Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, (Tom Sawyer's Comrade)

A few delicious tidbits in here, to which we will add as the hours, days, weeks, months and years go by.

Re: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, (Tom Sawyer's Comrade)

Postby admin » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:07 am

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CHAPTER XXX.

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

“Tryin’ to give us the slip, was ye, you pup! Tired of our company, hey?”

I says:

“No, your majesty, we warn’t—please don’t, your majesty!”

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

“Honest, I’ll tell you everything just as it happened, your majesty. The man that had 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 it.”

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

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

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

“Mf! And we reckoned the niggers stole it!”

That made me squirm!

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

After about a half a minute the king drawls out:

“Leastways, I did.”

The duke says, the same way:

“On the contrary, I did.”

The king kind of ruffles up, and says:

“Looky here, Bilgewater, what’r you referrin’ to?”

The duke says, pretty brisk:

“When it comes to that, maybe you’ll let me ask, what was you referring to?”

“Shucks!” says the king, very sarcastic; “but I don’t know—maybe you was asleep, and didn’t know what you was about.”

The duke bristles 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!”

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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 says:

“If you ever deny it again I’ll drown you. It’s well for you to set there and blubber like a baby—it’s fitten for you, after the way you’ve acted. I never see such an old ostrich for wanting to gobble everything—and I a-trusting you all the time, like you was my own father. You ought to been ashamed of yourself to stand by and hear it saddled 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 Nonesuch and one thing or another, and scoop it all!”

The king says, timid, and still a-snuffling:

“Why, duke, it was you that said make up the deffisit; 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 everything.
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Re: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, (Tom Sawyer's Comrade)

Postby admin » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:09 am

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CHAPTER XXXI.

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 change on top of it. So me and the duke went up to the village, and hunted around there for the king, and by and by we found him in the back room of a little low doggery, very tight, and a lot of loafers bullyragging him for sport, and he a-cussing and 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:

“Yes.”

“Whereabouts?” says I.

“Down to Silas Phelps’ 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 hunderd 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?”

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

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

“But it is, though—straight as a string. I see the handbill myself. It tells all about him, to a dot—paints him like a picture, and tells the plantation he’s frum, below Newrleans. No-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, 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.

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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 small-pox 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.”

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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 that!”

“How can he blow? Hain’t he run off?”

“No! That old fool sold him, and never divided with me, and the money’s gone.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I promised, and he says:

“A farmer by the name of Silas Ph—” and then he stopped. You see, he started to tell me the truth; but when he stopped that way, and begun to study and think 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 Lafayette.”

“All right,” I says, “I can walk it in three days. And I’ll start this very afternoon.”

“No you wont, 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.”

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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’. 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.
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Re: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, (Tom Sawyer's Comrade)

Postby admin » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:10 am

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CHAPTER XXXII.

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’ 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 on to a horse; some sickly grass-patches in the big yard, but mostly it was bare and smooth, like an old hat with the nap rubbed off; big double log-house for the white folks—hewed logs, with the chinks stopped up with mud or mortar, and these mud-stripes been whitewashed some time or another; round-log kitchen, with a big broad, open but roofed passage joining it to the house; log smoke-house back of the kitchen; three little log nigger-cabins in a row t’other side the smoke-house; 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 everywheres.

A nigger woman come tearing out of the kitchen with a rolling-pin in her hand, singing out, “Begone you Tige! you Spot! begone sah!” and she fetched first one and then another of them a clip and sent 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 doing. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes’m—she—”

“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?”

“Nobody.”

“Why, child, it ’ll be stole!”

“Not where I hid it I reckon it won’t,” I says.

“How’d you get your breakfast so early on the boat?”

It was kinder thin ice, but I says:

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

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

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

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

“Here he comes! Stick your head down lower—there, that’ll do; you can’t be seen now. Don’t you let on you’re here. I’ll play a joke on him. Children, don’t you say a word.”

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

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

“Has he come?”

“No,” says her husband.

“Good-ness gracious!” she says, “what in the warld 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 ’t is?”

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“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.
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Re: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, (Tom Sawyer's Comrade)

Postby admin » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:12 am

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CHAPTER XXXIII.

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 says:

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

I says:

“I hain’t come back—I hain’t been gone.”

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

“Don’t you play nothing on me, because I wouldn’t on you. Honest injun now, you ain’t a ghost?”

“Honest injun, I ain’t,” I says.

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

“No. I warn’t ever murdered at all—I played it on them. You come in here and feel of me if you don’t believe me.”

