, and then went creeping
through the woods to see what I could find out. I hadn't got far when
I hear a man say:

"We better camp here if we can find a good place; the horses is about
beat out. Let's look around."

I didn't wait, but shoved out and paddled away easy. I tied up in the
old place, and reckoned I would sleep in the canoe.

I didn't sleep much. I couldn't, somehow, for thinking. And every time
I waked up I thought somebody had me by the neck. So the sleep didn't
do me no good. By and by I says to myself, I can't live this way; I'm
a-going to find out who it is that's here on the island with me; I'll
find it out or bust. Well, I felt better right off.

So I took my paddle and slid out from shore just a step or two, and
then let the canoe drop along down amongst the shadows. The moon was
shining, and outside of the shadows it made it most as light as day. I
poked along well on to an hour, everything still as rocks and sound
asleep. Well, by this time I was most down to the foot of the island.
A little ripply, cool breeze begun to blow, and that was as good as
saying the night was about done. I give her a turn with the paddle and
brung her nose to shore; then I got my gun and slipped out and into
the edge of the woods. I sat down there on a log, and looked out
through the leaves. I see the moon go off watch, and the darkness
begin to blanket the river. But in a little while I see a pale streak
over the treetops, and knowed the day was coming. So I took my gun and
slipped off towards where I had run across that camp-fire, stopping
every minute or two to listen. But I hadn't no luck somehow; I
couldn't seem to find the place. But by and by, sure enough, I catched
a glimpse of fire away through the trees. I went for it, cautious and
slow. By and by I was close enough to have a look, and there laid a
man on the ground. It most give me the fantods.  He had a blanket
around his head, and his head was nearly in the fire. I set there
behind a clump of bushes in about six foot of him, and kept my eyes on
him steady. It was getting gray daylight now. Pretty soon he gapped
and stretched himself and hove off the blanket, and it was Miss
Watson's Jim! I bet I was glad to see him. I says:

"Hello, Jim!" and skipped out.

He bounced up and stared at me wild. Then he drops down on his knees,
and puts his hands together and says:

"Doan' hurt me--don't! I hain't ever done no harm to a ghos'. I alwuz
liked dead people, en done all I could for 'em. You go en git in de
river ag'in, whah you b'longs, en doan' do nuffn to Ole Jim, 'at 'uz
alwuz yo' fren'."

Well, I warn't long making him understand I warn't dead. I was ever so
glad to see Jim. I warn't lonesome now. I told him I warn't afraid of
_him_ telling the people where I was. I talked along, but he only set
there and looked at me; never said nothing. Then I says:

"It's good daylight. Le's get breakfast. Make up your camp-fire good."

"What's de use er makin' up de camp-fire to cook strawbries en sich
truck? But you got a gun, hain't you? Den we kin git sumfn better den

"Strawberries and such truck," I says. "Is that what you live on?"

"I couldn' git nuffn else," he says.

"Why, how long you been on the island, Jim?"

"I come heah de night arter you's killed."

"What, all that time?"


"And ain't you had nothing but that kind of rubbage to eat?"

"No, sah--nuffn  else."

"Well, you must be most starved, ain't you?"

"I reck'n I could eat a hoss. I think I could. How long you ben on de

"Since the night I got killed."

"No! W'y, what has you lived on? But you got a gun. Oh, yes, you got a
gun. Dat's good. Now you kill sumfn en I'll make up de fire."

So we went over to where the canoe was, and while he built a fire in a
grassy open place amongst the trees, I fetched meal and bacon and
coffee, and coffee-pot and frying-pan, and sugar and tin cups, and the
nigger was set back considerable, because he reckoned it was all done
with witchcraft. I catched a good big catfish, too, and Jim cleaned
him with his knife, and fried him.

When breakfast was ready we lolled on the grass and eat it smoking
hot. Jim laid it in with all his might, for he was most about starved.
Then when we had got pretty well stuffed, we laid off and lazied.

By and by Jim says:

"But looky here, Huck, who wuz it dat 'uz killed in dat shanty ef it
warn't you?"

Then I told him the whole thing, and he said it was smart. He said Tom
Sawyer couldn't get up no better plan than what I had. Then I says:

"How do you come to be here, Jim, and how'd you get here?"

He looked pretty uneasy, and didn't say nothing for a minute. Then he

"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' tell--you know you said you wouldn'
tell, Huck."

"Well, I did. I said I wouldn't, and I'll stick to it. Honest _injun_,
I will. People would call me a low-down Abolitionist and despise me
for keeping mum--but that don't make no difference. I ain't a-going to
tell, and I ain't a-going back there, anyways. So, now, le's know all
about it."

"Well, you see, it 'uz dis way. Ole missus--dat's Miss Watson--she
pecks on me all de time, en treats me pooty rough, but she awluz said
she wouldn' sell me down to Orleans. But I noticed dey wuz a nigger
trader roun' de place considable lately, en I begin to git oneasy.
Well, one night I creeps to de do' pooty late, en de do' warn't quite
shet, en I hear old missus tell de widder she gwyne to sell me down to
Orleans, but she didn' want to, but she could git eight hund'd dollars
for me, en it 'uz sich a big stack o' money she couldn' resis'. De
widder she try to git her to say she wouldn't do it, but I never
waited to hear de res'. I lit out mighty quick, I tell you.

"I tuck out en shin down de hill, en 'spec to steal a skift 'long de
sho' som'ers 'bove de town, but dey wuz people a-stirring yit, so I
hid in de ole tumbledown cooper shop on de bank to wait for everybody
to go 'way. Well, I wuz dah all night. Dey wuz somebody roun' all de
time. 'Long 'bout six in de mawnin' skifts begin to go by, en 'bout
eight er nine every skift dat went 'long wuz talkin' 'bout how yo' pap
come over to de town en say you's killed. Dese las' skifts wuz full o'
ladies en genlmen a-goin' over for to see de place. Sometimes dey'd
pull up at de sho' en take a res' b'fo' dey started acrost, so by de
talk I got to know all 'bout de killin'. I 'uz powerful sorry you's
killed, Huck, but I ain't no mo' now.

"I laid dah under de shavin's all day. I 'uz hungry, but I warn't
afeard; bekase I knowed ole missus en de widder wuz goin' to start to
de camp-meet'n' right arter breakfas' en be gone all day, en dey knows
I goes off wid de cattle 'bout daylight, so dey wouldn' 'spec to see
me roun' de place, en so dey wouldn' miss me tell arter dark in de
evenin'. De yuther servants wouldn' miss me, kase dey'd shin out en
take holiday soon as de ole folks 'uz out'n de way.

"Well, when it come dark I tuck out up de river road, en went 'bout
two mile er more to whah dey warn't no houses. I'd made up my mine
'bout what I's a-gwyne to do. You see, ef I kep' on tryin' to git away
afoot, de dogs 'ud track me; ef I stole a skift to cross over, dey'd
miss dat skift, you see, en dey'd know 'bout whah I'd lan' on de
yuther side, en whah to pick up my track. So I says, a raff is what
I's arter; it doan' _make_ no track.

"I see a light a-comin' roun' de p'int bymeby, so I wade' in en shove'
a log ahead o' me en swum more'n half-way acrost de river, en got in
'mongst de drift-wood, en kep' my head down low, en kinder swum agin
de current tell de raff come along. Den I swum to de stern uv it en
tuck a-holt. It clouded up en 'uz pooty dark for a little while. So I
clumb up en laid down on de planks. De men 'uz all 'way yonder in de
middle, whah de lantern wuz. De river wuz a-risin', en dey wuz a good
current; so I reck'n'd 'at by fo' in de mawnin' I'd be twenty-five
mile down de river, en den I'd slip in jis b'fo' daylight en swim
asho', en take to de woods on de Illinois side.

"But I didn' have no luck. When we 'uz mos' down to de head er de
islan' a man begin to come aft wid de lantern. I see it warn't no use
fer to wait, so I slid overboard en struck out fer de islan'. Well, I
had a notion I could lan' mos' anywhers, but I couldn't--bank too
bluff. I uz mos' to de foot er de islan' b'fo' I 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 right."

"And so you ain't had no meat nor bread to eat all this time? Why
didn't you get mud-turkles?"

"How you gwyne to git 'm?  You can't slip up on um en grab um; en
how's a body gwyne to hit um wid a rock? How could a body do it in de
night? En I warn't gwyne to show mysef on de bank in de daytime."

"Well, that's so. You've had to keep in the woods all the time, of
course. Did you hear 'em shooting the cannon?"

"Oh, yes. I knowed dey was arter you. I see um go by heah--watched um
thoo de bushes."

Some young birds come along, flying a yard or two at a time and
lighting. Jim said it was a sign it was going to rain. He said it was
a sign when young chickens flew that way, and so he reckoned it was
the same way when young birds done it. I was going to catch some of
them, but Jim wouldn't let me. He said it was death. He said his
father laid mighty sick once, and some of them catched a bird, and his
old granny said his father would die, and he did.

And Jim said you mustn't count the things you are going to cook for
dinner, because that would bring bad luck. The same if you shook the
tablecloth after sundown. And he said if a man owned a beehive and
that man died, the bees must be told about it before sun-up next
morning, or else the bees would all weaken down and quit work and die.
Jim said bees wouldn't sting idiots; but I didn't believe that,
because I had tried them lots of times myself, and they wouldn't sting

I had heard about some of these things before, but not all of them.
Jim knowed all kinds of signs. He said he knowed most everything. I
said it looked to me like all the signs was about bad luck, and so I
asked him if there warn't any good-luck signs. He says:

"Mighty few--an' _dey_ ain't no use to a body. What you want to know
when good luck's a-comin' for? Want to keep it off?" And he said: "Ef
you's got hairy arms en a hairy breas', it's a sign dat you's a-gwyne
to be rich. Well, dey's some use in a sign like dat, 'kase it's so fur
ahead. You see, maybe you's got to be po' a long time fust, en so you
might git discourage' en kill yo'sef 'f you didn' know by de sign dat
you gwyne to be rich bymeby."

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

"What's de use to ax dat question? Don't you see I has?"

"Well, are you rich?"

"No, but I ben rich wunst, and gwyne to be rich ag'in. Wunst I had
foteen dollars, but I tuck to specalat'n', en got busted out."

"What did you speculate in, Jim?"

"Well, fust I tackled stock."

"What kind of stock?"

"Why, live stock--cattle, you know. I put ten dollars in a cow. But I
ain' gwyne to resk no mo' money in stock. De cow up 'n' died on my

"So you lost the ten dollars."

"No, I didn't lose it all. I on'y los' 'bout nine of it. I sole de
hide en taller for a dollar en ten cents."

"You had five dollars and ten cents left. Did you speculate any more?"

"Yes. You know that one-laigged nigger dat b'longs to old Misto
Bradish? Well, he sot up a bank, en say anybody dat put in a dollar
would git fo' dollars mo' at de en' er de year. Well, all de niggers
went in, but dey didn't have much. I wuz de on'y one dat had much. So
I stuck out for mo' dan fo' dollars, en I said 'f I didn' git it I'd
start a bank mysef. Well, o' course dat nigger want' to keep me out er
de business, bekase he says dey warn't business 'nough for two banks,
so he say I could put in my five dollars en he pay me thirty-five at
de en' er de year.

"So I done it. Den I reck'n'd I'd inves' de thirty-five dollars right
off en keep things a-movin'. Dey wuz a nigger name' Bob, dat had
ketched a wood-flat, en his marster didn' know it; en I bought it
off'n him en told him to take de thirty-five dollars when de en' er de
year come; but somebody stole de wood-flat dat night, en nex' day de
one-laigged nigger say de bank's busted. So dey didn' none uv us git
no money."

"What did you do with the ten cents, Jim?"

"Well, I 'uz gwyne to spen' it, but I had a dream, en de dream tole me
to give it to a nigger name' Balum--Balum's Ass dey call him for
short; he's one er dem chuckleheads, you know. But he's lucky, dey
say, en I see I warn't lucky. De dream say let Balum inves' de ten
cents en he'd make a raise for me. Well, Balum he tuck de money, en
when he wuz in church he hear de preacher say dat whoever give to de
po' len' to de Lord, en boun' to git his money back a hund'd times. So
Balum he tuck en give de ten cents to de po', en laid low to see what
wuz gwyne to come of it."

"Well, what did come of it, Jim?"

"Nuffn never come of it. I couldn' manage to k'leck dat money no way;
en Balum he couldn'. I ain' gwyne to len' no mo' money 'dout I see de
security. Boun' to git yo' money back a hund'd times, de preacher
says! Ef I could git de ten _cents_ back, I'd call it squah, en be
glad er de chanst."

"Well, it's all right anyway, Jim, long as you're going to be rich
again some time or other."

"Yes; en I's rich now, come to look at it. I owns mysef, en I's wuth
eight hund'd dollars. I wisht I had de money, I wouldn' want no mo'."


I wanted to go and look at a place right about the middle of the
island that I'd found when I was exploring; so we started and soon got
to it, because the island was only three miles long and a quarter of a
mile wide.

This place was a tolerable long, steep hill or ridge about forty foot
high. We had a rough time getting to the top, the sides was so steep
and the bushes so thick. We tramped and clumb around all over it, and
by and by found a good big cavern in the rock, most up to the top on
the side towards Illinois. The cavern was as big as two or three rooms
bunched together, and Jim could stand up straight in it. It was cool
in there. Jim was for putting our traps in there right away, but I
said we didn't want to be climbing up and down there all the time.

Jim said if we had the canoe hid in a good place, and had all the
traps in the cavern, we could rush there if anybody was to come to the
island, and they would never find us without dogs. And, besides, he
said them little birds had said it was going to rain, and did I want
the things to get wet?

So we went back and got the canoe, and paddled up abreast the cavern,
and lugged all the traps up there. Then we hunted up a place close by
to hide the canoe in, amongst the thick willows. We took some fish off
of the lines and set them again, and begun to get ready for dinner.

The door of the cavern was big enough to roll a hogshead in, and on
one side of the door the floor stuck out a little bit, and was flat
and a good place to build a fire on. So we built it there and cooked

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

"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 gittin' 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 says:

"Hello, you!"

But it didn't budge. So I hollered again, and then Jim says:

"De man ain't asleep--he's dead. You hold still--I'll go en see."

He went, and bent down and looked, and says:

"It's a dead man. Yes, indeedy; naked, too. He's ben shot in de back.
I reck'n he's ben dead two er three days. Come in, Huck, but doan'
look at his face--it's too gashly."

I didn't look at him at all. Jim throwed some old rags over him, but
he needn't done it; I didn't want to see him. There was heaps of old
greasy cards scattered around over the floor, and old whisky-bottles,
and a couple of masks made out of black cloth; and all over the walls
was the ignorantest kind of words and pictures made with charcoal.
There was two old dirty calico dresses, and a sun-bonnet, and some
women's underclothes hanging against the wall, and some men's
clothing, too. We put the lot into the canoe--it might come good.
There was a boy's old speckled straw hat on the floor; I took that,
too. And there was a bottle that had had milk in it, and it had a rag
stopper for a baby to suck. We would 'a' took the bottle, but it was
broke. There was a seedy old chest, and an old hair trunk with the
hinges broke. They stood open, but there warn't nothing left in them
that was any account. The way things was scattered about we reckoned
the people left in a hurry, and warn't fixed so as to carry off most
of their stuff.

We got an old tin lantern, and a butcher-knife without any handle, and
a bran-new Barlow knife worth two bits in any store, and a lot of
tallow candles, and a tin candlestick, and a gourd, and a tin cup, and
a ratty old bedquilt off the bed, and a reticule with needles and pins
and beeswax and buttons and thread and all such truck in it, and a
hatchet and some nails, and a 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 horseshoe, and some vials of medicine that didn't
have no label on them; and just as we was leaving I found a tolerable
good currycomb, 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


After breakfast I wanted to talk about the dead man and guess out how
he come to be killed, but Jim didn't want to. He said it would fetch
bad luck; and besides, he said, he might come and ha'nt us; he said a
man that warn't buried was more likely to go a-ha'nting around than
one that was planted and comfortable. That sounded pretty reasonable,
so I didn't say no more; but I couldn't keep from studying over it and
wishing I knowed who shot the man, and what they done it for.

We rummaged the clothes we'd got, and found eight dollars in silver
sewed up in the lining of an old blanket overcoat. Jim said he
reckoned the people in that house stole the coat, because if they'd
'a' knowed the money was there they wouldn't 'a' left it. I said I
reckoned they killed him, too; but Jim didn't want to talk about that.
I says:

"Now you think it's bad luck; but what did you say when I fetched in
the snake-skin that I found on the top of the ridge day before
yesterday? You said it was the worst bad luck in the world to touch a
snake-skin with my hands. Well, here's your bad luck! We've raked in
all this truck and eight dollars besides. I wish we could have some
bad luck like this every day, Jim."

"Never you mind, honey, never you mind. Don't you git too peart. It's
a-comin'. Mind I tell you, it's a-comin'."

It did come, too. It was a Tuesday that we had that talk. Well, after
dinner Friday we was laying around in the grass at the upper end of
the ridge, and got out of tobacco. I went to the cavern to get some,
and found a rattlesnake in there. I killed him, and curled him up on
the foot of Jim's blanket, ever so natural, thinking there'd be some
fun when Jim found him there. Well, by night I forgot all about the
snake, and when Jim flung himself down on the blanket while I struck a
light the snake's mate was there, and bit him.

He jumped up yelling, and the first thing the light showed was the
varmint curled up and ready for another spring. I laid him out in a
second with a stick, and Jim grabbed pap's whisky-jug and begun to
pour it down.

He was barefooted, and the snake bit him right on the heel. That all
comes of my being such a fool as to not remember that wherever you
leave a dead snake its mate always comes there and curls around it.
Jim told me to chop off the snake's head and throw it away, and then
skin the body and roast a piece of it. I done it, and he eat it and
said it would help cure him. He made me take off the rattles and tie
them around his wrist, too. He said that that would help. Then I slid
out quiet and throwed the snakes clear away amongst the bushes; for I
warn't going to let Jim find out it was all my fault, not if I could
help it.

Jim sucked and sucked at the jug, and now and then he got out of his
head and pitched around and yelled; but every time he come to himself
he went to sucking at the jug again. His foot swelled up pretty big,
and so did his leg; but by and by the drunk begun to come, and so I
judged he was all right; but I'd druther been bit with a snake than
pap's whisky.

