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Huckleberry Finn 


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




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Copyright, 1884, 


{A// rights reserved. ) 

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Jenkins & McCowan, 




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



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In this book a number of dialects are used, to wit: the Mis- 
souri negro dialect; the extremest form of the backwoods 
South-Western dialect; the ordinary "Pike-County" dialect; 
and four modified varieties of this last. The shadings have 
not been done in a hap-hazard fashion, or by guess-work; but 
pains-takingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support 
of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech. 

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



Civilizing Huck. — Miss Watson. — Tom Sawyer Waits 17 

The Boys Escape Jim. — Tom Sawyer's Gang. — Deep-laid Plans. 22 


A Good Going-over. — Grace Triumphant. — "One of Tom Saw- 
yer's Lies " o 28 

Huck and the Judge. — Superstition 32 

Huck's Father. — The Fond Parent. — Reform 36 


He Went for Judge Thatcher. — Huck Decides to Leave. — Polit- 
ical Economy. — Thrashing Around 41 


Laying for Him. — Locked in the Cabin. — Sinking the Body. — 

Resting 4S 


Sleeping in the Woods. — Raising the Dead. — Exploring the Isl- 
and. — Finding Jim. — Jim's Escape. — Signs. — Balum 54 




The Cave. — The Floating House o... C5 

The Find. — Old Hank Bunker. — In Disguise 70 


Huck and the Woman. — The Search. — Prevarication. — Going to 

Goshen . o . 74 


Slow Navigation. — Borrowing Things. — Boarding the Wreck. — 

The Plotters. — Hunting for the Boat 82 

Escaping from the Wreck, — The Watchman. — Sinking. = . - . 90 

A General Good Time. — The Harem. — French. 96 

Huck Loses the Raft. — In the Fog. — Huck Finds the Raft. — Trash loi 


Expectation, — A White Lie, — Floating Currency. — Running by 

Cairo. — Swimming Ashore <. 107 


An Evening Call. — The Farm in Arkansaw, — Interior Decora- 
tions. — Stephen Dowling Bots, — Poetical Effusions T16 


Col. Grangerford, — Aristocracy, — ^ Feuds. — The Testament. — 

Recovering the Raft. — The Wood-pile. — Pork and Cabbage. 126 



Tying Up Day-Times. — An Astronomical Theory. — Running a 
Temperance Revival. — The Duke of Bridgewater. — The 
Troubles of Royalty 138 


Huck Explains. — Laying Out a Campaign. — Working the Camp- 
meeting. — A Pirate at the Camp-meeting. — The Duke as a 
Printer 148 


Sword Exercise. — Hamlet's Soliloquy. — They Loafed Around 

Town. — A Lazy Town. — Old Boggs. — Dead 158 


Sherburn. — Attending the Circus. — Intoxication in the Ring. — 

The Thrilling Tragedy 167 

Sold. — Royal Comparisons. — Jim Gets Home-sick 173 


Jim in Royal Robes. — They Take a Passenger. — Getting Informa- 
tion. — Family Grief 179 


Is It Them? — Singing the " Doxologer." — Awful Square. — Fu- 
neral Orgies. — A Bad Investment. =. ^ • . 186 


A Pious King. — The King's Clergy. — She Asked His Pardon. — 

Hiding in the Room. — Huck Takes the Money 193 


The Funeral. — Satisfying Curiosity. — Suspicious of Huck. — 

Quick Sales and Sm.all Profits.. . 202 



The Trip to England. — "The Brute !" — Mary Jane Decides to 
Leave. — Huck Parting with Mary Jane. — Mumps. — The Op- 
position Line 209 


Contested Relationship. — The King Explains the Loss. — A Ques- 
tion of Handwriting. — Digging up the Corpse. — Huck Escapes 219 

The King Went for Him. — A Royal Row. — Powerful Mellow 229 


Ominous Plans. — News from Jim. — Old Recollections. — A Sheep 

Story. — Valuable Information „ 233 


Still and Sunday-like. — Mistaken Identity. — Up a Stump. — In a 

Dilemma 242 


A Nigger Stealer. — Southern Hospitality. — A Pretty Long Bless- 
ing. — Tar and Feathers 248 


The Hut by the Ash Hopper. — Outrageous. — Climbing the Light- 
ning Rod. — Troubled with Witches 256 


Escaping Properly. — Dark Schemes. — Discrimination in Stealing. 

— A Deep Hole .. . . , 262 


The Lightning Rod. — His Level Best. — A Bequest to Posterity. — 

A High Figure 269 



The Last Shirt. — Mooning Around. — Sailing Orders. — The Witch 

Pie. , 275 


The Coat of Arms. — A Skilled Superintendent. — Unpleasant 

Glory. — A Tearful Subject 282 

Rats. — Lively Bed-fellows. — The Straw Dummy 290 


Fishing. — The Vigilance Committee. — A Lively Run. — Jim Ad- 
vises a Doctor 295 


The Doctor. — Uncle Silas. — Sister Hotchkiss. — Aunt Sally in 

Trouble » 301 


Tom Sawyer Wounded. — The Doctor's Story. — Tom Confesses. 