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

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

I says:

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

He says:

“What! Why, Jim is—”

He stopped and went to studying. I says:

“I know what you’ll say. You’ll say it’s dirty, low-down business; but what if it is? I’m low down; and I’m 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 we took the trunk and put it in my wagon, and he drove off his way and I drove mine. But of course I forgot all about driving slow on accounts of being glad and full of thinking; so I got home a heap too quick for that length of a trip. The old gentleman was at the door, and he says:

“Why, this is wonderful! 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?”

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“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 short.”

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 me.”

“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 Sawyer—‘”

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

“No, not till you’ve asked me first.”

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

“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.”

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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 times. 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 the middle of it--it was as much as half-after eight, then—here comes a raging rush of people with torches, and an awful whooping and yelling, and banging tin pans and blowing horns; and we jumped to one side to let them go by; and as they went by I see they had the king and the duke astraddle of a rail—that is, I knowed it was the king and the duke, though they was all over tar and feathers, and didn’t look like nothing in the world that was human—just looked like a couple of monstrous big soldier-plumes. Well, it made me sick to see it; and I was sorry for them poor pitiful rascals, it seemed like I couldn’t ever feel any hardness against them any more in the world. It was a dreadful thing to see. Human beings can be awful cruel to one another.

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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.
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Re: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, (Tom Sawyer's Comrade)

Postby admin » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:13 am

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CHAPTER XXXIV.

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?”

“Yes.”

“What did you think the vittles was for?”

“For a dog.”

“So ’d I. Well, it wasn’t for a dog.”

“Why?”

“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:

“Ready?”

“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 factory.”

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?”

“Yes.”

“Didn’t I say I was going to help steal the nigger?”

“Yes.”

“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.”

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“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 gradually 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?”

“Yes.”

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 you?”

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 says:

“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.”

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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.
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Re: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, (Tom Sawyer's Comrade)

Postby admin » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:15 am

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CHAPTER XXXV.

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 it? Hain’t we got to saw the leg of Jim’s bed off, so as to get the chain loose?”

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

“Well, if that ain’t just like you, Huck Finn. You can get up the infant-schooliest ways of going at a thing. Why, hain’t you ever read any books at all?—Baron Trenck, nor Casanova, nor Benvenuto Chelleeny, nor Henri IV., nor none of them heroes? 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 it’s 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?”

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“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 clew, after he’s gone? and don’t you reckon they’ll want clews? Of course they will. And you wouldn’t leave them any? That would be a pretty howdy-do, wouldn’t it! I never heard of such a thing.”

“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 clothesline.”

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 barrel-hoop?”

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

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

“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.

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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.

“Yes.”

“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?”

“Yes.”

“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.”

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“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 smoke-house.”

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

“It ain’t no use to try to learn you nothing, Huck. Run along and smouch the knives—three of them.” So I done it.
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Re: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, (Tom Sawyer's Comrade)

Postby admin » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:16 am

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CHAPTER XXXVI.

AS soon as we reckoned everybody was asleep that night we went down the lightning-rod, and shut ourselves up in the lean-to, and got out our pile of fox-fire, and went to work. We cleared everything out of the way, about four or five foot along the middle of the bottom log. Tom said he was right behind Jim’s bed now, and we’d dig 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 counter-pin 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 case-knife.”

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

“Gimme a case-knife.”

I didn’t know just what to do—but then I thought. I scratched around amongst the old tools, and got a pickaxe 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.

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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 says:

“Now I know how to fix it. We’ll send you some things by them.”

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

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

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

In the morning we went out to the 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 on to 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.”

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“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.”
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Re: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, (Tom Sawyer's Comrade)

Postby admin » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:18 am

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CHAPTER XXXVII.

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

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

“I’ve hunted high and I’ve hunted low, and it does beat all what has become of your other shirt.”

My heart fell down amongst my lungs and livers and things, and a hard piece of corn-crust started down my throat after it and got met on the road with a cough, and was shot across the table, and took one of the children in the eye and curled him up like a fishing-worm, and let a cry out of him the size of a warwhoop, 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 life.”

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

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

“Why, what else is gone, Sally?”

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

“Well, Sally, I’m in fault, and I acknowledge it; I’ve been remiss; but I won’t let to-morrow go by without stopping up them holes.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t hurry; next year ’ll do. Matilda Angelina Araminta Phelps!”

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 on to the passage, and says:

“Missus, dey’s a sheet gone.”

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“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’sline yistiddy, but she done gone: she ain’ dah no mo’ now.”

“I reckon the world is coming to an end. I never see the beat of it in all my born days. A shirt, and a sheet, and a spoon, and six can—”

“Missus,” comes a young yaller wench, “dey’s a brass cannelstick miss’n.”