Jim was laid up for four days and nights. Then the swelling was all
gone and he was around again. I made up my mind I wouldn't ever take
a-holt of a snake-skin again with my hands, now that I see what had
come of it. Jim said he reckoned I would believe him next time. And he
said that handling a snake-skin was such awful bad luck that maybe we
hadn't got to the end of it yet. He said he druther see the new moon
over his left shoulder as much as a thousand times than take up a
snake-skin in his hand. Well, I was getting to feel that way myself,
though I've always reckoned that looking at the new moon over your
left shoulder is one of the carelessest and foolishest things a body
can do. Old Hank Bunker done it once, and bragged about it; and in
less than two years he got drunk and fell off of the shot-tower, and
spread himself out so that he was just a kind of a layer, as you may
say; and they slid him edgeways between two barn doors for a coffin,
and buried him so, so they say, but I didn't see it. Pap told me. But
anyway it all come of looking at the moon that way, like a fool.

Well, the days went along, and the river went down between its banks
again; and about the first thing we done was to bait one of the big
hooks with a skinned rabbit and set it and catch a catfish that was as
big as a man, being six foot two inches long, and weighed over two
hundred pounds. We couldn't handle him, of course; he would 'a' flung
us into Illinois. We just set there and watched him rip and tear
around till he drownded. We found a brass button in his stomach and a
round ball, and lots of rubbage. We split the ball open with the
hatchet, and there was a spool in it. Jim said he'd had it there a
long time, to coat it over so and make a ball of it. It was as big a
fish as was ever catched in the Mississippi, I reckon. Jim said he
hadn't ever seen a bigger one. He would 'a' been worth a good deal
over at the village. They peddle out such a fish as that by the pound
in the market-house there; everybody buys some of him; his meat's as
white as snow and makes a good fry.

Next morning I said it was getting slow and dull, and I wanted to get
a stirring-up some way. I said I reckoned I would slip over the river
and find out what was going on. Jim liked that notion; but he said I
must go in the dark and look sharp. Then he studied it over and said,
couldn't I put on some of them old things and dress up like a girl?
That was a good notion, too. So we shortened up one of the calico
gowns, and I turned up my trouser-legs to my knees and got into it.
Jim hitched it behind with the hooks, and it was a fair fit. I put on
the sun-bonnet and tied it under my chin, and then for a body to look
in and see my face was like looking down a joint of stove-pipe. Jim
said nobody would know me, even in the daytime, hardly. I practised
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 miles below
here at a farm; so I ain't hungry no more. It's what makes me so late.
My mother's down sick, and out of money and everything, and I come to
tell my uncle Abner Moore. He lives at the upper end of the town, she
says. I hain't ever been here before. Do you know him?"

"No; but I don't know everybody yet. I haven't lived here quite two
weeks. It's a considerable ways to the upper end of the town. You
better stay here all night. Take off your bonnet."

"No," I says; "I'll rest awhile, 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 the town; but by and by she dropped on
to pap and the murder, and then I was pretty willing to let her
clatter right along. She told about me and Tom Sawyer finding the
twelve thousand dollars (only she got it twenty) and all about pap and
what a hard lot he was, and what a hard lot I was, and at last she got
down to where I was murdered. I says:

"Who done it? We've heard considerable about these goings-on down in
Hookerville, but we don't know who 'twas that killed Huck Finn."

"Well, I reckon there's a right smart chance of people _here_ that 'd
like to know who killed him. Some think old Finn done it himself."

"No--is that so?"

"Most everybody thought it at first. He'll never know how nigh he come
to getting lynched. But before night they changed around and judged it
was done by a runaway nigger named Jim."

"Why _he_--"

I stopped. I reckoned I better keep still. She run on, and never
noticed I had put in at all:

"The nigger run off the very night Huck Finn was killed. So there's a
reward out for him--three hundred dollars. And there's a reward out
for old Finn, too--two hundred dollars. You see, he come to town the
morning after the murder, and told about it, and was out with 'em on
the ferryboat hunt, and right away after he up and left. Before night
they wanted to lynch him, but he was gone, you see. Well, next day
they found out the nigger was gone; they found out he hadn't ben seen
sence ten o'clock the night the murder was done. So then they put it
on him, you see; and while they was full of it, next day, back comes
old Finn, and went boo-hooing to Judge Thatcher to get money to hunt
for the nigger all over Illinois with. The judge gave him some, and
that evening he got drunk, and was around till after midnight with a
couple of mighty hard-looking strangers, and then went off with them.
Well, he hain't come back sence, and they ain't looking for him back
till this thing blows over a little, for people thinks now that he
killed his boy and fixed things so folks would think robbers done it,
and then he'd get Huck's money without having to bother a long time
with a lawsuit. People do say he warn't any too good to do it. Oh,
he's sly, I reckon. If he don't come back for a year he'll be all
right. You can't prove anything on him, you know; everything will be
quieted down then, and he'll walk in Huck's money as easy as nothing."

"Yes, I reckon so, 'm. I don't see nothing in the way of it. Has
everybody quit thinking the nigger done it?"

"Oh, no, not everybody. A good many thinks he done it. But they'll get
the nigger pretty soon now, and maybe they can scare it out of him."

"Why, are they after him yet?"

"Well, you're innocent, ain't you! Does three hundred dollars lay
around every day for people to pick up? Some folks think the nigger
ain't far from here. I'm one of them--but I hain't talked it around. A
few days ago I was talking with an old couple that lives next door in
the log shanty, and they happened to say hardly anybody ever goes to
that island over yonder that they call Jackson's Island. Don't anybody
live there? says I. No, nobody, says they. I didn't say any more, but
I done some thinking. I was pretty near certain I'd seen smoke over
there, about the head of the island, a day or two before that, so I
says to myself, like as not that nigger's hiding over there; anyway,
says I, it's worth the trouble to give the place a hunt. I hain't seen
any smoke sence, so I reckon maybe he's gone, if it was him; but
husband's going over to see--him and another man. He was gone up the
river; but he got back to-day, and I told him as soon as he got here
two hours ago."

I had got so uneasy I couldn't set still. I had to do something with
my hands; so I took up a needle off of the table and went to threading
it. My hands shook, and I was making a bad job of it. When the woman
stopped talking I looked up, and she was looking at me pretty curious
and smiling a little. I put down the needle and thread, and let on to
be interested--and I was, too--and says:

"Three hundred dollars is a power of money. I wish my mother could get
it. Is your husband going over there to-night?"

"Oh, yes. He went up-town with the man I was telling you of, to get a
boat and see if they could borrow another gun. They'll go over after

"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 campfire 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 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,
and very pleasant, and says:

"Come, now, what's your real name?"

"Wh-hat, mum?"

"What's your real name? Is it Bill, or Tom, or Bob?--or what is it?"

I reckon I shook like a leaf, and I didn't know hardly what to do. But
I says:

"Please to don't poke fun at a poor girl like me, mum. If I'm in the
way here, I'll--"

"No, you won't. Set down and stay where you are. I ain't going to hurt
you, and I ain't going to tell on you, nuther. You just tell me your
secret, and trust me. I'll keep it; and, what's more, I'll help you.
So'll my old man if you want him to. You see, you're a runaway
'prentice, that's all. It ain't anything. There ain't no harm in it.
You've been treated bad, and you made up your mind to cut. Bless you,
child, I wouldn't tell on you. Tell me all about it now, that's a good

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 daytimes and slept, and the bag of bread
and meat I carried from home lasted me all the way, and I had
a-plenty. I said I believed my uncle Abner Moore would take care of
me, and so that was why I struck out for this town of Goshen.

"Goshen, child? This ain't Goshen. This is St. Petersburg. Goshen's
ten mile further up the river. Who told you this was Goshen?"

"Why, a man I met at daybreak this morning, just as I was going to
turn into the woods for my regular sleep. He told me when the roads
forked I must take the right hand, and five mile would fetch me to

"He was drunk, I reckon. He told you just exactly wrong."

"Well, he did act like he was drunk, but it ain't no matter now. I got
to be moving along. I'll fetch Goshen before daylight."

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

So she put me up a snack, and says:

"Say, when a cow's laying down, which end of her gets up first? Answer
up prompt now--don't stop to study over it. Which end gets up first?"

"The hind end, mum."

"Well, then, a horse?"

"The for'rard end, mum."

"Which side of a tree does the moss grow on?"

"North side."

"If fifteen cows is browsing on a hillside, how many of them eats with
their heads pointed the same direction?"

"The whole fifteen, mum."

"Well, I reckon you _have_ lived in the country. I thought maybe you
was trying to hocus me again. What's your real name, now?"

"George Peters, mum."

"Well, try to remember it, George. Don't forget and tell me it's
Elexander before you go, and then get out by saying it's George
Elexander when I catch you. And don't go about women in that old
calico. You do a girl tolerable poor, but you might fool men, maybe.
Bless you, child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the
thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and
poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a
man always does t'other way. And when you throw at a rat or anything,
hitch yourself up a-tiptoe and fetch your hand up over your head as
awkward as you can, and miss your rat about six or seven foot. Throw
stiff-armed from the shoulder, like there was a pivot there for it to
turn on, like a girl; not from the wrist and elbow, with your arm out
to one side, like a boy. And, mind you, when a girl tries to catch
anything in her lap she throws her knees apart; she don't clap them
together, the way you did when you catched the lump of lead. Why, I
spotted you for a boy when you was threading the needle; and I
contrived the other things just to make certain. Now trot along to
your uncle, Sarah Mary Williams George Elexander Peters, and if you
get into trouble you send word to Mrs. Judith Loftus, which is me, and
I'll do what I can to get you out of it. Keep the river road all the
way, and next time you tramp take shoes and socks with you. The river
road's a rocky one, and your feet 'll be in a condition when you get
to Goshen, I reckon."

I went up the bank about fifty yards, and then I doubled on my tracks
and slipped back to where my canoe was, a good piece below the house.
I jumped in, and was off in a hurry. I went up-stream far enough to
make the head of the island, and then started across. I took off the
sun-bonnet, for I didn't want no blinders on then. When I was about
the middle I heard the clock begin to strike, so I stops and listens;
the sound come faint over the water but clear--eleven. When I struck
the head of the island I never waited to blow, though I was most
winded, but I shoved right into the timber where my old camp used to
be, and started a good fire there on a high and dry spot.

Then I jumped in the canoe and dug out for our place, a mile and a
half below, as hard as I could go. I landed, and slopped through the
timber and up the ridge and into the cavern. There Jim laid, sound
asleep on the ground. I roused him out and says:

"Git up and hump yourself, Jim! There ain't a minute to lose. They're
after us!"

Jim never asked no questions, he never said a word; but the way he
worked for the next half an hour showed about how he was scared. By
that time everything we had in the world was on our raft, and she was
ready to be shoved out from the willow cove where she was hid. We put
out the camp-fire at the cavern the first thing, and didn't show a
candle outside after that.

I took the canoe out from the shore a little piece, and took a look;
but if there was a boat around I couldn't see it, for stars and
shadows ain't good to see by. Then we got out the raft and slipped
along down in the shade, past the foot of the island dead still--never
saying a word.


It must 'a' been close on to one o'clock when we got below the island
at last, and the raft did seem to go mighty slow. If a boat was to
come along we was going to take to the canoe and break for the
Illinois shore; and it was well a boat didn't come, for we hadn't ever
thought to put the gun in the canoe, or a fishing-line, or anything to
eat. We was in ruther too much of a sweat to think of so many things.
It warn't good judgment to put _everything_ on the raft.

If the men went to the island I just expect they found the camp-fire I
built, and watched it all night for Jim to come. Anyways, they stayed
away from us, and if my building the fire never fooled them it warn't
no fault of mine. I played it as low down on them as I could.

When the first streak of day began to show we tied up to a towhead in
a big bend on the Illinois side, and hacked off cottonwood branches
with the hatchet, and covered up the raft with them so she looked like
there had been a cave-in in the bank there. A towhead 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 up-bound steamboats fight the big river in the middle. I
told Jim all about the time I had jabbering with that woman; and Jim
said she was a smart one, and if she was to start after us herself she
wouldn't set down and watch a camp-fire--no, sir, she'd fetch a dog.
Well, then, I said, why couldn't she tell her husband to fetch a dog?
Jim said he bet she did think of it by the time the men was ready to
start, and he believed they must 'a' gone up-town to get a dog and so
they lost all that time, or else we wouldn't be here on a towhead
sixteen or seventeen mile below the village--no, indeedy, we would be
in that same old town again. So I said I didn't care what was the
reason they didn't get us as long as they didn't.

When it was beginning to come on dark we poked our heads out of the
cottonwood thicket, and looked up and down and across; nothing in
sight; so Jim took up some of the top planks of the raft and built a
snug wigwam to get under in blazing weather and rainy, and to keep the
things dry. Jim made a floor for the wigwam, and raised it a foot or
more above the level of the raft, so now the blankets and all the
traps was out of reach of steamboat waves. Right in the middle of the
wigwam we made a layer of dirt about five or six inches deep with a
frame around it for to hold it to its place; this was to build a fire
on in sloppy weather or chilly; the wigwam would keep it from being
seen. We made an extra steering-oar, too, because one of the others
might get broke on a snag or something. We fixed up a short forked
stick to hang the old lantern on, because we must always light the
lantern whenever we see a steamboat coming down-stream, to keep from
getting run over; but we wouldn't have to light it for up-stream boats
unless we see we was in what they call a "crossing"; for the river was
pretty high yet, very low banks being still a little under water; so
up-bound boats didn't always run the channel, but hunted easy water.

This second night we run between seven and eight hours, with a current
that was making over four mile an hour. We catched fish and talked,
and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness. It was kind of
solemn, drifting down the big, still river, laying on our backs
looking up at the stars, and we didn't ever feel like talking loud,
and it warn't often that we laughed--only a little kind of a low
chuckle. We had mighty good weather as a general thing, and nothing
ever happened to us at all--that night, nor the next, nor the next.

Every night we passed towns, some of them away up on black hillsides,
nothing but just a shiny bed of lights; not a house could you see. The
fifth night we passed St. Louis, and it was like the whole world lit
up. In St. Petersburg they used to say there was twenty or thirty
thousand people in St. Louis, but I never believed it till I see that
wonderful spread of lights at two o'clock that still night. There
warn't a sound there; everybody was asleep.

Every night now I used to slip ashore toward 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 some time; but the widow said it
warn't anything but a soft name for stealing, and no decent body would
do it. Jim said he reckoned the widow was partly right and pap was
partly right; so the best way would be for us to pick out two or three
things from the list and say we wouldn't borrow them any more--then he
reckoned it wouldn't be no harm to borrow the others. So we talked it
over all one night, drifting along down the river, trying to make up
our minds whether to drop the watermelons, or the cantelopes, or the
mushmelons, or what. But toward daylight we got it all settled
satisfactory, and concluded to drop crabapples and p'simmons. We
warn't feeling just right before that, but it was all comfortable now.
I was glad the way it come out, too, because crabapples ain't ever
good, and the p'simmons wouldn't be ripe for two or three months yet.

We shot a water-fowl now and then that got up too early in the morning
or didn't go to bed early enough in the evening. Take it all round, we
lived pretty high.

The fifth night below St. Louis we had a big storm after midnight,
with a power of thunder and lightning, and the rain poured down in a
solid sheet. We stayed in the wigwam and let the raft take care of
itself. When the lightning glared out we could see a big straight
river ahead, and high, rocky bluffs on both sides. By and by says I,
"Hel-_lo_, Jim, looky yonder!" It was a steamboat that had killed
herself on a rock. We was drifting straight down for her. The
lightning showed her very distinct. She was leaning over, with part of
her upper deck above water, and you could see every little chimbly-guy
clean and clear, and a chair by the big bell, with an old slouch hat
hanging on the back of it, when the flashes come.

Well, it being away in the night and stormy, and all so
mysterious-like, I felt just the way any other boy would 'a' felt when
I seen that wreck laying there so mournful and lonesome in the middle
of the river. I wanted to get aboard of her and slink around a little,
and see what there was there. So I says:

"Le's land on her, Jim."

But Jim was dead against it at first. He says:

"I doan' want to go fool'n' 'long er no wrack. We's doin' blame' well,
en we better let blame' well alone, as de good book says. Like as not
dey's a watchman on dat wrack."

"Watchman your grandmother," I says; "there ain't nothing to watch but
the texas and the pilot-house; and do you reckon anybody's going to
resk his life for a texas and a pilot-house such a night as this, when
it's likely to break up and wash off down the river any minute?" Jim
couldn't say nothing to that, so he didn't try. "And besides," I says,
"we might borrow something worth having out of the captain's
stateroom. Seegars, I bet you--and cost five cents apiece, solid cash.
Steamboat captains is always rich, and get sixty dollars a month, and
_they_ don't care a cent what a thing costs, you know, long as they
want it. Stick a candle in your pocket; I can't rest, Jim, till we
give her a rummaging. Do you reckon Tom Sawyer would ever go by this
thing? Not for pie, he wouldn't. He'd call it an adventure--that's
what he'd call it; and he'd land on that wreck if it was his last act.
And wouldn't he throw style into it?--wouldn't he spread himself, nor
nothing? Why, you'd think it was Christopher C'lumbus discovering
Kingdom Come. I wish Tom Sawyer _was_ here."

Jim he grumbled a little, but give in. He said we mustn't talk any
more than we could help, and then talk mighty low. The lightning
showed us the wreck again just in time, and we fetched the stabboard
derrick, and made fast there.

The deck was high out here. We went sneaking down the slope of it to
labboard, in the dark, towards the texas, feeling our way slow with
our feet, and spreading our hands out to fend off the guys, for it was
so dark we couldn't see no sign of them. Pretty soon we struck the
forward end of the skylight, and clumb on to it; and the next step
fetched us in front of the captain's door, which was open, and by
Jimminy, away down through the texas-hall we see a light! and all in
the same second we seem to hear low voices in yonder!

Jim whispered and said he was feeling powerful sick, and told me to
come along. I says, all right, and was going to start for the raft;
but just then I heard a voice wail out and say:

"Oh, please don't, boys; I swear I won't ever tell!"

Another voice said, pretty loud:

"It's a lie, Jim Turner. You've acted this way before. You always want
more'n your share of the truck, and you've always got it, too, because
you've swore 't if you didn't you'd tell. But this time you've said it
jest one time too many. You're the meanest, treacherousest hound in
this country."

By this time Jim was gone for the raft. I was just a-biling with
curiosity; and I says to myself, Tom Sawyer wouldn't back out now, and
so I won't either; I'm a-going to see what's going on here. So I
dropped on my hands and knees in the little passage, and crept aft in
the dark till there warn't but one stateroom betwixt me and the
cross-hall of the texas. Then in there I see a man stretched on the
floor and tied hand and foot, and two men standing over him, and one
of them had a dim lantern in his hand, and the other one had a pistol.
This one kept pointing the pistol at the man's head on the floor, and

"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

"'Deed you _ain't!_ You never said no truer thing 'n that, you bet
you." And once he said: "Hear him beg! and yit if we hadn't got the
best of him and tied him he'd 'a' killed us both. And what _for_? Jist
for noth'n'. Jist because we stood on our _rights_--that's what for.
But I lay you ain't a-goin' to threaten nobody any more, Jim Turner.
Put _up_ that pistol, Bill."

Bill says:

"I don't want to, Jake Packard. I'm for killin' him--and didn't he
kill old Hatfield jist the same way--and don't he deserve it?"

"But I don't _want_ him killed, and I've got my reasons for it."

"Bless yo' heart for them words, Jake Packard! I'll never forgit you
long's I live!" says the man on the floor, sort of blubbering.

Packard didn't take no notice of that, but hung up his lantern on a
nail and started toward where I was, there in the dark, and motioned
Bill to come. I crawfished as fast as I could about two yards, but the
boat slanted so that I couldn't make very good time; so to keep from
getting run over and catched I crawled into a stateroom on the upper
side. The man came a-pawing along in the dark, and when Packard got to
my stateroom, he says:

"Here--come in here."

And in he come, and Bill after him. But before they got in I was up in
the upper berth, cornered, and sorry I come. Then they stood there,
with their hands on the ledge of the berth, and talked. I couldn't see
them, but I could tell where they was by the whisky they'd been
having. I was glad I didn't drink whisky; but it wouldn't made much
difference anyway, because most of the time they couldn't 'a' treed me
because I didn't breathe. I was too scared. And, besides, a body
_couldn't_ breathe and hear such talk. They talked low and earnest.
Bill wanted to kill Turner. He says:

"He's said he'll tell, and he will. If we was to give both our shares
to him _now_ it wouldn't make no difference after the row and the way
we've served him. Shore's you're born, he'll turn state's evidence;
now you hear _me._ I'm for putting him out of his troubles."

"So'm I," says Packard, very quiet.

"Blame it, I'd sorter begun to think you wasn't. Well, then, that's
all right. Le's go and do it."

"Hold on a minute; I hain't had my say yit. You listen to me.
Shooting's good, but there's quieter ways if the things _got_ to be
done. But what _I_ say is this: it ain't good sense to go court'n'
around after a halter if you can git at what you're up to in some way
that's jist as good and at the same time don't bring you into no
resks. Ain't that so?"

"You bet it is. But how you goin' to manage it this time?"

"Well, my idea is this: we'll rustle around and gather up whatever
pickin's we've overlooked in the staterooms, and shove for shore and
hide the truck. Then we'll wait. Now I say it ain't a-goin' to be
more'n two hours befo' this wrack breaks up and washes off down the
river. See? He'll be drownded, and won't have nobody to blame for it
but his own self. I reckon that's a considerable sight better 'n
killin' of him. I'm unfavorable to killin' a man as long as you can
git aroun' it; it ain't good sense, it ain't good morals. Ain't I

"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 farther--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

"All ready--shove off!"

I couldn't hardly hang on to 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 tumbling after me. I out with
my knife and cut the rope, and away we went!

We didn't touch an oar, and we didn't speak nor whisper, nor hardly
even breathe. We went gliding swift along, dead silent, past the tip
of the paddle-box, and past the stern; then in a second or two more we
was a hundred yards below the wreck, and the darkness soaked her up,
every last sign of her, and we was safe, and knowed it.

When we was three or four hundred yards down-stream we see the lantern
show like a little spark at the texas door for a second, and we knowed
by that that the rascals had missed their boat, and was beginning to
understand that they was in just as much trouble now as Jim Turner

Then Jim manned the oars, and we took out after our raft. Now was the
first time that I begun to worry about the men--I reckon I hadn't had
time to before. I begun to think how dreadful it was, even for
murderers, to be in such a fix. I says to myself, there ain't no
telling but I might come to be a murderer myself yet, and then how
would I like it?  So says I to Jim:

"The first light we see we'll land a hundred yards below it or above
it, in a place where it's a good hiding-place for you and the skiff,
and then I'll go and fix up some kind of a yarn, and get somebody to
go for that gang and get them out of their scrape, so they can be hung
when their time comes."

But that idea was a failure; for pretty soon it begun to storm again,
and this time worse than ever. The rain poured down, and never a light
showed; everybody in bed, I reckon. We boomed along down the river,
watching for lights and watching for our raft. After a long time the
rain let up, but the clouds stayed, and the lightning kept whimpering,
and by and by a flash showed us a black thing ahead, floating, and we
made for it.

It was the raft, and mighty glad was we to get aboard of it again. We
seen a light now away down to the right, on shore. So I said I would
go for it. The skiff was half full of plunder which that gang had
stole there on the wreck. We hustled it on to the raft in a pile, and
I told Jim to float along down, and show a light when he judged he had
gone about two mile, and keep it burning till I come; then I manned my
oars and shoved for the light. As I got down towards it three or  four
more showed--up on a hillside. It was a village. I closed in above the
shore light, and laid on my oars and floated. As I went by I see it
was a lantern hanging on the jackstaff of a double-hull ferryboat. I
skimmed around for the watchman, a-wondering whereabouts he slept; and
by and by I found him roosting on the bitts forward, with his head
down between his knees. I gave his shoulder two or three little
shoves, and begun to cry.

He stirred up in a kind of a startlish way; but when he see it was
only me he took a good gap and stretch, and then he says:

"Hello, what's up? Don't cry, bub. What's the trouble?"

I says:

"Pap, and mam, and sis, and--"

Then I broke down. He says:

"Oh, dang it now, _don't_ take on so; we all has to have our troubles,
and this 'n 'll come out all right. What's the matter with 'em?"

"They're--they're--are you the watchman of the boat?"

"Yes," he says, kind of pretty-well-satisfied like. "I'm the captain
and the owner and the mate and the pilot and watchman and head
deck-hand; and sometimes I'm the freight and passengers. I ain't as
rich as old Jim Hornback, and I can't be so blame' generous and good
to Tom, Dick, and Harry as what he is, and slam around money the way
he does; but I've told him a many a time 't I wouldn't trade places
with him; for, says I, a sailor's life's the life for me, and I'm
derned if _I'd_ live two mile out o' town, where there ain't nothing
ever goin' on, not for all his spondulicks and as much more on top of
it. Says I--"

I broke in and says:

"They're in an awful peck of trouble, and--"

"_Who_ is?"

"Why, pap and mam and sis and Miss Hooker; and if you'd take your
ferryboat and go up there--"

"Up where? Where are they?"

"On the wreck."

"What wreck?"

"Why, there ain't but one."

"What, you don't mean the _Walter Scott?"_


"Good land! what are they doin' _there_, for gracious sakes?"

"Well, they didn't go there a-purpose."

"I bet they didn't! Why, great goodness, there ain't no chance for 'em
if they don't git off mighty quick! Why, how in the nation did they
ever git into such a scrape?"

"Easy enough. Miss Hooker was a-visiting up there to the town--"

"Yes, Booth's Landing--go on."

"She was a-visiting there at Booth's Landing, and just in the edge of
the evening she started over with her nigger woman in the horse-ferry
to stay all night at her friend's house, Miss What-you-may-call-her--I
disremember her name--and they lost their steering-oar, and swung
around and went a-floating down, stern first, about two mile, and
saddle-baggsed on the wreck, and the ferryman and the nigger woman and
the horses was all lost, but Miss Hooker she made a grab and got
aboard the wreck. Well, about an hour after dark we come along down in
our trading-scow, and it was so dark we didn't notice the wreck till
we was right on it; and so _we_ saddle-baggsed; but all of us was
saved but Bill Whipple--and oh, he _was_ the best cretur!--I most wish
't it had been me, I do."

"My George! It's the beatenest thing I ever struck. And _then_ what
did you all do?"

"Well, we hollered and took on, but it's so wide there we couldn't
make nobody hear. So pap said somebody got to get ashore and get help
somehow. I was the only one that could swim, so I made a dash for it,
and Miss Hooker she said if I didn't strike help sooner, come here and
hunt up her uncle, and he'd fix the thing. I made the land about a
mile below, and been fooling along ever since, trying to get people to
do something, but they said, 'What, in such a night and such a
current? There ain't no sense in it; go for the steam-ferry.' Now if
you'll go and--"

"By Jackson, I'd _like_ to, and, blame it, I don't know but I will;
but who in the dingnation's a-going to _pay_ for it? Do you reckon
your pap--"

"Why _that's_ all right. Miss Hooker she tole me, _particular_, that
her uncle Hornback--"

"Great guns! is _he_ her uncle? Looky here, you break for that light
over yonder-way, and turn out west when you git there, and about a
quarter of a mile out you'll come to the tavern; tell 'em to dart you
out to Jim Hornback's, and he'll foot the bill. And don't you fool
around any, because he'll want to know the news. Tell him I'll have
his niece all safe before he can get to town. Hump yourself, now; I'm
a-going up around the corner here to roust out my engineer."

I struck for the light, but as soon as he turned the corner I went
back and got into my skiff and bailed her out, and then pulled up
shore in the easy water about six hundred yards, and tucked myself in
among some wood-boats; for I couldn't rest easy till I could see the
ferryboat start. But take it all around, I was feeling ruther
comfortable on accounts of taking all this trouble for that gang, for
not many would 'a' done it. I wished the widow knowed about it. I
judged she would be proud of me for helping these rapscallions,
because rapscallions and dead-beats is the kind the widow and good
people takes the most interest in.

Well, before long here comes the wreck, dim and dusky, sliding along
down! A kind of cold shiver went through me, and then I struck out for
her. She was very deep, and I see in a minute there warn't much chance
for anybody being alive in her. I pulled all around her and hollered a
little, but there wasn't any answer; all dead still. I felt a little
bit heavy-hearted about the gang, but not much, for I reckoned if they
could stand it I could.

Then here comes the ferryboat; so I shoved for the middle of the river
on a long down-stream slant; and when I judged I was out of eye-reach
I laid on my oars, and looked back and see her go and smell around the
wreck for Miss Hooker's remainders, because the captain would know her
uncle Hornback would want them; and then pretty soon the ferryboat
give it up and went for the shore, and I laid into my work and went
a-booming down the river.

It did seem a powerful long time before Jim's light showed up; and
when it did show it looked like it was a thousand mile off. By the
time I got there the sky was beginning to get a little gray in the
east; so we struck for an island, and hid the raft, and sunk the
skiff, and turned in and slept like dead people.


By and by, when we got up, we turned over the truck the gang had stole
off of the wreck, and found boots, and blankets, and clothes, and all
sorts of other things, and a lot of books, and a spy-glass, and three
boxes of seegars. We hadn't ever been this rich before in neither of
our lives. The seegars was prime. We laid off all the afternoon in the
woods talking, and me reading the books, and having a general good
time. I told Jim all about what happened inside the wreck and at the
ferryboat, and I said these kinds of things was adventures; but he
said he didn't want no more adventures. He said that when I went in
the texas and he crawled back to get on the raft and found her gone he
nearly died, because he judged it was all up with _him_ anyway it
could be fixed; for if he didn't get saved he would get drownded; and
if he did get saved, whoever saved him would send him back home so as
to get the reward, and then Miss Watson would sell him South, sure.
Well, he was right; he was most always right; he had an uncommon level
head for a nigger. I read considerable to Jim about kings and dukes
and earls and such, and how gaudy they dressed, and how much style
they put on, and called each other and so on, 'stead of mister; and
Jim's eyes bugged out, and he was interested. He says:

"I didn' know dey was so many un um. I hain't hearn 'bout none un um,
skasely, but ole King Sollermun, onless you counts dem kings dat's in
a pack er k'yards. How much do a king git?"

"Get?" I says; "why, they get a thousand dollars a month if they want
it; they can have just as much as they want; everything belongs to

"_Ain'_ dat gay? En what dey got to do, Huck?"

"_They_ don't do nothing! Why, how you talk! They just set around."

"No; is dat so?"

"Of course it is. They just set around--except, maybe, when there's a
war; then they go to the war. But other times they just lazy around;
or go hawking--just hawking and sp--Sh!--d'you hear a noise?"

We skipped out and looked; but it warn't nothing but the flutter of a
steamboat's wheel away down, coming around the point; so we come back.

"Yes," says I, "and other times, when things is dull, they fuss with
the parlyment; and if everybody don't go just so he whacks their heads
off. But mostly they hang round the harem."

"Roun' de which?"


"What's de harem?"

"The place where he keeps his wives. Don't you know about the harem?
Solomon had one; he had about a million wives."

"Why, yes, dat's so; I--I'd done forgot it. A harem's a bo'd'n-house,
I reck'n. Mos' likely dey has rackety times in de nussery. En I reck'n
de wives quarrels considable; en dat 'crease de racket. Yit dey say
Sollermun de wises' man dat ever live'. I doan' take no stock in dat.
Bekase why: would a wise man want to live in de mids' er sich a
blim-blammin' all de time? No--'deed he wouldn't. A wise man 'ud take
en buil' a biler-factry; en den he could shet _down_ de biler-factry
when he want to res'."

"Well, but he _was_ the wisest man, anyway; because the widow she told
me so, her own self."

"I doan' k'yer what de widder say, he _warn't_ no wise man nuther. He
had some er de dad-fetchedes' ways I ever see. Does you know 'bout dat
chile dat he 'uz gwyne to chop in two?"

"Yes, the widow told me all about it."

"_Well_, den! Warn' dat de beatenes' notion in de worl'?  You jes'
take en look at it a minute. Dah's de stump, dah--dat's one er de
women; heah's you--dat's de yuther one; I's Sollermun; en dish yer
dollar bill's de chile. Bofe un you claims it. What does I do? Does I
shin aroun' mongs' de neighbors en fine out which un you de bill _do_
b'long to, en han' it over to de right one, all safe en soun', de way
dat anybody dat had any gumption would? No; I take en whack de bill in
_two_, en give half un it to you, en de yuther half to de yuther
woman. Dat's de way Sollermun was gwyne to do wid de chile. Now I want
to ast you: what's de use er dat half a bill?--can't buy noth'n wid
it. En what use is a half a chile? I wouldn' give a dern for a million
un um."

"But hang it, Jim, you've clean missed the point--blame it, you've
missed it a thousand mile."

"Who? Me? Go 'long. Doan' talk to me 'bout yo' pints. I reck'n I knows
sense when I sees it; en dey ain' no sense in sich doin's as dat. De
'spute warn't 'bout a half a chile, de 'spute was 'bout a whole chile;
en de man dat think he kin settle a 'spute 'bout a whole chile wid a
half a chile doan' know enough to come in out'n de rain. Doan' talk to
me 'bout Sollermun, Huck, I knows him by de back."

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

"Blame de point! I reck'n I knows what I knows. En mine you, de _real_
pint furder--it's down deeper. It lays in de way Sollermun was raised.
You take a man dat's got on'y one or two chillen; is dat man gwyne to
be waseful o' chillen? No, he ain't; he can't 'ford it. _He_ know how
to value 'em. But you take a man dat's got 'bout five million chillen
runnin' roun' de house, en it's diffunt. _He_ as soon chop a chile in
two as a cat. Dey's plenty mo'. A chile er two, mo' er less, warn't no
consekens to Sollermun, dad 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 pooty 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. S'pose a man was to come to you and say Polly-voo-franzy--what
would you think?"

"I wouldn' think nuffn; 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't got no business to talk like either one er 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
towhead to tie to, for it wouldn't do to try to run in a fog; but when
I paddled ahead in the canoe, with the line to make fast, there warn't
anything but little saplings to tie to. I passed the line around one
of them right on the edge of the cut bank, but there was a stiff
current, and the raft come booming down so lively she tore it out by
the roots and away she went. I see the fog closing down, and it made
me so sick and scared I couldn't budge for most a half a minute it
seemed to me--and then there warn't no raft in sight; you couldn't see
twenty yards. I jumped into the canoe and run back to the stern, and
grabbed the paddle and set her back a stroke. But she didn't come. I
was in such a hurry I hadn't untied her. I got up and tried to untie
her, but I was so excited my hands shook so I couldn't hardly do
anything with them.

As soon as I got started I took out after the raft, hot and heavy,
right down the towhead. That was all right as far as it went, but the
towhead warn't sixty yards long, and the minute I flew by the foot of
it I shot out into the solid white fog, and hadn't no more idea which
way I was going than a dead man.

Thinks I, it won't do to paddle; first I know I'll run into the bank
or a towhead or something; I got to set still and float, and yet it's
mighty fidgety business to have to hold your hands still at such a
time. I whooped and listened. Away down there somewheres I hears a
small whoop, and up comes my spirits. I went tearing after it,
listening sharp to hear it again. The next time it come I see I warn't
heading for it, but heading away to the right of it. And the next time
I was heading away to the left of it--and not gaining on it much
either, for I was flying around, this way and that and t'other, but it
was going straight ahead all the time.

I did wish the fool would think to beat a tin pan, and beat it all the
time, but he never did, and it was the still places between the whoops
that was making the trouble for me. Well, I fought along, and directly
I hears the whoop _behind_ me. I was tangled good now. That was
somebody else's whoop, or else I was turned around.

I throwed the paddle down. I heard the whoop again; it was behind me
yet, but in a different place; it kept coming, and kept changing its
place, and I kept answering, till by and by it was in front of me
again, and I knowed the current had swung the canoe's head
down-stream, and I was all right if that was Jim and not some other
raftsman hollering. I couldn't tell nothing about voices in a fog, for
nothing don't look natural nor sound natural in a fog.

The whooping went on, and in about a minute I come a-booming down on a
cut bank with smoky ghosts of big trees on it, and the current throwed
me off to the left and shot by, amongst a lot of snags that fairly
roared, the 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 t'other side of it. It warn't no
towhead that you could float by in ten minutes. It had the big timber
of a regular island; it might be five or six miles long and more than
half a mile wide.

I kept quiet, with my ears cocked, about fifteen minutes, I reckon. I
was floating along, of course, four or five miles an hour; but you
don't ever think of that. No, you _feel_ like you are laying dead
still on the water; and if a little glimpse of a snag slips by you
don't think to yourself how fast _you're_ going, but you catch your
breath and think, my! how that snag's tearing along. If you think it
ain't dismal and lonesome out in a fog that way by yourself in the
night, you try it once--you'll see.

Next, for about a half an hour, I whoops now and then; at last I hears
the answer a long ways off, and tries to follow it, but I couldn't do
it, and directly I judged I'd got into a nest of towheads, for I had
little dim glimpses of them on both sides of me--sometimes just a
narrow channel between, and some that I couldn't see I knowed was
there because I'd hear the wash of the current against the old dead
brush and trash that hung over the banks. Well, I warn't long loosing
the whoops down amongst the towheads; and I only tried to chase them a
little while, anyway, because it was worse than chasing a
Jack-o'-lantern. You never knowed a sound dodge around so, and swap
places so quick and so much.

I had to claw away from the bank pretty lively four or five times, to
keep from knocking the islands out of the river; and so I judged the
raft must be butting into the bank every now and then, or else it
would get further ahead and clear out of hearing--it was floating a
little faster than what I was.