“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 there?”

“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 says:

“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.”

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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 cle’r out and let her have some peace, and if we come bothering around her again betwixt that and dinner she’d skin us. So we had the odd spoon, and dropped it in her apron-pocket whilst she was a-giving us our sailing orders, and Jim got it all right, along with her shingle nail, before noon. We was very well satisfied with this business, and Tom allowed it was worth twice the trouble it took, because he said now she couldn’t ever count them spoons twice alike again to save her life; and wouldn’t believe she’d counted them right if she did; and said that after she’d about counted her head off for the next three days he judged she’d give it up and offer to kill anybody that wanted her to ever count them any more.

So we put the sheet back on the line that night, and stole one out of her closet; and kept on putting it back and stealing it again for a couple of days till she didn’t know how many sheets she had any more, and 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 dinner.

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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 wash-pan—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 window-hole.
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Re: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, (Tom Sawyer's Comrade)

Postby admin » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:19 am

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CHAPTER XXXVIII.

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 Otto. Got it out of a book—means the more haste the less speed.”

“Geewhillikins,” I says, “but what does the rest of it mean?”

“We ain’t got no time to bother over that,” he says; “we got to dig in like all git-out.”

“Well, anyway,” I says, “what’s some of it? What’s a fess?”

“A fess—a fess is—you don’t need to know what a fess is. I’ll show him how to make it when he gets to it.”

“Shucks, Tom,” I says, “I think you might tell a person. What’s a bar sinister?”

“Oh, I don’t know. But he’s got to have it. All the nobility does.”

That was just his way. If it didn’t suit him to explain a thing to you, he wouldn’t do it. You might pump at him a week, it wouldn’t make no difference.

He’d got all that coat of arms business fixed, so now he started in to finish up the rest of that part of the work, which was to plan out a mournful inscription—said Jim got to have one, like they all done. He made up a lot, and wrote them out on a paper, and read them off, so:

1. Here a captive heart busted. 2. Here a poor prisoner, forsook by the world and friends, fretted 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 on to 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 on to 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, too.”

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It warn’t no slouch of an idea; and it warn’t no slouch of a grindstone nuther; but we allowed we’d tackle it. It warn’t quite midnight yet, so we cleared out for the mill, leaving Jim at work. We smouched the grindstone, and set out to roll her home, but it was a most nation tough job. Sometimes, do what we could, we couldn’t keep her from falling over, and she come mighty near mashing us every time. Tom said she was going to get one of us, sure, before we got through. We got her half way; and then we was plumb played out, and most drownded with sweat. We see it warn’t no use; we got to go and fetch Jim. So he raised up his bed and slid the chain off of the bed-leg, and wrapt it round and round his neck, and we crawled out through our hole and down there, and Jim and me laid into 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 it.”

“Tame it!”

“Yes—easy enough. Every animal is grateful for kindness and petting, and they wouldn’t think of hurting a person that pets them. Any book will tell you that. You try—that’s all I ask; just try for two or three days. Why, you can get him so, in a little while, that he’ll love you; and sleep with you; and won’t stay away from you a minute; and will let you wrap him round your neck and put his head in your mouth.”

“Please, Mars Tom—doan’ talk so! I can’t stan’ it! He’d let me shove his head in my mouf—fer a favor, hain’t it? I lay he’d wait a pow’ful long time ’fo’ I ast him. En mo’ en dat, I doan’ want him to sleep wid me.”

“Jim, don’t act so foolish. A prisoner’s got to have some kind of a dumb pet, and if a rattlesnake hain’t ever been tried, why, there’s more glory to be gained in your being the first to ever try it than any other way you could ever think of to save your life.”

“Why, Mars Tom, I doan’ want no sich glory. Snake take ’n bite Jim’s chin off, den whah is de glory? No, sah, I doan’ want no sich doin’s.”

“Blame it, can’t you try? I only want you to try—you needn’t keep it up if it don’t work.”

“But de trouble all done ef de snake bite me while I’s a tryin’ him. Mars Tom, I’s willin’ to tackle mos’ anything ’at ain’t onreasonable, but ef you en Huck fetches a rattlesnake in heah for me to tame, I’s gwyne to leave, dat’s shore.”

“Well, then, let it go, let it go, if you’re so 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.”

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“I k’n stan’ dem, Mars Tom, but blame’ ’f I couldn’ get along widout um, I tell you dat. I never knowed b’fo’ ’t was so much bother and trouble to be a prisoner.”

“Well, it always is when it’s done right. You got any rats around here?”