Well, I seemed to be in the open river again by and by, but I couldn't
hear no sign of a whoop nowheres. I reckoned Jim had fetched up on a
snag, maybe, and it was all up with him. I was good and tired, so I
laid down in the canoe and said I wouldn't bother no more. I didn't
want to go to sleep, of course; but I was so sleepy I couldn't help
it; so I thought I would take jest one little cat-nap.

But I reckon it was more than a cat-nap, for when I waked up the stars
was shining bright, the fog was all gone, and I was spinning down a
big bend stern first. First I didn't know where I was; I thought I was
dreaming; and when things began to come back to me they seemed to come
up dim out of last week.

It was a monstrous big river here, with the tallest and the thickest
kind of timber on both banks; just a solid wall, as well as I could
see by the stars. I looked away down-stream, and seen a black speck on
the water. I took after it; but when I got to it it warn't nothing but
a couple of saw-logs made fast together. Then I see another speck, and
chased that; then another, and this time I was right. It was the raft.

When I got to it Jim was setting there with his head down between his
knees, asleep, with his right arm hanging over the steering-oar. The
other oar was smashed off, and the raft was littered up with leaves
and branches and dirt. So she'd had a rough time.

I made fast and laid down under Jim's nose on the raft, and began to
gap, and stretch my fists out against Jim, and says:

"Hello, Jim, have I been asleep? Why didn't you stir me up?"

"Goodness gracious, is dat you, Huck? En you ain' dead--you ain'
drownded--you's back ag'in? 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 ag'in, 'live en soun', jis de same ole Huck--de
same ole Huck, thanks to goodness!"

"What's the matter with you, Jim? You been a-drinking?"

"Drinkin'? Has I ben a-drinkin'? Has I had a chance to be a-drinkin'?"

"Well, then, what makes you talk so wild?"

"How does I talk wild?"

"_How?_ Why, hain't you been talking about my coming back, and all
that stuff, as if I'd been gone away?"

"Huck--Huck Finn, you look me in de eye; look me in de eye. _Hain't_
you ben gone away?"

"Gone away? Why, what in the nation do you mean? _I_ hain't been gone
anywheres. Where would I go to?"

"Well, looky here, boss, dey's sumfn 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 towhead?"

"No, I didn't. What towhead? I hain't seen no towhead."

"You hain't seen no towhead? Looky here, didn't de line pull loose en
de raf' go a-hummin' down de river, en leave you en de canoe behine in
de fog?"

"What fog?"

"Why, _de_ fog!--de fog dat's been aroun' all night. En didn't you
whoop, en didn't I whoop, tell we got mix' up in de islands en one un
us got los' en t'other one was jis' as good as los', 'kase he didn'
know whah he wuz? En didn't I bust up agin a lot er dem islands en
have a turrible time en mos' git drownded?  Now ain' dat so,
boss--ain't it so? You answer me dat."

"Well, this is too many for me, Jim. I hain't seen no fog, nor no
islands, nor no troubles, nor nothing. I been setting here talking
with you all night till you went to sleep about ten minutes ago, and I
reckon I done the same. You couldn't 'a' got drunk in that time, so of
course you've been dreaming."

"Dad fetch it, how is I gwyne to dream all dat in ten minutes?"

"Well, hang it all, you did dream it, because there didn't any of it

"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 powerfulest dream I ever see. En I hain't ever had no dream b'fo'
dat's tired me like dis one."

"Oh, well, that's all right, because a dream does tire a body like
everything sometimes. But this one was a staving dream; tell me all
about it, Jim."

So Jim went to work and told me the whole thing right through, just as
it happened, only he painted it up considerable. Then he said he must
start in and "'terpret" it, because it was sent for a warning. He said
the first towhead stood for a man that would try to do us some good,
but the current was another man that would get us away from him. The
whoops was warnings that would come to us every now and then, and if
we didn't try hard to make out to understand them they'd just take us
into bad luck, 'stead of keeping us out of it. The lot of towheads was
troubles we was going to get into with quarrelsome people and all
kinds of mean folks, but if we minded our business and didn't talk
back and aggravate them, we would pull through and get out of the fog
and into the big clear river, which was the free states, and wouldn't
have no more trouble.

It had clouded up pretty dark just after I got on to the raft, but it
was clearing up again now.

"Oh, well, that's all interpreted well enough as far as it goes, Jim,"
I says; "but what does _these_ things stand for?"

It was the leaves and rubbish on the raft and the smashed oar. You
could see them first-rate now.

Jim looked at the trash, and then looked at me, and back at the trash
again. He had got the dream fixed so strong in his head that he
couldn't seem to shake it loose and get the facts back into its place
again right away. But when he did get the thing straightened around he
looked at me steady without ever smiling, and says:

"What do dey stan' for? I'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 ag'in, 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
afterward, 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 a slave country again and no more show for freedom. Every
little while he jumps up and says:

"Dah she is?"

But it warn't. It was Jack-o'-lanterns, or lightning-bugs; so he set
down again, and went to watching, same as before. Jim said it made him
all over trembly and feverish to be so close to freedom. Well, I can
tell you it made me all over trembly and feverish, too, to hear him,
because I begun to get it through my head that he _was_ most free--and
who was to blame for it? Why, _me_. I couldn't get that out of my
conscience, no how nor no way. It got to troubling me so I couldn't
rest; I couldn't stay still in one place. It hadn't ever come home to
me before, what this thing was that I was doing. But now it did; and
it stayed with me, and scorched me more and more. I tried to make out
to myself that _I_ warn't to blame, because _I_ didn't run Jim off
from his rightful owner; but it warn't no use, conscience up and says,
every time, "But you knowed he was running for his freedom, and you
could 'a' paddled ashore and told somebody." That was so--I couldn't
get around that 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 and see, Jim. It mightn't be, you know."

He jumped and got the canoe ready, and put his old coat in the bottom
for me to set on, and give me the paddle; and as I shoved off, he

"Pooty soon I'll be a-shout'n' for joy, en I'll say, it's all on
accounts o' Huck; I's a free man, en I couldn't ever ben free ef it
hadn' ben for Huck; Huck done it. Jim won't ever forgit you, Huck;
you's de bes' fren' Jim's ever had; en you's de _only_ fren' ole Jim's
got now."

I was paddling off, all in a sweat to tell on him; but when he says
this, it seemed to kind of take the tuck all out of me. I went along
slow then, and I warn't right down certain whether I was glad I
started or whether I warn't. When I was fifty yards off, Jim says:

"Dah you goes, de ole true Huck; de on'y white genlman dat ever kep'
his promise to ole Jim."

Well, I just felt sick.  But I says, I _got_ to do it--I can't get
_out_ of it. Right then along comes a skiff with two men in it with
guns, and they stopped and I stopped. One of them says:

"What's that yonder?"

"A piece of a raft," I says.

"Do you belong on it?"

"Yes, sir."

"Any men on it?"

"Only one, sir."

"Well, there's five niggers run off to-night up yonder, above the head
of the bend. Is your man white or black?"

I didn't answer up prompt. I tried to, but the words wouldn't come. I
tried for a second or two to brace up and out with it, but I warn't
man enough--hadn't the spunk of a rabbit. I see I was weakening; so I
just give up trying, and up and says:

"He's white."

"I reckon we'll go and see for ourselves."

"I wish you would," says I, "because it's pap that's there, and maybe
you'd help me tow the raft ashore where the light is. He's sick--and
so is mam and Mary Ann."

"Oh, the devil! we're in a hurry, boy. But I s'pose we've got to.
Come, buckle to your paddle, and let's get along."

I buckled to my paddle and they laid to their oars. When we had made a
stroke or two, I says:

"Pap 'll be mighty much obleeged to you, I can tell you. Everybody
goes away when I want them to help me tow the raft ashore, and I can't
do it by myself."

"Well, that's infernal mean. Odd, too. Say, boy, what's the matter
with your father?"

"It's the--a--the--well, it ain't anything much."

They stopped pulling. It warn't but a mighty little ways to the raft
now. One says:

"Boy, that's a lie. What _is_ the matter with your pap? Answer up
square now, and it 'll be the better for you."

"I will, sir, I will, honest--but don't leave us, please. It's
the--the--Gentlemen, if you'll only pull ahead, and let me heave you
the headline, you won't have to come a-near the raft--please do."

"Set her back, John, set her back!" says one. They backed water. "Keep
away, boy--keep to looard. Confound it, I just expect the wind has
blowed it to us. Your pap's got the smallpox, and you know it precious
well. Why didn't you come out and say so? Do you want to spread it all

"Well," says I, a-blubbering, "I've told everybody before, and they
just went away and left us."

"Poor devil, there's something in that. We are right down sorry for
you, but we--well, hang it, we don't want the smallpox, you see. Look
here, I'll tell you what to do. Don't you try to land by yourself, or
you'll smash everything to pieces. You float along down about twenty
miles, and you'll come to a town on the left-hand side of the river.
It will be long after sun-up then, and when you ask for help you tell
them your folks are all down with chills and fever. Don't be a fool
again, and let people guess what is the matter. Now we're trying to do
you a kindness; so you just put twenty miles between us, that's a good
boy. It wouldn't do any good to land yonder where the light is--it's
only a wood-yard. Say, I reckon your father's poor, and I'm bound to
say he's in pretty hard luck. Here, I'll put a twenty-dollar gold
piece on this board, and you get it when it floats by. I feel mighty
mean to leave you; but my kingdom! it won't do to fool with small-pox,
don't you see?"

"Hold on, Parker," says the man, "here's a twenty to put on the board
for me. Good-by, boy; you do as Mr. Parker told you, and you'll be all

"That's so, my boy--good-by, good-bye. If you see any runaway niggers
you get help and nab them, and you can make some money by it."

"Good-by, sir," says I; "I won't let no runaway niggers get by me if I
can help it."

They went off and I got aboard the raft, feeling bad and low, because
I knowed very well I had done wrong, and I see it warn't no use for me
to try to learn to do right; a body that don't get _started_ right
when he's little ain't got no show--when the pinch comes there ain't
nothing to back him up and keep him to his work, and so he gets beat.
Then I thought a minute, and says to myself, hold on; s'pose you'd 'a'
done right and give Jim up, would you felt better than what you do
now? No, says I, I'd feel bad--I'd feel just the same way I do now.
Well, then, says I, what's the use you learning to do right when it's
troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong, and the
wages is just the same? I was stuck. I couldn't answer that. So I
reckoned I wouldn't bother no more about it, but after this always do
whichever come handiest at the time.

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


"Here I is, Huck. Is dey out o' sight yit? Don't talk loud."

He was in the river under the stern oar, with just his nose out. I
told him they were out of sight, so he come aboard. He says:

"I was a-listenin' to all de talk, en I slips into de river en was
gwyne to shove for sho' if dey come aboard. Den I was gwyne to swim to
de raf' agin when dey was gone. But lawsy, how you did fool 'em, Huck!
Dat _wuz_ de smartes' dodge! I tell you, chile, I 'spec it save' ole
Jim--ole Jim ain't going to forgit you for dat, honey."

Then we talked about the money. It was a pretty good raise--twenty
dollars apiece. Jim said we could take deck passage on a steamboat
now, and the money would last us as far as we wanted to go in the free
states. He said twenty mile more warn't far for the raft to go, but he
wished we was already there.

Towards daybreak we tied up, and Jim was mighty particular about
hiding the raft good. Then he worked all day fixing things in bundles,
and getting all ready to quit rafting.

That night about ten we hove in sight of the lights of a town away
down in a left-hand bend.

I went off in the canoe to ask about it. Pretty soon I found a man out
in the river with a skiff, setting a trot-line. I ranged up and says:

"Mister, is that town Cairo?"

"Cairo? no. You must be a blame' fool."

"What town is it, mister?"

"If you want to know, go and find out. If you stay here botherin'
around me for about a half a minute longer you'll get something you
won't want."

I paddled to the raft. Jim was awful disappointed, but I said never
mind, Cairo would be the next place, I reckoned.

We passed another town before daylight, and I was going out again; but
it was high ground, so I didn't go. No high ground about Cairo, Jim
said. I had forgot it. We laid up for the day on a towhead tolerable
close to the left-hand bank. I begun to suspicion something. So did
Jim. I says:

"Maybe we went by Cairo in the fog that night."

He says:

"Doan' le's talk about it, Huck. Po' niggers can't have no luck. I
awluz 'spected dat rattlesnake-skin warn't done wid its work."

"I wish I'd never seen that snake-skin, Jim--I do wish I'd never laid
eyes on it."

"It ain't yo' fault, Huck; you didn't know. Don't you blame yo'self
'bout it."

When it was daylight, here was the clear Ohio water inshore, sure
enough, and outside was the old regular Muddy! So it was all up with

We talked it all over. It wouldn't do to take to the shore; we
couldn't take the raft up the stream, of course. There warn't no way
but to wait for dark, and start back in the canoe and take the
chances. So we slept all day amongst the cottonwood thicket, so as to
be fresh for the work, and when we went back to the raft about dark
the canoe was gone!

We didn't say a word for a good while. There warn't anything to say.
We both knowed well enough it was some more work of the
rattlesnake-skin; so what was the use to talk about it? It would only
look like we was finding fault, and that would be bound to fetch more
bad luck--and keep on fetching it, too, till we knowed enough to keep

By and by we talked about what we better do, and found there warn't no
way but just to go along down with the raft till we got a chance to
buy a canoe to go back in. We warn't going to borrow it when there
warn't anybody around, the way pap would do, for that might set people
after us.

So we shoved out after dark on the raft.

Anybody that don't believe yet that it's foolishness to handle a
snake-skin, after all that that snake-skin done for us, will believe
it now if they read on and see what more it done for us.

The place to buy canoes is off of rafts laying up at shore. But we
didn't see no rafts laying up; so we went along during three hours and
more. Well, the night got gray and ruther thick, which is the next
meanest thing to fog. You can't tell the shape of the river, and you
can't see no distance. It got to be very late and still, and then
along comes a steamboat up the river. We lit the lantern, and judged
she would see it. Up-stream boats didn't generly come close to us;
they go out and follow the bars and hunt for easy water under the
reefs; but nights like this they bull right up the channel against the
whole river.

We could hear her pounding along, but we didn't see her good till she
was close. She aimed right for us. Often they do that and try to see
how close they can come without touching; sometimes the wheel bites
off a sweep, and then the pilot sticks his head out and laughs, and
thinks he's mighty smart. Well, here she comes, and we said she was
going to try and shave us; but she didn't seem to be sheering off a
bit. She was a big one, and she was coming in a hurry, too, looking
like a black cloud with rows of glow-worms around it; but all of a
sudden she bulged out, big and scary, with a long row of wide-open
furnace doors shining like red-hot teeth, and her monstrous bows and
guards hanging right over us. There was a yell at us, and a jingling
of bells to stop the engines, a powwow of cussing, and whistling of
steam--and as Jim went overboard on one side and I on the other, she
come smashing straight through the raft.

I dived--and I aimed to find the bottom, too, for a thirty-foot wheel
had got to go over me, and I wanted it to have plenty of room. I could
always stay under water a minute; this time I reckon I stayed under a
minute and a half. Then I bounced for the top in a hurry, for I was
nearly busting. I popped out to my armpits and blowed the water out of
my nose, and puffed a bit. Of course there was a booming current; and
of course that boat started her engines again ten seconds after she
stopped them, for they never cared much for raftsmen; so now she was
churning along up the river, out of sight in the thick weather, though
I could hear her.

I sung out for Jim about a dozen times, but I didn't get any answer;
so I grabbed a plank that touched me while I was "treading water," and
struck out for shore, shoving it ahead of me. But I made out to see
that the drift of the current was towards the left-hand shore, which
meant that I was in a crossing; so I changed off and went that way.

It was one of these long, slanting, two-mile crossings; so I was a
good long time in getting over. I made a safe landing, and clumb up
the bank. I couldn't see but a little ways, but I went poking along
over rough ground for a quarter of a mile or more, and then I run
across a big old-fashioned double log house before I noticed it. I was
going to rush by and get away, but a lot of dogs jumped out and went
to howling and barking at me, and I knowed better than to move another


In about a minute somebody spoke out of a window without putting his
head out, and says:

"Be done, boys! Who's there?"

I says:

"It's me."

"Who's me?"

"George Jackson, sir."

"What do you want?"

"I don't want nothing, sir. I only want to go along by, but the dogs
won't let me."

"What are you prowling around here this time of night for--hey?"

"I warn't prowling around, sir; I fell overboard off of the

"Oh, you did, did you? Strike a light there, somebody. What did you
say your name was?"

"George Jackson, sir. I'm only a boy."

"Look here, if you're telling the truth you needn't be afraid--nobody
'll hurt you. But don't try to budge; stand right where you are. Rouse
out Bob and Tom, some of you, and fetch the guns. George Jackson, is
there anybody with you?"

"No, sir, nobody."

I heard the people stirring around in the house now, and see a light.
The man sung out: "Snatch that light away, Betsy, you old fool--ain't
you got any sense? Put it on the floor behind the front door. Bob, if
you and Tom are ready, take your places."

"All ready."

"Now, George Jackson, do you know the Shepherdsons?"

"No, sir; I never heard of them."

"Well, that may be so, and it mayn't. Now, all ready. Step forward,
George Jackson. And mind, don't you hurry--come mighty slow. If
there's anybody with you, let him keep back--if he shows himself he'll
be shot. Come along now. Come slow; push the door open yourself--just
enough to squeeze in, d'you hear?"

I didn't hurry; I couldn't if I'd a-wanted to. I took one slow step at
a time and there warn't a sound, only I thought I could hear my heart.
The dogs were as still as the humans, but they followed a little
behind me. When I got to the three log doorsteps I heard them
unlocking and unbarring and unbolting. I put my hand on the door and
pushed it a little and a little more till somebody said, "There,
that's enough--put your head in." I done it, but I judged they would
take it off.

The candle was on the floor, and there they all was, looking at me,
and me at them, for about a quarter of a minute: Three big men with
guns pointed at me, which made me wince, I tell you; the oldest, gray
and about sixty, the other two thirty or more--all of them fine and
handsome--and the sweetest old gray-headed lady, and back of her two
young women which I couldn't see right well. The old gentleman says:

"There; I reckon it's all right. Come in."

As soon as I was in the old gentleman he locked the door and barred it
and bolted it, and told the young men to come in with their guns, and
they all went in a big parlor that had a new rag carpet on the floor,
and got together in a corner that was out of the range of the front
windows--there warn't none on the side. They held the candle, and took
a good look at me, and all said, "Why, _he_ ain't a Shepherdson--no,
there ain't any Shepherdson about him." Then the old man said he hoped
I wouldn't mind being searched for arms, because he didn't mean no
harm by it--it was only to make sure. So he didn't pry into my
pockets, but only felt outside with his hands, and said it was all
right. He told me to make myself easy and at home, and tell all about
myself; but the old lady says:

"Why, bless you, Saul, the poor thing's as wet as he can be; and don't
you reckon it may be he's hungry?"

"True for you, Rachel--I forgot."

So the old lady says:

"Betsy" (this was a nigger woman), "you fly around and get him
something to eat as quick as you can, poor thing; and one of you girls
go and wake up Buck and tell him--oh, here he is himself. Buck, take
this little stranger and get the wet clothes off from him and dress
him up in some of yours that's dry."

Buck looked about as old as me--thirteen or fourteen or along there,
though he was a little bigger than me. He hadn't on anything but a
shirt, and he was very frowzy-headed. He came in gaping and digging
one fist into his eyes, and he was dragging a gun along with the other
one. He says:

"Ain't they no Shepherdsons around?"

They said, no, 'twas a false alarm.

"Well," he says, "if they'd 'a' ben some, I reckon I'd 'a' got one."

They all laughed, and Bob says:

"Why, Buck, they might have scalped us all, you've been so slow in

"Well, nobody come after me, and it ain't right. I'm always kept down;
I don't get no show."

"Never mind, Buck, my boy," says the old man, "you'll have show
enough, all in good time, don't you fret about that. Go 'long with you
now, and do as your mother told you."

When we got up-stairs to his room he got me a coarse shirt and a
roundabout and pants of his, and I put them on. While I was at it he
asked me what my name was, but before I could tell him he started to
tell me about a bluejay and a young rabbit he had catched in the woods
day before yesterday, and he asked me where Moses was when the candle
went out. I said I didn't know; I hadn't heard about it before, no

"Well, guess," he says.

"How'm I going to guess," says I, "when I never heard tell of it

"But you can guess, can't you?  It's just as easy."

"_Which_ candle?" I says.

"Why, any candle," he says.

"I don't know where he was," says I; "where was he?"

"Why, he was in the _dark_! That's where he was!"

"Well, if you knowed where he was, what did you ask me for?"

"Why, blame it, it's a riddle, don't you see? Say, how long are you
going to stay here? You got to stay always. We can just have booming
times--they don't have no school now. Do you own a dog? I've got a
dog--and he'll go in the river and bring out chips that you throw in.
Do you like to comb up Sundays, and all that kind of foolishness? You
bet I don't, but ma she makes me. Confound these ole britches! I
reckon I'd better put 'em on, but I'd ruther not, it's so warm. Are
you all ready? All right. Come along, old hoss."

Cold corn-pone, cold corn-beef, butter and buttermilk--that is what
they had for me down there, and there ain't nothing better that ever
I've come across yet. Buck and his ma and all of them smoked cob
pipes, except the nigger woman, which was gone, and the two young
women. They all smoked and talked, and I eat and talked. The young
women had quilts around them, and their hair down their backs. They
all asked me questions, and I told them how pap and me and all the
family was living on a little farm down at the bottom of Arkansaw, and
my sister Mary Ann run off and got married and never was heard of no
more, and Bill went to hunt them and he warn't heard of no more, and
Tom and Mort died, and then there warn't nobody but just me and pap
left, and he was just trimmed down to nothing, on account of his
troubles; so when he died I took what there was left, because the farm
didn't belong to us, and started up the river, deck passage, and fell
overboard; and that was how I come to be here. So they said I could
have a home there as long as I wanted it. Then it was most daylight
and everybody went to bed, and I went to bed with Buck, and when I
waked up in the morning, drat it all, I had forgot what my name was.
So I laid there about an hour trying to think, and when Buck waked up
I says:

"Can you spell, Buck?"

"Yes," he says.

"I bet you can't spell my name," says I.

"I bet you what you dare I can," says he.

"All right," says I, "go ahead."

"G-e-o-r-g-e J-a-x-o-n--there now," he says.

"Well," says I, "you done it, but I didn't think you could. It ain't
no slouch of a name to spell--right off without studying."

I set it down, private, because somebody might want _me_ to spell it
next, and so I wanted to be handy with it and rattle it off like I was
used to it. It was a mighty nice family, and a mighty nice house, too.
I hadn't seen no house out in the country before that was so nice and
had so much style. It didn't have an iron latch on the front door, nor
a wooden one with a buckskin string, but a brass knob to turn, the
same as houses in town. There warn't no bed in the parlor, nor a sign
of a bed; but heaps of parlors in towns has beds in them. There was a
big fireplace that was bricked on the bottom, and the bricks was kept
clean and red by pouring water on them and scrubbing them with another
brick; sometimes they wash them over with red water-paint that they
call Spanish-brown, same as they do in town. They had big brass
dog-irons that could hold up a saw-log. There was a clock on the
middle of the mantelpiece, with a picture of a town painted on the
bottom half of the glass front, and a round place in the middle of it
for the sun, and you could see the pendulum swinging behind it. It was
beautiful to hear that clock tick; and sometimes when one of these
peddlers had been along and scoured her up and got her in good shape,
she would start in and strike a hundred and fifty before she got
tuckered out. They wouldn't took any money for her.

Well, there was a big outlandish parrot on each side of the clock,
made out of something like chalk, and painted up gaudy. By one of the
parrots was a cat made of crockery, and a crockery dog by the other;
and when you pressed down on them they squeaked, but didn't open their
mouths nor look different nor interested. They squeaked through
underneath. There was a couple of big wild-turkey-wing fans spread out
behind those things. On the table in the middle of the room was a kind
of a lovely crockery basket that had apples and oranges and peaches
and grapes piled up in it, which was much redder and yellower and
prettier than real ones is, but they warn't real because you could see
where pieces had got chipped off and showed the white chalk, or
whatever it was, underneath.

This table had a cover made out of beautiful oilcloth, with a red and
blue spread-eagle painted on it, and a painted border all around. It
come all the way from Philadelphia, they said. There was some books,
too, piled up perfectly exact, on each corner of the table. One was a
big family Bible full of pictures. One was Pilgrim's Progress, about a
man that left his family, it didn't say why. I read considerable in it
now and then. The statements was interesting, but tough. Another was
Friendship's Offering, full of beautiful stuff and poetry; but I
didn't read the poetry. Another was Henry Clay's Speeches, and another
was Dr. Gunn's Family Medicine, which told you all about what to do if
a body was sick or dead. There was a hymn-book, and a lot of other
books. And there was nice split-bottom chairs, and perfectly sound,
too--not bagged down in the middle and busted, like an old basket.

They had pictures hung on the walls--mainly Washingtons and
Lafayettes, and battles, and Highland Marys, and one called "Signing
the Declaration." There was some that they called crayons, which one
of the daughters which was dead made her own self when she was only
fifteen years old. They was different from any pictures I ever see
before--blacker, mostly, than is common. One was a woman in a slim
black dress, belted small under the armpits, with bulges like a
cabbage in the middle of the sleeves, and a large black scoop-shovel
bonnet with a black veil, and white slim ankles crossed about with
black tape, and very wee black slippers, like a chisel, and she was
leaning pensive on a tombstone on her right elbow, under a weeping
willow, and her other hand hanging down her side holding a white
handkerchief and a reticule, and underneath the picture it said "Shall
I Never See Thee More Alas." Another one was a young lady with her
hair all combed up straight to the top of her head, and knotted there
in front of a comb like a chair-back, and she was crying into a
handkerchief and had a dead bird laying on its back in her other hand
with its heels up, and underneath the picture it said "I Shall Never
Hear Thy Sweet Chirrup More Alas."  There was one where a young lady
was at a window looking up at the moon, and tears running down her
cheeks; and she had an open letter in one hand with black sealing-wax
showing on one edge of it, and she was mashing a locket with a chain
to it against her mouth, and underneath the picture it said "And Art
Thou Gone Yes Thou Art Gone Alas." These was all nice pictures, I
reckon, but I didn't somehow seem to take to them, because if ever I
was down a little they always give me the fan-tods. Everybody was
sorry she died, because she had laid out a lot more of these pictures
to do, and a body could see by what she had done what they had lost.
But I reckoned that with her disposition she was having a better time
in the graveyard. She was at work on what they said was her greatest
picture when she took sick, and every day and every night it was her
prayer to be allowed to live till she got it done, but she never got
the chance. It was a picture of a young woman in a long white gown,
standing on the rail of a bridge all ready to jump off, with her hair
all down her back, and looking up to the moon, with the tears running
down her face, and she had two arms folded across her breast, and two
arms stretched out in front, and two more reaching up toward 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


    And did young Stephen sicken,
    And did young Stephen die?
    And did the sad hearts thicken,
    And did the mourners cry?

    No; such was not the fate of
    Young Stephen Dowling Bots;
    Though sad hearts round him thickened,
    'Twas not from sickness' shots.

    No whooping-cough did rack his frame,
    Nor measles drear with spots;
    Not these impaired the sacred name
    Of Stephen Dowling Bots.

    Despised love struck not with woe
    That head of curly knots,
    Nor stomach troubles laid him low,
    Young Stephen Dowling Bots.

    O no. Then list with tearful eye,
    Whilst I his fate do tell.
    His soul did from this cold world fly
    By falling down a well.

    They got him out and emptied him;
    Alas it was too late;
    His spirit was gone for to sport aloft
    In the realms of the good and great.

If Emmeline Grangerford could make poetry like that before she was
fourteen, there ain't no telling what she could 'a' done by and by.
Buck said she could rattle off poetry like nothing. She didn't ever
have to stop to think. He said she would slap down a line, and if she
couldn't find anything to rhyme with it would just scratch it out and
slap down another one, and go ahead. She warn't particular; she could
write about anything you choose to give her to write about just so it
was sadful. Every time a man died, or a woman died, or a child died,
she would be on hand with her "tribute" before he was cold. She called
them tributes. The neighbors said it was the doctor first, then
Emmeline, then the undertaker--the undertaker never got in ahead of
Emmeline but once, and then she hung fire on a rhyme for the dead
person's name, which was Whistler. She warn't ever the same after
that; she never complained, but she kinder pined away and did not live
long. Poor thing, many's the time I made myself go up to the little
room that used to be hers and get out her poor old scrap-book and read
in it when her pictures had been aggravating me and I had soured on
her a little. I liked all that family, dead ones and all, and warn't
going to let anything come between us. Poor Emmeline made poetry about
all the dead people when she was alive, and it didn't seem right that
there warn't nobody to make some about her now she was gone; so I
tried to sweat out a verse or two myself, but I couldn't seem to make
it go somehow. They kept Emmeline's room trim and nice, and all the
things fixed in it just the way she liked to have them when she was
alive, and nobody ever slept there. The old lady took care of the room
herself, though there was plenty of niggers, and she sewed there a
good deal and read her Bible there mostly.

Well, as I was saying about the parlor, there was beautiful curtains
on the windows: white, with pictures painted on them of castles with
vines all down the walls, and cattle coming down to drink. There was a
little old piano, too, that had tin pans in it, I reckon, and nothing
was ever so lovely as to hear the young ladies sing "The Last Link is
Broken" and play "The Battle of Prague" on it. The walls of all the
rooms was plastered, and most had carpets on the floors, and the whole
house was whitewashed on the outside.

It was a double house, and the big open place betwixt them was roofed
and floored, and sometimes the table was set there in the middle of
the day, and it was a cool, comfortable place. Nothing couldn't be
better. And warn't the cooking good, and just bushels of it too!


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 gray 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 half a
minute, and that was enough; there wouldn't nothing go wrong again for
a week.

When him and the old lady come down in the morning all the family got
up out of their chairs and give them good day, and didn't set down
again till they had set down. Then Tom and Bob went to the sideboard
where the decanter was, and mixed a glass of bitters and handed it to
him, and he held it in his hand and waited till Tom's and Bob's was
mixed, and then they bowed and said, "Our duty to you, sir, and
madam"; and _they_ bowed the least bit in the world and said thank
you, and so they drank, all three, and Bob and Tom poured a spoonful
of water on the sugar and the mite of whisky or apple-brandy in the
bottom of their tumblers, and give it to me and Buck, and we drank to
the old people too.

Bob was the oldest and Tom next--tall, beautiful men with very broad
shoulders and brown faces, and long black hair and black eyes. They
dressed in white linen from head to foot, like the old gentleman, and
wore broad Panama hats.

Then there was Miss Charlotte; she was twenty-five, and tall and proud
and grand, but as good as she could be when she warn't stirred up; but
when she was she had a look that would make you wilt in your tracks,
like her father. She was beautiful.

So was her sister, Miss Sophia, but it was a different kind. She was
gentle and sweet like a dove, and she was only twenty.

Each person had their own nigger to wait on them--Buck too. My nigger
had a monstrous easy time, because I warn't used to having anybody do
anything for me, but Buck's was on the jump most of the time.

This was all there was of the family now, but there used to be
more--three sons; they got killed; and Emmeline that died.

The old gentleman owned a lot of farms and over a hundred niggers.
Sometimes a stack of people would come there, horseback, from ten or
fifteen mile around, and stay five or six days, and have such
junketings round about and on the river, and dances and picnics in the
woods daytimes, and balls at the house nights. These people was mostly
kinfolks of the family. The men brought their guns with them. It was a
handsome lot of quality, I tell you.

There was another clan of aristocracy around there--five or six
families--mostly of the name of Shepherdson. They was as high-toned
and well born and rich and grand as the tribe of Grangerfords. The
Shepherdsons and Grangerfords used the same steamboat-landing, which
was about two mile above our house; so sometimes when I went up there
with a lot of our folks I used to see a lot of the Shepherdsons there
on their fine horses.

One day Buck and me was away out in the woods hunting, and heard a
horse coming. We was crossing the road. Buck says:

"Quick! Jump for the woods!"

We done it, and then peeped down the woods through the leaves. Pretty
soon a splendid young man 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 come 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

"What was the trouble about. Buck?--land?"

"I reckon maybe--I don't know."

"Well, who done the shooting? Was it a Grangerford Shepherdson?"

"Laws, how do I know? It was so long ago."

"Don't anybody know?"

"Oh, yes, pa knows, I reckon, and some of the other old people; but
they don't know now what the row was about in the first place."

"Has there been many killed, Buck?"

"Yes; right smart chance of funerals. But they don't always kill. Pa's
got a few buckshot in him; but he don't mind it 'cuz he don't weigh
much, anyway. Bob's been carved up some with a bowie, and Tom's been
hurt once or twice."

"Has anybody been killed this year, Buck?"

"Yes; we got one and they got one. 'Bout three months ago my cousin
Bud, fourteen year old, was riding through the woods on t'other side
of the river, and didn't have no weapon with him, which was blame'
foolishness, and in a lonesome place he hears a horse a-coming behind
him, and sees old Baldy Shepherdson a-linkin' after him with his gun
in his hand and his white hair a-flying in the wind; and 'stead of
jumping off and taking to the brush, Bud 'lowed he could outrun him;
so they had it, nip and tuck, for five mile or more, the old man
a-gaining all the time; so at last Bud seen it warn't any use, so he
stopped and faced around so as to have the bullet-holes in front, you
know, and the old man he rode up and shot him down. But he didn't git
much chance to enjoy his luck, for inside of a week our folks laid
_him_ out."

"I reckon that old man was a coward, Buck."

"I reckon he _warn't_ a coward. Not by a blame' sight. There ain't a
coward amongst them Shepherdsons--not a one. And there ain't no
cowards amongst the Grangerfords either. Why, that old man kep' up his
end in a fight one day for half an hour against three Grangerfords,
and come out winner. They was all a-horseback; he lit off of his horse
and got behind a little woodpile, and kep' his horse before him to
stop the bullets; but the Grangerfords stayed on their horses and
capered around the old man, and peppered away at him, and he peppered
away at them. Him and his horse both went home pretty leaky and
crippled, but the Grangerfords had to be _fetched_ home--and one of
'em was dead, and another died the next day. No, sir; if a body's out
hunting for cowards he don't want to fool away any time amongst them
Shepherdsons, becuz they don't breed any of that _kind_."

Next Sunday we all went to church, about three mile, everybody
a-horseback. The men took their guns along, so did Buck, and kept them
between their knees or stood them handy against the wall. The
Shepherdsons done the same. It was pretty ornery preaching--all about
brotherly love, and such-like tiresomeness; but everybody said it was
a good sermon, and they all talked it over going home, and had such a
powerful lot to say about faith and good works and free grace and
preforeordestination, and I don't know what all, that it did seem to
me to be one of the roughest Sundays I had run across yet.

About an hour after dinner everybody was dozing around, some in their
chairs and some in their rooms, and it got to be pretty dull. Buck and
a dog was stretched out on the grass in the sun sound asleep. I went
up to our room, and judged I would take a nap myself. I found that
sweet Miss Sophia standing in her door, which was next to ours, and
she took me in her room and shut the door very soft, and asked me if I
liked her, and I said I did; and she asked me if I would do something
for her and not tell anybody, and I said I would. Then she said she'd
forgot her Testament, and left it in the seat at church between two
other books, and would I slip out quiet and go there and fetch it to
her, and not say nothing to nobody. I said I would. So I slid out and
slipped off up the road, and there warn't anybody at the church,
except maybe a hog or two, for there warn't any lock on the door, and
hogs likes a puncheon floor in summer-time because it's cool. If you
notice, most folks don't go to church only when they've got to; but a
hog is different.

Says I to myself, something's up; it ain't natural for a girl to be in
such a sweat about a Testament. So I give it a shake, and out drops a
little piece of paper with "_Half past two_" wrote on it with a
pencil. I ransacked it, but couldn't find anything else. I couldn't
make anything out of that, so I put the paper in the book again, and
when I got home and upstairs there was Miss Sophia in her door waiting
for me. She pulled me in and shut the door; then she looked in the
Testament till she found the paper, and as soon as she read it she
looked glad; and before a body could think she grabbed me and give me
a squeeze, and said I was the best boy in the world, and not to tell
anybody. She was mighty red in the face for a minute, and her eyes
lighted up, and it made her powerful pretty. I was a good deal
astonished, but when I got my breath I asked her what the paper was
about, and she asked me if I had read it, and I said no, and she asked
me if I could read writing, and I told her "no, only coarse-hand," and
then she said the paper warn't anything but a book-mark to keep her
place, and I might go and play now.

I went off down to the river, studying over this thing, and pretty
soon I noticed that my nigger was following along behind. When we was
out of sight of the house he looked back and around a second, and then
comes a-running, and says:

"Mars Jawge, if you'll come down into de swamp I'll show you a whole
stack o' water-moccasins."

Thinks I, that's mighty curious; he said that yesterday. He oughter
know a body don't love water-moccasins enough to go around hunting for
them. What is he up to, anyway? So I says:

"All right; trot ahead."

I followed a half a mile; then he struck out over the swamp, and waded
ankle-deep as much as another half-mile. We come to a little flat
piece of land which was dry and very thick with trees and bushes and
vines, and he says:

"You shove right in dah jist a few steps, Mars Jawge; dah's whah dey
is. I's seed 'm befo'; I don't k'yer to see 'em no mo'."