“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 jews-harp. It always interests them; they come out to see what’s the matter with you. Yes, you’re all right; you’re fixed very well. You want to set on your bed nights before you go to sleep, and early in the mornings, and play your jews-harp; play ‘The Last Link is Broken’—that’s the thing that ’ll scoop a rat quicker ’n anything else; and when you’ve played about two minutes you’ll see all the rats, and the snakes, and spiders, and things begin to feel worried about you, and come. And they’ll just fairly swarm over you, and have a noble good time.”

“Yes, dey will, I reck’n, Mars Tom, but what kine er time is Jim havin’? Blest if I kin see de pint. But I’ll do it ef I got to. I reck’n I better keep de animals satisfied, en not have no trouble in de house.”

Tom waited to think 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 reckon?”

“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 coss.”

“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.”

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“That ain’t the idea. You got to do it with tears.”

“She’ll die on my han’s, Mars Tom, she sholy will; kase I doan’ skasely ever cry.”

So Tom was stumped. But he studied it over, and then said Jim would have to worry along the best he could with an onion. He promised he would go to the nigger cabins and drop one, private, in Jim’s coffee-pot, in the morning. Jim said he would “jis’ ’s soon have tobacker in his coffee;” and found so much fault with it, and with the work and bother of raising the mullen, and jews-harping the rats, and petting and flattering up the snakes and spiders and things, on top of all the other work he had to do on pens, and inscriptions, and journals, and things, which made it more trouble and worry and responsibility to be a prisoner than anything he ever undertook, that Tom most lost all patience with him; and said he was just loadened down with more gaudier chances than a prisoner ever had in the world to make a name for himself, and yet he didn’t know enough to appreciate them, and they was just about wasted on him. So Jim he was sorry, and said he wouldn’t behave so no more, and then me and Tom shoved for bed.
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Re: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, (Tom Sawyer's Comrade)

Postby admin » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:21 am

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CHAPTER XXXIX.

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 little in his journal whilst the ink was fresh; the pens was made, the inscriptions and so on was all carved on the grindstone; the bed-leg was sawed in two, and we had et up the sawdust, and it give us a most amazing stomach-ache. We reckoned we was all going to die, but didn’t. It was the most undigestible sawdust I ever see; and Tom said the same.

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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 lookout.”

“Yes, I know; but you can’t depend on them. It’s the way they’ve acted from the very start—left us to do everything. They’re so confiding and mullet-headed they don’t take notice of nothing at all. So if we don’t give them notice there won’t be nobody nor nothing to interfere with us, and so after all our hard work and trouble this escape ’ll go off perfectly flat; won’t amount to nothing—won’t be nothing to it.”

“Well, as for me, Tom, that’s the way I’d like.”

“Shucks!” he says, and looked disgusted. So I says:

“But I ain’t going to make no complaint. Any way that suits you suits me. What you going to do about the servant-girl?”

“You’ll be her. You slide in, in the middle of the night, and hook that yaller girl’s frock.”

“Why, Tom, that ’ll make trouble next morning; because, of course, she prob’bly hain’t got any but that one.”

“I know; but you don’t want it but fifteen minutes, to carry the nonnamous letter and shove it under the front door.”

“All right, then, I’ll do it; but I could carry it just as handy in my own togs.”

“You wouldn’t look like a servant-girl then, would you?”

“No, but there won’t be nobody to see what I look like, anyway.”

“That ain’t got nothing to do with it. The thing for us to do is just to do our duty, and not worry about whether anybody sees us do it or not. Hain’t you got no principle at all?”

“All right, I ain’t saying nothing; I’m the servant-girl. Who’s Jim’s mother?”

“I’m his mother. I’ll hook a gown from Aunt Sally.”

“Well, then, you’ll have to stay in the cabin when me and Jim 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 one.”

So Tom he wrote the nonnamous letter, and I smouched the yaller wench’s frock that night, and put it on, and shoved it under the front door, the way Tom told me to. It said:

Beware. Trouble is brewing. Keep a sharp lookout. Unknown Friend.

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Next night we stuck a picture, which Tom drawed in blood, of a skull and crossbones on the front door; and next night another one of a coffin on the back door. I never see a family in such a sweat. They couldn’t a been worse scared if the place had a been full of ghosts laying for them behind everything and under the beds and shivering through the air. If a door banged, Aunt Sally she jumped and said “ouch!” if anything fell, she jumped and said “ouch!” if you happened to touch her, when she warn’t noticing, she done the same; she couldn’t face noway and be satisfied, because she allowed there was something behind her every time—so she was always a-whirling around sudden, and saying “ouch,” and before she’d 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 baa 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. Unknown Friend.
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