Then he slopped right along and went away, and pretty soon the trees
hid him. I poked into the place a-ways and come to a little open patch
as big as a bedroom all hung around with vines, and found a man laying
there asleep--and, by jings, it was my old Jim!

I waked him up, and I reckoned it was going to be a grand surprise to
him to see me again, but it warn't. He nearly cried he was so glad,
but he warn't surprised. Said he swum along behind me that night, and
heard me yell every time, but dasn't answer, because he didn't want
nobody to pick _him_ up and take him into slavery again. Says he:

"I got hurt a little, en couldn't swim fas', so I wuz a considerable
ways behine you towards de las'; when you landed I reck'ned I could
ketch up wid you on de lan' 'dout havin' to shout at you, but when I
see dat house I begin to go slow. I 'uz off too fur to hear what dey
say to you--I wuz 'fraid o' de dogs; but when it 'uz all quiet ag'in I
knowed you's in de house, so I struck out for de woods to wait for
day. Early in de mawnin' some er de niggers come along, gwyne to de
fields, en dey tuk me en showed me dis place, whah de dogs can't track
me on accounts o' de water, en dey brings me truck to eat every night,
en tells me how you's a-gittin' along."

"Why didn't you tell my Jack to fetch me here sooner, Jim?"

"Well, 'twarn't no use to 'sturb you, Huck, tell we could do
sumfn--but we's all right now. I ben a-buyin' pots en pans en vittles,
as I got a chanst, en a-patchin' up de raf' nights when--"

"_What_ raft, Jim?"

"Our ole raf'."

"You mean to say our old raft warn't smashed all to flinders?"

"No, she warn't. She was tore up a good deal--one en' of her was; but
dey warn't no great harm done, on'y our traps was mos' all los'. Ef we
hadn' dive' so deep en swum so fur under water, en de night hadn't 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 ag'in mos' as good as new, en we's got a new
lot o' stuff, in de place o' what 'uz los'."

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

"How I gwyne to ketch her en I out in de woods? No; some er de niggers
foun' her ketched on a snag along heah in de ben', en dey hid her in a
crick 'mongst de willows, en dey wuz so much jawin' 'bout which un 'um
she b'long to de mos' dat I come to heah 'bout it pooty soon, so I ups
en settles de trouble by tellin' 'um she don't b'long to none uv 'um,
but to you en me; en I ast 'm if dey gwyne to grab a young white
genlman's propaty, en git a hid'n for it? Den I gin 'm ten cents
apiece, en dey 'uz mighty well satisfied, en wisht some mo' raf's 'ud
come along en make 'm rich ag'in. Dey's mighty good to me, dese
niggers is, en whatever I wants 'm to do fur me I doan' have to ast 'm
twice, honey. Dat Jack's a good nigger, en pooty smart."

"Yes, he is. He ain't ever told me you was here; told me to come, and
he'd show me a lot of water-moccasins. If anything happens _he_ ain't
mixed up in it. He can say he never seen us together, and it 'll be
the truth."

I don't want to talk much about the next day. I reckon I'll cut it
pretty short. I waked up about dawn, and was a-going to turn over and
go to sleep again when I noticed how still it was--didn't seem to be
anybody stirring. That warn't usual. Next I noticed that Buck was up
and gone. Well, I gets up, a-wondering, and goes down-stairs--nobody
around; everything as still as a mouse. Just the same outside. Thinks
I, what does it mean? Down by the woodpile I comes across my Jack, and

"What's it all about?"

Says he:

"Don't you know, Mars Jawge?"

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

"Well, den, Miss Sophia's run off! 'deed she has. She run off in de
night some time--nobody don't know jis' when; run off to get married
to dat young Harney Shepherdson, you know--leastways, so dey 'spec. De
fambly foun' it out 'bout half an hour ago--maybe a little mo'--en' I
_tell_ you dey warn't no time los'. Sich another hurryin' up guns en
hosses _you_ never see! De women folks has gone for to stir up de
relations, en ole Mars Saul en de boys tuck dey guns en rode up de
river road for to try to ketch dat young man en kill him 'fo' he kin
git acrost de river wid Miss Sophia. I reck'n dey's gwyne to be mighty
rough times."

"Buck went off 'thout waking me up."

"Well, I reck'n he _did!_ Dey warn't gwyne to mix you up in it. Mars
Buck he loaded up his gun en 'lowed he's gwyne to fetch home a
Shepherdson or bust. Well, dey'll be plenty un 'm dah, I reck'n, en
you bet you he'll fetch one ef he gits a chanst."

I took up the river road as hard as I could put. By and by I begin to
hear guns a good ways off. When I came in sight of the log store and
the woodpile where the steamboats lands I worked along under the trees
and brush till I got to a good place, and then I clumb up into the
forks of a cottonwood that was out of reach, and watched. There was a
wood-rank four foot high a little ways in front of the tree, and first
I was going to hide behind that; but maybe it was luckier I didn't.

There was four or five men cavorting around on their horses in the
open place before the log store, cussing and yelling, and trying to
get at a couple of young chaps that was behind the wood-rank alongside
of the steamboat-landing; but they couldn't come it. Every time one of
them showed himself on the river side of the woodpile he got shot at.
The two boys was squatting back to back behind the pile, so they could
watch both ways.

By and by the men stopped cavorting around and yelling. They started
riding towards the store; then up gets one of the boys, draws a steady
bead over the wood-rank, and drops one of them out of his saddle. All
the men jumped off of their horses and grabbed the hurt one and
started to carry him to the store; and that minute the two boys
started on the run. They got half-way to the tree I was in before the
men noticed. Then the men see them, and jumped on their horses and
took out after them. They gained on the boys, but it didn't do no
good, the boys had too good a start; they got to the woodpile that was
in front of my tree, and slipped in behind it, and so they had the
bulge on the men again. One of the boys was Buck, and the other was a
slim young chap about nineteen years old.

The men ripped around awhile, and then rode away. As soon as they was
out of sight I sung out to Buck and told him. He didn't know what to
make of my voice coming out of the tree at first. He was awful
surprised. He told me to watch out sharp and let him know when the men
come in sight again; said they was up to some devilment or
other--wouldn't be gone long. I wished I was out of that tree, but I
dasn't come down. Buck begun to cry and rip, and 'lowed that him and
his cousin Joe (that was the other young chap) would make up for this
day yet. He said his father and his two brothers was killed, and two
or three of the enemy. Said the Shepherdsons laid for them in ambush.
Buck said his father and brothers ought to waited for their
relations--the Shepherdsons was too strong for them. I asked him what
was become of young Harney and Miss Sophia. He said they'd got across
the river and was safe. I was glad of that; but the way Buck did take
on because he didn't manage to kill Harney that day he shot at him--I
hain't ever heard anything like it.

All of a sudden, bang! bang! bang! goes three or four guns--the men
had slipped around through the woods and come in from behind without
their horses! The boys jumped for the river--both of them hurt--and as
they swum down the current the men run along the bank shooting at them
and singing out, "Kill them, kill them!" It made me so sick I most
fell out of the tree. I ain't a-going to tell _all_ that happened--it
would make me sick again if I was to do that. I wished I hadn't ever
come ashore that night to see such things. I ain't ever going to get
shut of them--lots of times I dream about them.

I stayed in the tree till it begun to get dark, afraid to come down.
Sometimes I heard guns away off in the woods; and twice I seen little
gangs of men gallop past the log store with guns; so I reckoned the
trouble was still a-going on. I was mighty downhearted; so I made up
my mind I wouldn't ever go anear that house again, because I reckoned
I was to blame, somehow. I judged that that piece of paper meant that
Miss Sophia was to meet Harney somewheres at half past two and run
off; and I judged I ought to told her father about that paper and the
curious way she acted, and then maybe he would 'a' locked her up, and
this awful mess wouldn't ever happened.

When I got down out of the tree I crept along down the river-bank a
piece, and found the two bodies laying in the edge of the water, and
tugged at them till I got them ashore; then I covered up their faces,
and got away as quick as I could. I cried a little when I was covering
up Buck's face, for he was mighty good to me.

It was just dark now. I never went near the house, but struck through
the woods and made for the swamp. Jim warn't on his island, so I
tramped off in a hurry for the crick, and crowded through the willows,
red-hot to jump aboard and get out of that awful country. The raft was
gone! My souls, but I was scared! I couldn't get my breath for most a
minute. Then I raised a yell. A voice not twenty-five foot from me

"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 ag'in. 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' 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 ag'in en tells me for certain you _is_ dead.
Lawsy, I's mighty glad to git you back ag'in, honey."

I says:

"All right--that's mighty good; they won't find me, and they'll think
I've been killed, and floated down the river--there's something up
there that 'll help them think so--so don't you lose no time, Jim, but
just shove off for the big water as fast as ever you can."

I never felt easy till the raft was two mile below there and out in
the middle of the Mississippi. Then we hung up our signal lantern, and
judged that we was free and safe once more. I hadn't had a bite to eat
since yesterday, so Jim he got out some corn-dodgers and buttermilk,
and pork and cabbage and greens--there ain't nothing in the world so
good when it's cooked right--and whilst I eat my supper we talked and
had a good time. I was powerful glad to get away from the feuds, and
so was Jim to get away from the swamp. We said there warn't no home
like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and
smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and
comfortable on a raft.


Two or three days and nights went by; I reckon I might say they swum
by, they slid along so quiet and smooth and lovely. Here is the way we
put in the time. It was a monstrous big river down there--sometimes a
mile and a half wide; we run nights, and laid up and hid daytimes;
soon as night was most gone we stopped navigating and tied up--nearly
always in the dead water under a towhead; and then cut young
cottonwoods and willows, and hid the raft with them. Then we set out
the lines. Next we slid into the river and had a swim, so as to
freshen up and cool off; then we set down on the sandy bottom where
the water was about knee-deep, and watched the daylight come. Not a
sound anywheres--perfectly still--just like the whole world was
asleep, only sometimes the bullfrogs a-cluttering, maybe. The first
thing to see, looking away over the water, was a kind of dull
line--that was the woods on t'other side; you couldn't make nothing
else out; then a pale place in the sky; then more paleness spreading
around; then the river softened up away off, and warn't black any
more, but gray; you could see little dark spots drifting along ever so
far away--trading-scows, and such things; and long black
streaks--rafts; sometimes you could hear a sweep screaking; or
jumbled-up voices, it was so still, and sounds come so far; and by and
by you could see a streak on the water which you know by the look of
the streak that there's a snag there in a swift current which breaks
on it and makes that streak look that way; and you see the mist curl
up off of the water, and the east reddens up, and the river, and you
make out a log cabin in the edge of the woods, away on the bank on
t'other side of the river, being a wood-yard, likely, and piled by
them cheats so you can throw a dog through it anywheres; then the nice
breeze springs up, and comes fanning you from over there, so cool and
fresh and sweet to smell on account of the woods and the flowers; but
sometimes not that way, because they've left dead fish laying around,
gars and such, and they do get pretty rank; and next you've got the
full day, and everything smiling in the sun, and the song-birds just
going it!

A little smoke couldn't be noticed now, so we would take some fish off
of the lines and cook up a hot breakfast. And afterwards we would
watch the lonesomeness of the river, and kind of lazy along, and by
and by lazy off to sleep. Wake up by and by, and look to see what done
it, and maybe see a steamboat coughing along up-stream, so far off
towards the other side you couldn't tell nothing about her only
whether she was a stern-wheel or side-wheel; then for about an hour
there wouldn't be nothing to hear nor nothing to see--just solid
lonesomeness. Next you'd see a raft sliding by, away off yonder, and
maybe a galoot on it chopping, because they're most always doing it on
a raft; you'd see the 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 powwow shut off and leave the river still again; and by
and by her waves would get to us, a long time after she was gone, and
joggle the raft a bit, and after that you wouldn't hear nothing for
you couldn't tell how long, except maybe frogs or something.

After midnight the people on shore went to bed, and then for two or
three hours the shores was black--no more sparks in the cabin windows.
These sparks was our clock--the first one that showed again meant
morning was coming, so we hunted a place to hide and tie up right

One morning about daybreak I found a canoe and crossed over a chute to
the main shore--it was only two hundred yards--and paddled about a
mile up a crick amongst the cypress woods, to see if I couldn't get
some berries. Just as I was passing a place where a kind of a cowpath
crossed the crick, here comes a couple of men tearing up the path as
tight as they could foot it. I thought I was a goner, for whenever
anybody was after anybody I judged it was _me_--or maybe Jim. I was
about to dig out from there in a hurry, but they was pretty close to
me then, and sung out and begged me to save their lives--said they
hadn't been doing nothing, and was being chased for it--said there was
men and dogs a-coming. They wanted to jump right in, but I says:

"Don't you do it. I don't hear the dogs and horses yet; you've got
time to crowd through the brush and get up the crick a little ways;
then you take to the water and wade down to me and get in--that 'll
throw the dogs off the scent."

They done it, and soon as they was aboard I lit out for our towhead,
and in about five or ten minutes we heard the dogs and the men away
off, shouting. We heard them come along towards the crick, but
couldn't see them; they seemed to stop and fool around awhile; then,
as we got further and further away all the time, we couldn't hardly
hear them at all; by the time we had left a mile of woods behind us
and struck the river, everything was quiet, and we paddled over to the
towhead and hid in the cottonwoods and was safe.

One of these fellows was about seventy or upwards, and had a bald head
and very gray whiskers. He had an old battered-up slouch hat on, and a
greasy blue 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 long-tailed blue jeans coat with slick brass buttons flung
over his arm, and both of them had big, fat, ratty-looking

The other fellow was about thirty, and dressed about as ornery. After
breakfast we all laid off and talked, and the first thing that come
out was that these chaps didn't know one another.

"What got you into trouble?" says the baldhead to t'other chap.

"Well, I'd been selling an article to take the tartar off the
teeth--and it does take it off, too, and generly the enamel along with
it--but I stayed about one night longer than I ought to, and was just
in the act of sliding out when I ran across you on the trail this side
of town, and you told me they were coming, and begged me to help you
to get off. So I told you I was expecting trouble myself, and would
scatter out _with_ you. That's the whole yarn--what's yourn?"

"Well, I'd ben a-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," said the young one, "I reckon we might double-team it
together; what do you think?"

"I ain't undisposed. What's your line--mainly?"

"Jour printer by trade; do a little in patent medicines;
theater-actor--tragedy, you know; take a turn to mesmerism and
phrenology when there's a chance; teach singing-geography school for a
change; sling a lecture sometimes--oh, I do lots of things--most
anything that comes handy, so it ain't work. What's your lay?"

"I've done considerble in the doctoring way in my time. Layin' on o'
hands is my best holt--for cancer and paralysis, and sich things; and
I k'n tell a fortune pretty good when I've got somebody along to find
out the facts for me. Preachin's my line, too, and workin'
camp-meetin's, and missionaryin' around."

Nobody never said anything for a while; then the young man hove a sigh
and says:


"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 titles and estates--the infant real duke was ignored. I am
the lineal descendant of that infant--I am the rightful Duke of
Bridgewater; and here am I, forlorn, torn from my high estate, hunted
of men, despised by the cold world, ragged, worn, heartbroken, 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, "That secret of your being: speak!"

"Bilgewater, I am the late Dauphin!"

You bet you, Jim and me stared this time. Then the duke says:

"You are what?"

"Yes, my friend, it is too true--your eyes is lookin' at this very
moment on the pore disappeared Dauphin, Looy the Seventeen, son of
Looy the Sixteen and Marry Antonette."

"You! At your age! No! You mean you're the late Charlemagne; you must
be six or seven hundred years old, at the very least."

"Trouble has done it, Bilgewater, trouble has done it; trouble has
brung these gray hairs and this premature balditude. Yes, gentlemen,
you see before you, in blue jeans and misery, the wanderin', exiled,
trampled-on, and sufferin' rightful King of France."

Well, he cried and took on so that me and Jim didn't know hardly what
to do, we was so sorry--and so glad and proud we'd got him with us,
too. So we set in, like we done before with the duke, and tried to
comfort _him._ But he said it warn't no use, nothing but to be dead
and done with it all could do him any good; though he said it often
made him feel easier and better for a while if people treated him
according to his rights, and got down on one knee to speak to him, and
always called him "Your Majesty," and waited on him first at meals,
and didn't set down in his presence till he asked them. So Jim and me
set to majestying him, and doing this and that and t'other for him,
and standing up till he told us we might set down. This done him heaps
of good, and so he got cheerful and comfortable. But the duke kind of
soured on him, and didn't look a bit satisfied with the way things was
going; still, the king acted real friendly towards him, and said the
duke's great-grandfather and all the other Dukes of Bilgewater was a
good deal thought of by _his_ father, and was allowed to come to the
palace considerable; but the duke stayed huffy a good while, till by
and by the king says:

"Like as not we got to be together a blamed long time on this h-yer
raft, Bilgewater, and so what's the use o' your bein' sour? It 'll
only make things oncomfortable. It ain't my fault I warn't born a
duke, it ain't your fault you warn't born a king--so what's the use to
worry? Make the best o' things the way you find 'em, says I--that's my
motto. This ain't no bad thing that we've struck here--plenty grub and
an easy life--come, give us your hand, duke, and le's all be friends."

The duke done it, and Jim and me was pretty glad to see it. It took
away all the uncomfortableness and we felt mighty good over it,
because it would 'a' been a miserable business to have any
unfriendliness on the raft; for what you want, above all things, on a
raft, is for everybody to be satisfied, and feel right and kind
towards the others.

It didn't take me long to make up my mind that these liars warn't no
kings nor dukes at all, but just low-down humbugs and frauds. But I
never said nothing, never let on; kept it to myself; it's the best
way; then you don't have no quarrels, and don't get into no trouble.
If they wanted us to call them kings and dukes, I hadn't no
objections, 'long as it would keep peace in the family; and it warn't
no use to tell Jim, so I didn't tell him. If I never learnt nothing
else out of pap, I learnt that the best way to get along with his kind
of people is to let them have their own way.


They asked us considerable many questions; wanted to know what we
covered up the raft that way for, and laid by in the daytime instead
of running--was Jim a runaway nigger? Says I:

"Goodness sakes! would a runaway nigger run _south?_"

No, they allowed he wouldn't. I had to account for things some way, so
I says:

"My folks was living in Pike County, in Missouri, where I was born,
and they all died off but me and pa and my brother Ike. Pa, he 'lowed
he'd break up and go down and live with Uncle Ben, who's got a little
one-horse place on the river forty-four mile below Orleans. Pa was
pretty poor, and had some debts; so when he'd squared up there warn't
nothing left but sixteen dollars and our nigger, Jim. That warn't
enough to take us fourteen hundred mile, deck passage nor no other
way. Well, when the river rose pa had a streak of luck one day; he
ketched this piece of a raft; so we reckoned we'd go down to Orleans
on it. Pa's luck didn't hold out; a steamboat run over the forrard
corner of the raft one night, and we all went overboard and dove under
the wheel; Jim and me come up all right, but pa was drunk, and Ike was
only four years old, so they never come up no more. Well, for the next
day or two we had considerable trouble, because people was always
coming out in skiffs and trying to take Jim away from me, saying they
believed he was a runaway nigger. We don't run daytimes no more now;
nights they don't bother us."

The duke says:

"Leave me alone to cipher out a way so we can run in the daytime if we
want to. I'll think the thing over--I'll invent a plan that 'll fix
it. We'll let it alone for to-day, because of course we don't want to
go by that town yonder in daylight--it mightn't be healthy."

Towards night it begun to darken up and look like rain; the
heat-lightning was squirting around low down in the sky, and the
leaves was beginning to shiver--it was going to be pretty ugly, it was
easy to see that. So the duke and the king went to overhauling our
wigwam, to see what the beds was like. My bed was a straw tick--better
than Jim's, which was a corn-shuck tick; there's always cobs around
about in a shuck tick, and they poke into you and hurt; and when you
roll over the dry shucks sound like you was rolling over in a pile of
dead leaves; it makes such a rustling that you wake up. Well, the duke
allowed he would take my bed; but the king allowed he wouldn't. He

"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 day
in the week, not by a long sight. My souls, how the wind did scream
along! And every second or two there'd come a glare that lit up the
white-caps for a half a mile around, and you'd see the islands looking
dusty through the rain, and the trees thrashing around in the wind;
then comes a _h-whack!_--bum! bum! bumble-umble-um-bum-bum-bum-bum--and
the thunder would go rumbling and grumbling away, and quit--and then
_rip_ comes another flash and another sock-dolager. 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 awhile, five cents a game. Then they got
tired of it, and allowed they would "lay out a campaign," as they
called it. The duke went down into his carpet-bag, and fetched up a
lot of little printed bills and read them out loud. One bill said,
"The celebrated Dr. Armand de Montalban, of Paris," would "lecture on
the Science of Phrenology" at such and such a place, on the blank day
of blank, at ten cents admission, and "furnish charts of character at
twenty-five cents apiece." The duke said that was _him._ In another
bill he was the "world-renowned Shakespearian tragedian, Garrick the
Younger, of Drury Lane, London." In other bills he had a lot of other
names and done other wonderful things, like finding water and gold
with a "divining-rod," "dissipating witch spells," and so on. By and
by he says:

"But the histrionic muse is the darling. Have you ever trod the
boards, Royalty?"

"No," says the king.

"You shall, then, before you're three days older, Fallen Grandeur,"
says the duke. "The first good town we come to we'll hire a hall and
do the swordfight in 'Richard III.' and the balcony scene in 'Romeo
and Juliet.' How does that strike you?"

"I'm in, up to the hub, for anything that will pay, Bilgewater; but,
you see, I don't know nothing about play-actin', and hain't ever seen
much of it. I was too small when pap used to have 'em at the palace.
Do you reckon you can learn me?"


"All right. I'm jist a-freezin' for something fresh, anyway. Le's
commence right away."

So the duke he told him all about who Romeo was and who Juliet was,
and said he was used to being Romeo, so the king could be Juliet.

"But if Juliet's such a young gal, duke, my peeled head and my white
whiskers is goin' to look oncommon odd on her, maybe."

"No, don't you worry; these country jakes won't ever think of that.
Besides, you know, you'll be in costume, and that makes all the
difference in the world; Juliet's in a balcony, enjoying the moonlight
before she goes to bed, and she's got on her nightgown and her ruffled
nightcap. Here are the costumes for the parts."

He got out two or three curtain-calico suits, which he said was
meedyevil armor for Richard III. and t'other chap, and a long white
cotton nightshirt and a ruffled nightcap to match. The king was
satisfied; so the duke got out his book and read the parts over in the
most splendid spread-eagle way, prancing around and acting at the same
time, to show how it had got to be done; then he give the book to the
king and told him to get his part by heart.

There was a little one-horse town about three mile down the bend, and
after dinner the duke said he had ciphered out his idea about how to
run in daylight without it being dangersome for Jim; so he allowed he
would go down to the town and fix that thing. The king allowed he
would go, too, and see if he couldn't strike something. We was out of
coffee, so Jim said I better go along with them in the canoe and get

When we got there there warn't nobody stirring; streets empty, and
perfectly dead and still, like Sunday. We found a sick nigger sunning
himself in a back yard, and he said everybody that warn't too young or
too sick or too old was gone to camp-meeting, about two mile back in
the woods. The king got the directions, and allowed he'd go and work
that camp-meeting for all it was worth, and I might go, too.

The duke said what he was after was a printing-office. We found it; a
little bit of a concern, up over a carpenter-shop--carpenters and
printers all gone to the meeting, and no doors locked. It was a dirty,
littered-up place, and had ink-marks, and handbills with pictures of
horses and runaway niggers on them, all over the walls. The duke shed
his coat and said he was all right now. So me and the king lit out for
the camp-meeting.

We got there in about a half an hour fairly dripping, for it was a
most awful hot day. There was as much as a thousand people there from
twenty mile around. The woods was full of teams and wagons, hitched
everywheres, feeding out of the wagon-troughs and stomping to keep off
the flies. There was sheds made out of poles and roofed over with
branches, where they had lemonade and gingerbread to sell, and piles
of watermelons and green corn and such-like truck.

The preaching was going on under the same kinds of sheds, only they
was bigger and held crowds of people. The benches was made out of
outside slabs of logs, with holes bored in the round side to drive
sticks into for legs. They didn't have no backs. The preachers had
high platforms to stand on at one end of the sheds. The women had on
sun-bonnets; and some had linsey-woolsey frocks, some gingham ones,
and a few of the young ones had on calico. Some of the young men was
barefooted, and some of the children didn't have on any clothes but
just a tow-linen shirt. Some of the old women was knitting, and some
of the young folks was courting on the sly.

The first shed we come to the preacher was lining out a hymn. He lined
out two lines, everybody sung it, and it was kind of grand to hear it,
there was so many of them and they done it in such a rousing way; then
he lined out two more for them to sing--and so on. The people woke up
more and more, and sung louder and louder; and towards the end some
begun to groan, and some begun to shout. Then the preacher begun to
preach, and begun in earnest, too; and went weaving first to one side
of the platform and then the other, and then a-leaning down over the
front of it, with his arms and his body going all the time, and
shouting his words out with all his might; and every now and then he
would hold up his Bible and spread it open, and kind of pass it around
this way and that, shouting, "It's the brazen serpent in the
wilderness! Look upon it and live!" And people would shout out,
"Glory!--A-a-_men_!" And so he went on, and the people groaning and
crying and saying amen:

"Oh, come to the mourners' bench! come, black with sin! (_amen!_)
come, sick and sore! (_amen!_) come, lame and halt and blind!
(_amen!_) come, pore and needy, sunk in shame! (_a-a-men!_) come, all
that's worn and soiled and suffering!--come with a broken spirit! come
with a contrite heart! come in your rags and sin and dirt! the waters
that cleanse is free, the door of heaven stands open--oh, enter in and
be at rest!" (_a-a-men! glory, glory hallelujah!_)

And so on. You couldn't make out what the preacher said any more, on
account of the shouting and crying. Folks got up everywheres in the
crowd, and worked their way just by main strength to the mourners'
bench, with the tears running down their faces; and when all the
mourners had got up there to the front benches in a crowd, they sung
and shouted and flung themselves down on the straw, just crazy and

Well, the first I knowed the king got a-going, and you could hear him
over everybody; and next he went a-charging up onto the platform, and
the preacher he begged him to speak to the people, and he done it. He
told them he was a pirate--been a pirate for thirty years out in the
Indian Ocean--and his crew was thinned out considerable last spring in
a fight, and he was home now to take out some fresh men, and thanks to
goodness he'd been robbed last night and put ashore off of a steamboat
without a cent, and he was glad of it; it was the blessedest thing
that ever happened to him, because he was a changed man now, and happy
for the first time in his life; and, poor as he was, he was going to
start right off and work his way back to the Indian Ocean, and put in
the rest of his life trying to turn the pirates into the true path;
for he could do it better than anybody else, being acquainted with all
pirate crews in that ocean; and though it would take him a long time
to get there without money, he would get there anyway, and every time
he convinced a pirate he would say to him, "Don't you thank me, don't
you give me no credit; it all belongs to them dear people in Pokeville
camp-meeting, natural brothers and benefactors of the race, and that
dear preacher there, the truest friend a pirate ever had!"

And then he busted into tears, and so did everybody. Then somebody
sings out, "Take up a collection for him, take up a collection!" Well,
a half a dozen made a jump to do it, but somebody sings out, "Let
_him_ pass the hat around!" Then everybody said it, the preacher too.

So the king went all through the crowd with his hat, swabbing his
eyes, and blessing the people and praising them and thanking them for
being so good to the poor pirates away off there; and every little
while the prettiest kind of girls, with the tears running down their
cheeks, would up and ask him would he let them kiss him for to
remember him by; and he always done it; and some of them he hugged and
kissed as many as five or six times--and he was invited to stay a
week; and everybody wanted him to live in their houses, and said
they'd think it was an honor; but he said as this was the last day of
the camp-meeting he couldn't do no good, and besides he was in a sweat
to get to the Indian Ocean right off and go to work on the pirates.

When we got back to the raft and he come to count up he found he had
collected eighty-seven dollars and seventy-five cents. And then he had
fetched away a three-gallon jug of whisky, too, that he found under a
wagon when he was starting home through the woods. The king said, take
it all around, it laid over any day he'd ever put in in the
missionarying line. He said it warn't no use talking, heathens don't
amount to shucks alongside of pirates to work a camp-meeting with.

The duke was thinking _he'd_ been doing pretty well till the king
come to show up, but after that he didn't think so so much. He
had set up and printed off two little jobs for farmers in that
printing-office--horse bills--and took the money, four dollars. And he
had got in ten dollars' worth of advertisements for the paper, which
he said he would put in for four dollars if they would pay in
advance--so they done it. The price of the paper was two dollars a
year, but he took in three subscriptions for half a dollar apiece on
condition of them paying him in advance; they were going to pay in
cordwood and onions as usual, but he said he had just bought the
concern and knocked down the price as low as he could afford it, and
was going to run it for cash. He set up a little piece of poetry,
which he made, himself, out of his own head--three verses--kind of
sweet and saddish--the name of it was, "Yes, crush, cold world, this
breaking heart"--and he left that all set up and ready to print in the
paper, and didn't charge nothing for it. Well, he took in nine dollars
and a half, and said he'd done a pretty square day's work for it.

Then he showed us another little job he'd printed and hadn't charged
for, because it was for us. It had a picture of a runaway nigger with
a bundle on a stick over his shoulder, and "$200 reward" under it. The
reading was all about Jim and just described him to a dot. It said he
run away from St. Jacques's plantation, forty mile below New Orleans,
last winter, and likely went north, and whoever would catch him and
send him back he could have the reward and expenses.

"Now," says the duke, "after to-night we can run in the daytime if we
want to. Whenever we see anybody coming we can tie Jim hand and foot
with a rope, and lay him in the wigwam and show this handbill and say
we captured him up the river, and were too poor to travel on a
steamboat, so we got this little raft on credit from our friends and
are going down to get the reward. Handcuffs and chains would look
still better on Jim, but it wouldn't go well with the story of us
being so poor. Too much like jewelry. Ropes are the correct thing--we
must preserve the unities, as we say on the boards."

We all said the duke was pretty smart, and there couldn't be no
trouble about running daytimes. We judged we could make miles enough
that night to get out of the reach of the powwow we reckoned the
duke's work in the printing-office was going to make in that little
town; then we could boom right along if we wanted to.

We laid low and kept still, and never shoved out till nearly ten
o'clock; then we slid by, pretty wide away from the town, and didn't
hoist our lantern till we was clear out of sight of it.

When Jim called me to take the watch at four in the morning, he says:

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

"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

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 the corner of the
raft, and pulled off his boots and rolled up his britches, and let his
legs dangle in the water, so as to be comfortable, and lit his pipe,
and went to getting his "Romeo and Juliet" by heart. When he had got
it pretty good him and the duke begun to practise it together. The
duke had to learn him over and over again how to say every speech; and
he made him sigh, and put his hand on his heart, and after a while he
said he done it pretty well; "only," he says, "you mustn't bellow out
_Romeo!_ that way, like a bull--you must say it soft and sick and
languishy, so--R-o-o-meo! that is the idea; for Juliet's a dear sweet
mere child of a girl, you know, and she doesn't bray like a jackass."

Well, next they got out a couple of long swords that the duke made out
of oak laths, and begun to practise the sword-fight--the duke called
himself Richard III.; and the way they laid on and pranced around the
raft was grand to see. But by and by the king tripped and fell
overboard, and after that they took a rest, and had a talk about all
kinds of adventures they'd had in other times along the river.

After dinner the duke says:

"Well, Capet, we'll want to make this a first-class show, you know, so
I guess we'll add a little more to it. We want a little something to
answer encores with, anyway."

"What's onkores, Bilgewater?"

The duke told him, and then says:

"I'll answer by doing the Highland fling or the sailor's hornpipe; and
you--well, let me see--oh, I've got it--you can do Hamlet's

"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
    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
    In customary suits of solemn black,
    But that the undiscovered country from whose bourne no
        traveler returns,
    Breathes forth contagion on the world,
    And thus the native hue of resolution, like the poor cat i' the
    Is sicklied o'er with care,
    And all the clouds that lowered o'er our housetops,
    With this regard their currents turn awry,
    And lose the name of action.
    'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. But soft you, the
        fair Ophelia:
    Ope not thy ponderous and marble jaws,
    But get thee to a nunnery--go!

Well, the old man he liked that speech, and he mighty soon got it so
he could do it first rate. It seemed like he was just born for it; and
when he had his hand in and was excited, it was perfectly lovely the
way he would rip and tear and rair up behind when he was getting it

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
   Assisted by the whole strength of the company!
   New costumes, new scenery, new appointments!
   The thrilling, masterly, and blood-curdling
   Broad-sword conflict
   In Richard III. ! ! !
   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 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 tinware. 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 Columbus'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 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_."

[Illustration:"'GIMME A CHAW'"]

All the streets and lanes was just mud; they warn't nothing else _but_
mud--mud as black as tar and nigh about a foot deep in some places,
and two or three inches deep in _all_ the places. The hogs loafed and
grunted around everywheres.  You'd see a muddy sow and a litter of
pigs come lazying along the street and whollop herself right down in
the way, where folks had to walk around her, and she'd stretch out and
shut her eyes and wave her ears whilst the pigs was milking her, and
look as happy as if she was on salary. And pretty soon you'd hear a
loafer sing out, "Hi! _so_ boy! sick him, Tige!" and away the sow
would go, squealing most horrible, with a dog or two swinging to each
ear, and three or four dozen more a-coming; and then you would see all
the loafers get up and watch the thing out of sight, and laugh at the
fun and look grateful for the noise. Then they'd settle back again
till there was a dog-fight. There couldn't anything wake them up all
over, and make them happy all over, like a dog-fight--unless it might
be putting turpentine on a stray dog and setting fire to him, or tying
a tin pan to his tail and see him run himself to death.

On the river-front some of the houses was sticking out over the bank,
and they was bowed and bent, and about ready to tumble in. The people
had moved out of them. The bank was caved away under one corner of
some others, and that corner was hanging over. People lived in them
yet, but it was dangersome, because sometimes a strip of land as wide
as a house caves in at a time. Sometimes a belt of land a quarter of a
mile deep will start in and cave along and cave along till it all
caves into the river in one summer. Such a town as that has to be
always moving back, and back, and back, because the river's always
gnawing at it.

The nearer it got to noon that day the thicker and thicker was the
wagons and horses in the streets, and more coming all the time.
Families fetched their dinners with them from the country, and eat
them in the wagons. There was considerable whisky-drinking going on,
and I seen three fights. By and by somebody sings out:

"Here comes old Boggs!--in from the country for his little old monthly
drunk; here he comes, boys!"

All the loafers looked glad; I reckoned they was used to having fun
out of Boggs. One of them says:

"Wonder who he's a-gwyne to chaw up this time. If he'd a-chawed up all
the men he's ben a-gwyne to chaw up in the last twenty year he'd have
considerable ruputation now."

Another one says, "I wisht old Boggs 'd threaten me, 'cuz then I'd
know I warn't gwyne to die for a thousan' year."

Boggs comes a-tearing along on his horse, whooping and yelling like an
Injun, and singing out:

"Cler the track, thar. I'm on the waw-path, and the price uv coffins
is a-gwyne to raise."

He was drunk, and weaving about in his saddle; he was over fifty year
old, and had a very red face. Everybody yelled at him and laughed at
him and sassed him, and he sassed back, and said he'd attend to them
and lay them out in their regular turns, but he couldn't wait now
because he'd come to town to kill old Colonel Sherburn, and his motto
was, "Meat first, and spoon vittles to top off on."

He see me, and rode up and says:

"Whar'd you come f'm, boy? You prepared to die?"

Then he rode on. I was scared, but a man says:

"He don't mean nothing; he's always a-carryin' on like that when he's
drunk. He's the best-naturedest old fool in Arkansaw--never hurt
nobody, drunk nor sober."

Boggs rode up before the biggest store in town, and bent his head down
so he could see under the curtain of the awning and yells:

"Come out here, Sherburn! Come out and meet the man you've swindled.
You're the houn' I'm after, and I'm a-gwyne to have you, too!"

And so he went on, calling Sherburn everything he could lay his tongue
to, and the whole street packed with people listening and laughing and
going on. By and by a proud-looking man about fifty-five--and he was a
heap the best-dressed man in that town, too--steps out of the store,
and the crowd drops back on each side to let him come. He says to
Boggs, mighty ca'm and slow--he says:

"I'm tired of this, but I'll endure it till one o'clock. Till one
o'clock, mind--no longer. If you open your mouth against me only once
after that time you can't travel so far but I will find you."

Then he turns and goes in. The crowd looked mighty sober; nobody
stirred, and there warn't no more laughing. Boggs rode off
blackguarding Sherburn as loud as he could yell, all down the street;
and pretty soon back he comes and stops before the store, still
keeping it up. Some men crowded around him and tried to get him to
shut up, but he wouldn't; they told him it would be one o'clock in
about fifteen minutes, and so he _must_ go home--he must go right
away. But it didn't do no good. He cussed away with all his might, and
throwed his hat down in the mud and rode over it, and pretty soon away
he went a-raging down the street again, with his gray hair a-flying.
Everybody that could get a chance at him tried their best to coax him
off of his horse so they could lock him up and get him sober; but it
warn't no use--up the street he would tear again, and give Sherburn
another cussing. By and by somebody says:

"Go for his daughter!--quick, go for his daughter; sometimes he'll
listen to her. If anybody can persuade him, she can."

So somebody started on a run. I walked down street a ways and stopped.
In about five or ten minutes here comes Boggs again, but not on his
horse. He was a-reeling across the street towards me, bareheaded, with
a friend on both sides of him a-holt of his arms and hurrying him
along. He was quiet, and looked uneasy; and he warn't hanging back
any, but was doing some of the hurrying himself. Somebody sings out:


I looked over there to see who said it, and it was that Colonel
Sherburn. He was standing perfectly still in the street, and had a
pistol raised in his right hand--not aiming it, but holding it out
with the barrel tilted up towards the sky. The same second I see a
young girl coming on the run, and two men with her. Boggs and the men
turned round to see who called him, and when they see the pistol the
men jumped to one side, and the pistol-barrel come down slow and
steady to a level--both barrels cocked. Boggs throws up both of his
hands and says, "O Lord, don't shoot!" Bang! goes the first shot, and
he staggers back, clawing at the air--bang! goes the second one, and
he tumbles backwards 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; 'tain't right and 'tain't fair for you to stay thar all the
time, and never give nobody a chance; other folks has their rights as
well as you."

There was considerable jawing back, so I slid out, thinking maybe
there was going to be trouble. The streets was full, and everybody was
excited. Everybody that seen the shooting was telling how it happened,
and there was a big crowd packed around each one of these fellows,
stretching their necks and listening. One long, lanky man, with long
hair and a big white fur stovepipe hat on the back of his head, and a
crooked-handled cane, marked out the places on the ground where Boggs
stood and where Sherburn stood, and the people following him around
from one place to t'other and watching everything he done, and bobbing
their heads to show they understood, and stooping a little and resting
their hands on their thighs to watch him mark the places on the ground
with his cane; and then he stood up straight and stiff where Sherburn
had stood, frowning and having his hat-brim down over his eyes, and
sung out, "Boggs!" and then fetched his cane down slow to a level, and
says "Bang!" staggered backwards, says "Bang!" again, and fell down
flat on his back. The people that had seen the thing said he done it
perfect; said it was just exactly the way it all happened. Then as
much as a dozen people got out their bottles and treated him.

Well, by and by somebody said Sherburn ought to be lynched. In about a
minute everybody was saying it; so away they went, mad and yelling,
and snatching down every clothes-line they come to to do the hanging


They swarmed up towards Sherburn's house, a-whooping and raging like
Injuns, and everything had to clear the way or get run over and
tromped to mush, and it was awful to see. Children was heeling it
ahead of the mob, screaming and trying to get out of the way; and
every window along the road was full of women's heads, and there was
nigger boys in every tree, and bucks and wenches looking over every
fence; and as soon as the mob would get nearly to them they would
break and skaddle back out of reach. Lots of the women and girls was
crying and taking on, scared most to death.

They swarmed up in front of Sherburn's palings as thick as they could
jam together, and you couldn't hear yourself think for the noise. It
was a little twenty-foot yard. Some sung out "Tear down the fence!
tear down the fence!" Then there was a racket of ripping and tearing
and smashing, and down she goes, and the front wall of the crowd
begins to roll in like a wave.

Just then Sherburn steps out onto 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 daytime and you're not behind him.

"Do I know you? I know you clear through. I was born and raised in the
South, and I've lived in the North; so I know the average all around.
The average man's a coward. In the North he lets anybody walk over him
that wants to, and goes home and prays for a humble spirit to bear it.
In the South one man, all by himself, has stopped a stage full of men
in the daytime, and robbed the lot. Your newspapers call you a brave
people so much that you think you are braver than any other
people--whereas you're just _as_ brave, and no braver. Why don't your
juries hang murderers? Because they're afraid the man's friends will
shoot them in the back, in the dark--and it's just what they _would_

"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' stayed if I wanted to, but
I didn't want to.

I went to the circus and loafed around the back side till the watchman
went by, and then dived in under the tent. I had my twenty-dollar gold
piece and some other money, but I reckoned I better save it, because
there ain't no telling how soon you are going to need it, away from
home and amongst strangers that way. You can't be too careful. I ain't
opposed to spending money on circuses when there ain't no other way,
but there ain't no use in _wasting_ it on them.

It was a real bully circus. It was the splendidest sight that ever was
when they all come riding in, two and two, and gentleman and lady,
side by side, the men just in their drawers and undershirts, and no
shoes nor stirrups, and resting their hands on their thighs easy and
comfortable--there must 'a' been twenty of them--and every lady with a
lovely complexion, and perfectly beautiful, and looking just like a
gang of real sure-enough queens, and dressed in clothes that cost
millions of dollars, and just littered with diamonds. It was a
powerful fine sight; I never see anything so lovely. And then one by
one they got up and stood, and went a-weaving around the ring so
gentle and wavy and graceful, the men looking ever so tall and airy
and straight, with their heads bobbing and skimming along, away up
there under the tent-roof, and every lady's rose-leafy dress flapping
soft and silky around her hips, and she looking like the most
loveliest parasol.

And then faster and faster they went, all of them dancing, first one
foot out in the air and then the other, the horses leaning more and
more, and the ringmaster going round and round the center pole,
cracking his whip and shouting "Hi!--hi!" and the clown cracking jokes
behind him; and by and by all hands dropped the reins, and every lady
put her knuckles on her hips and every gentleman folded his arms, and
then how the horses did lean over and hump themselves! And so one
after the other they all skipped off into the ring, and made the
sweetest bow I ever see, and then scampered out, and everybody clapped
their hands and went just about wild. Well, all through the circus
they done the most astonishing things; and all the time that clown
carried on so it most killed the people. The ringmaster couldn't ever
say a word to him but he was back at him quick as a wink with the
funniest things a body ever said; and how he ever _could_ think of so
many of them, and so sudden and so pat, was what I couldn't no way
understand. Why, I couldn't 'a' thought of them in a year. And by and
by a drunken 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 toward the ring, saying, "Knock him down! throw him
out!" and one or two women begun to scream. So, then, the ringmaster
he made a little speech, and said he hoped there wouldn't be no
disturbance, and if the man would promise he wouldn't make no more
trouble he would let him ride if he thought he could stay on the
horse. So everybody laughed and said all right, and the man got on.
The minute he was on, the horse begun to rip and tear and jump and
cavort around, with two circus men hanging on to his bridle trying to
hold him, and the drunk man hanging on to his neck, and his heels
flying in the air every jump, and the whole crowd of people standing
up shouting and laughing till tears rolled down. And at last, sure
enough, all the circus men could do, the horse broke loose, and away
he went like the very nation, round and round the ring, with that sot
laying down on him and hanging to his neck, with first one leg hanging
most to the ground on one side, and then t'other one on t'other side,
and the people just crazy. It warn't funny to me, though; I was all of
a tremble to see his danger. But pretty soon he struggled up astraddle
and grabbed the bridle, a-reeling this way and that; and the next
minute he sprung up and dropped the bridle and stood! and the horse
a-going like a house afire, too. He just stood up there, a-sailing
around as easy and comfortable as if he warn't ever drunk in his
life--and then he begun to pull off his clothes and sling them. He
shed them so thick they kind of clogged up the air, and altogether he
shed seventeen suits. And, then, there he was, slim and handsome, and
dressed the gaudiest and prettiest you ever saw, and he lit into that
horse with his whip and made him fairly hum--and finally skipped off,
and made his bow and danced off to the dressing-room, and everybody
just a-howling with pleasure and astonishment.

Then the ringmaster he see how he had been fooled, and he _was_ the
sickest ringmaster you ever see, I reckon. Why, it was one of his own
men! He had got up that joke all out of his own head, and never let on
to nobody. Well, I felt sheepish enough to be took in so, but I
wouldn't 'a' been in that ringmaster's place, not for a thousand
dollars. I don't know; there may be bullier circuses than what that
one was, but I never struck them yet. Anyways, it was plenty good
enough for _me_; and wherever I run across it, it can have all of _my_
custom every time.

Well, that night we had _our_ show; but there warn't only about twelve
people there--just enough to pay expenses. And they laughed all the
time, and that made the duke mad; and everybody left, anyway, before
the show was over, but one boy which was asleep. So the duke said
these Arkansaw lunkheads couldn't come up to Shakespeare; what they
wanted was low comedy--and maybe something ruther worse than low
comedy, he reckoned. He said he could size their style. So next
morning he got some big sheets of wrapping-paper and some black paint,
and drawed off some handbills, and stuck them up all over the village.
The bills said:

   _The World-Renowned Tragedians_
   Of the London and Continental
   In their Thrilling Tragedy of
   _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 again, and after that
they made him do it another time. Well, it would make 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
already 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 a-going 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 be the laughing-stock of
this whole town, I reckon, and never hear the last of this thing as
long as we live. _No_. What we want is to go out of 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 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 the 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

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

"Don't it s'prise 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 reglar 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.' And 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. S'pose people left money laying around where he
was--what did he do? He collared it. S'pose 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. S'pose 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 sitting 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!
it's 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 ag'in, 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 says:

"'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 a-gwyne 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 towhead 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 to 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
theater 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 that 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 lying 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 that.

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 the 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 inshore," 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 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 s'pose 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

"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 were 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
a-going. 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

"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 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, now."

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 a-going 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 gave 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 it?"

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 wher' 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 makes 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 gathered 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 dooryards 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 drooping 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 necks,
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
themselves. Well, when it come to that it worked the crowd like you
never see anything like it, and 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 disgusting. 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 himself loose and goes to crying fit to bust.

And the minute the words were 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

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, viz.:--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 business. But the rest was on hand, and 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 blattered 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

They worried over that awhile, 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 above-board 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. "Le's 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 Nonesuch ain't a
heppin' us out ag'in," 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

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 again, 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 his hands, and the duke he looks at
him stupid and leather-headed awhile; 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

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 tomorrow 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 out'n
the Greek _orgo_, outside, open, abroad; and the Hebrew _jeesum_, to
plant, cover up; hence in_ter_. So, you see, funeral orgies is an open
er public funeral."

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 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's 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 impostor--has
come here with a lot of empty names and facts which he 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
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
head 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

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

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 alongside 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 tiptop, 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

"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:


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

"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

"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

"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

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?"


"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 did 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

"_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 theater, 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 its 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, Jo?" 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 ashamed."

"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 reptile
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 a-going 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. Upstairs 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 of 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 sha'n'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 ag'in, and that's enough for _them;_ they're young and
spry, and k'n easy earn a livin'. _They_ ain't a-goin' 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 blamed 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 ag'in, duke," says the king; and he comes
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 tiptoed
along, and got downstairs all right. There warn't a sound anywheres. I
peeped through a crack of the dining-room 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 ruther 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 blows them more at
a funeral than they do at other places except church.

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 passageways, and done
it 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

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 powwow 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, s'pose somebody has hogged that bag on the sly?--now how do
_I_ know whether to write to Mary Jane or not? S'pose 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 noon-time, 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 knowed
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 yisterday 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
a-near 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 awhile and see my chance; then I says: "Well, I see the
niggers go in there several times."

Both of them gave 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 nothing. And they didn't act anyway much, as fur as I
see. They tiptoed away; so I seen, easy enough, that they'd shoved in
there to do up your majesty's room, or something, s'posing 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

"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 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 theater, 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

"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' 'em 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_ awhile, 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 a-bear 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 says:

"Oh, dear, dear, to think they ain't _ever_ going to see each other
any more!"

"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 a-going 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. Lothrop's. Why?"

"Never mind why yet. If I'll 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. Lothrop'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 jolted 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. Lothrop'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 the daytime 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. Lothrop'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 sha'n'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 sha'n'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
played 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 Mary."

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

"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 awhile. 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

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

"Well, then, it sha'n'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 smooths 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. Lothrop'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_-by. I'm going to do everything just as you've told me; and if
I don't ever see you again, I sha'n'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 back-down 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
that time that I see her go out of that door; no, 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 hare-lip, 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 thinks 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 yaller 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 on to 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 a
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'd 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 to
not 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 awhile,
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 herself."

"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 pisonest, 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 new-comers 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 ain'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 gentlemen 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 in the mornin'."

"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 awhile, 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 names."

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 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

"_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 mule-headed 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 right along till he was actuly beginning to believe what he
was saying _himself_; but pretty soon the new gentleman broke in, and

"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 toward the king, and says:

"Peraps this gentleman can tell me what was tattooed 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
tattooed 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 tattooed 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

"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, and 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 powwow. But the lawyer he jumps on the table and
yells, and says:

"Gentlemen--gentle_men!_ 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
wildcats; 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 tattoo-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

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

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

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 tell.

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

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
towhead, 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 towhead 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 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 drownded 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,

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 a-holt 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 here 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 drownd 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

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_

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 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 the 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 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 began 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

"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 on to 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 deffisit--you wanted to get what money I'd got out of the
'None-such' 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 me."

"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


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 to 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 mesmerizing, 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 desperate.

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 has 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 stayed 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 a-brewing, sure. I was good and glad when midday
come and no king; we could have a change, anyway--and maybe a chance
for _the_ chance 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 a-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--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 mile 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 off f'm down South som'ers."

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

"Well, I _reckon!_ There's two hundred dollars 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 Newr_leans_. No-sirree-_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 it was 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'd _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 ever to 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 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 a-going 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 again 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 some
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, and
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 that 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 going 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, and the man left me a-holt 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 powder-horn.
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. He
never said nothing. 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

"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 again, 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 you 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 you 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 smokehouse back of the kitchen; three little  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 watermelon 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 powwow 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 every-wheres.

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 them
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 on to
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
spinning-stick in her hand; and behind her comes her little white
children, acting the same way the little niggers was going. She was
smiling all over so she could hardly stand--and says:

"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

"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 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 Baptist. 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

"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 so."

"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 coming?"

He sprung to the window at the head of the bed, and that give
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 'tis?"

"I hain't 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 bolthead 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,
s'pose Tom Sawyer comes down on that boat?  And s'pose 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 stayed 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, 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 a-going to steal him, and I
want you 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 he 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! Whoever 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 schoolhouse, 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 a-front 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 getting a little nervious, 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'd 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 somewheres, 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

"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 good night 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

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 came 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?"

"_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 a cabin and hadn't no
connection with it; and there warn't no floor to the shed, nor nothing
in it but some old rusty played-out hoes and spades and picks 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 a-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 daybreak? _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, dis-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 ca'm, 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, I hain't said a word."

"Did you ever see us before?"

"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' fine
no way to git aroun' it _dis_ time. But it's awluz jis' so; people
dat's _sot_, stays sot; dey won't look into noth'n' 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 give 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 punkin-headed 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 a saw? 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? Who ever 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
would 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
rope ladder."

"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. S'pose he _don't_ do nothing with it? ain't it there in
his bed, for a clue, after he's gone? and don't you reckon they'll
want clues? 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 gave 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."

"S'pose 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

"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
goose-quill 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,

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

"That ain't nothing; we can get him some."

"Can't nobody _read_ his plates."

"That ain't got anything 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 tin 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 the 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 my 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 lean-to whilst I stood off a piece to
keep watch. By and by he come out, and we went and set down on the
woodpile 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 a-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 that other 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
weather-boarding behind the smokehouse."

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 we was right behind Jim's bed now, and we'd dig in 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 case-knives 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 that he was
thinking. Then he says:

"It ain't no use, Huck, it ain't a-going 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 a-going 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 thinks 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

"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 pickax 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 of 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 says 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
awhile, 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 to 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 awhile, 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

"_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 woodpile 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 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 '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

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's-line 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

"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
ther' 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 holes."

"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 sorrowful.

"Oh, _do_ shet up!--s'pose the rats took the _sheet?_ _Where's_ it
gone, Lize?"

"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

"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 the 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 shipshape. 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 had 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 huffy
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 a-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 cler 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 she didn't _care_, and warn't a-going 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 wash-pans 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
into 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 that rope ladder wouldn't cramp him down to
business I don't know nothing what I'm talking about, and lay him in
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 as 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


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 he
had to have it; Tom said he'd _got_ to; there warn't no case of a
state prisoner 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, s'pose it _is_ considerble
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' arm; 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 ain'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

"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 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 a-going 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,

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 halfway; 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 that grindstone and
walked her along like nothing; and Tom superintended. He could
out-superintend any boy I ever see. He knowed how to do everything.

Our hole was pretty big, but it warn't big enough to get the
grindstone through; but Jim he took the pick and soon made 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 it?"

"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

"_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_, 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

"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 bull-headed 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' 'twas 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 tryin' to sleep, I ever see. No, sah, gimme g'yarter-snakes, 'f
I's got to have 'm, but doan' gimme no rats; I hain' 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 like music--in a
prison they dote on it. Specially, painful music; and you can't get no
other kind out of a jew's-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 jew's-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 it 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

"I doan' know but maybe I could, Mars Tom; but it's tolable 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't 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 jew's-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 like to got a hornet's
nest, but we didn't. The family was at home. We didn't give it right
up, but stayed 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 house-snakes, 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
a-holt 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 line 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, too."

"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

"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 leaves."

"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 the nigger
woman'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, f'rinstance. And the same with a king's son;
it don't make no difference whether he's a natural one or an unnatural

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.

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 no way 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 got 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 Indian 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 an 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 whoop-jamboreehoo. I
do not wish any reward but to know I have done the right thing.



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 a 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

"You been down cellar?"


"What you been doing down there?"




"Well, then, what possessed you to go down there this time of night?"

"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
s'pose 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

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

"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 did 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 'em in the
dark and kill 'em 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 hear 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 out:

"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 powwow 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 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 as brash as what we did
before. It was hurting him considerable, 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_ gywne 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 a-going for a
doctor. He raised considerable 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 sees 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 folks.

"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 shot?"

"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--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

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 ashore.

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 outrun 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 awhile 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 plum 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 a-going 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 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 't's in his
right mind 's a goin' 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

"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_ where '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;
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
African 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, 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

"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 daytime; but I says to myself,
there's my two poor boys asleep, 'way upstairs 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 gets 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

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 a
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 go."

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 awhile 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

"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 uptown 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 bulldog tied to the
door in the daytime; and about this time they was through with the job
and was tapering off with a kind of generl good-by 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 a-nigh 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 until daylight this morning; and I never see a nigger
that was a better nuss or faithfuler, and yet he was risking 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 nigger.

But I had plenty time. Aunt Sally she stuck to the sick-room 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 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 peacefuler
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 lightning-rod, 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 snake's 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 for
the 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 will."

"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 neck-deep 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

"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 gave 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 tell how I was in such a tight place that 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 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 a-holt 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 s'pose 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 reckoned 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 _ag'in;_ en it's
come true; en heah she _is! Dah_, now! doan' talk to _me_--signs is
_signs_, mine I tell you; en I knowed jis' 's well 'at I 'uz gwineter
be rich ag'in 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' let
you come in? Well, den, you kin 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 a-going 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.


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