— Aunt Polly Arrives.— Hand Out Them Letters 308 

Out of Bondage. — Paying the Captive. — Yours Truly, Huck Finn 317 



Huckleberry Finn Frontispiece. 

The Widow's 17 

Learning about Moses and the " Bulrushers " 18 

Huck Stealing Away 21 

Jim 23 

! ! ! ! ! 33 

"Pap" 37 

Jim and the Ghost 59 

In the Cave 66 

Jim Sees a Dead Man 69 

" A Fair Fit " 72 

•' Hump Yourself " 80 

He Sometimes Lifted a Chicken , 84 

"Oh! Lordy, Lordy!" 89 

We Turned In and Slept , . . 95 

Solomon and His Million Wives 97 

Climbing Up the Bank 115 

" It Made Her Look Spidery "..... 120 

The House 125 

* ' And Dogs A-Coming " 140 

' ' By Rights I Am a Duke ! " 143 

*' I Am the Late Dauphin " , 145 

The King as Juliet 151 

Another Little Job 156 

A Dead Head 171 

" Alas, Our Poor Brother" 183 

Supper with the Hare-lip 194 

Huck Takes the Money 20T 

Jawing 207 

The Auction 217 




" Gentlemen — Gentlemen! " 225 

The Duke Went for Him 231 

Striking for the Back Country 240 

A Pretty Long Blessing 253 

Travelling by Rail. „ 254 

Tom Advises a Witch Pie 273 

In a Tearing Way ; 279 

Jim's Coat of Arms 283 

Irrigation 287 

Aunt Sally Talks to Huck 306 

Tom Sawyer Wounded 309 

Tom Rose Square in Bed 315 

The End. Yours Truly, Huck Finn 318 

don't know about me, without 
you have read a book by the 
name of " The Adventures of 
Tom Sawyer," but that ain't 
no matter. That book was 
made by Mr. Mark Twain, 
and he told the truth, mainly. 
There was things which he 
stretched, but mainly he told 
the truth. That is nothing. I 
never seen anybody but lied, 
one time or another, without 
it was Aunt Polly, or the 
widow, or maybe Mary, Aunt 
Polly— Tom's Aunt Polly, she 
is — and Mary, and the Widow 
Douglas, is all told about in 
that book — which is mostly a 
true book; with some stretchers, as I said before. 

Now the way that the book winds up, is this: Tom and me 
found the money that the robbers hid in the cave, and it 
made us rich. We got six thousand dollars apiece — all gold. 
It was an awful sight of money when it was piled up. Well, 
Judge Thatcher, he took it and put it out at interest, and it 
fetched us a dollar a day apiece, all the year round — more 
than a body could tell what to do with. The Widow Doug- 
las, she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize 
me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, consid- 
ering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all 
her ways; and so when I couldn't stand it no longer, I lit out. 




I got into my old rags, and my sugar-hogshead again, and 
was free and satisfied. But Tom Sawyer, he hunted me up 
and said he was going to start a band of robbers, and I might 
join if I would go back to the widow and be respectable. • So 
I went back. 

The widow she cried over me, and called me a poor lost 
lamb, and she called me a lot of other names, too, but she 


never meant no harm by it. She put me in them new clothes 
again, and I couldn't do nothing but sweat and sweat, and 
feel all cramped up. Well, then, the old thing commenced 
again. The widow rung a bell for supper, and you had to 
come to time. When you got to the table you couldn't go 
right to eating, but you had to wait for the widow to tuck 


down her head and grumble a little over the victuals, though 
there warn't really anything the matter with them. That is, 
nothing only everything was cooked by itself. In a barrel 
of odds and ends it is different; things get mixed up, and 
the juice kind of swaps around, and the things go better. 

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

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

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

Now she had got a start, and she went on and told me all 
about the good place. She said all a body would have to do 


there was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, 
forever and ever. So I didn't think much of it. But I never 
said so. I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go 
there, and, she said, not by a considerable sight. I was glad 
about that, because I wanted him and me to be together. 

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

I set down again, a shaking all over, and got out my pipe 
for a smoke; for the house was all as still as death, now, and 
so the widow wouldn't know. Well, after a long time I heard 
the clock away off in the town go boom — boom — boom — 
twelve licks — and all still again — stiller than ever. Pretty 
soon I heard a twig snap, down in the dark amongst the trees 



— something was a stirring. I set still and listened. Directly 
I could just barely hear a " me-ymu ! me-yoiv f " down there. 
That was good! Says I, '■^ me-yow ! me-yow / *' diS soft as I 
could, and then I put out the light and scrambled out of the 
window onto the shed. Then I slipped down to the ground 
and crawled in amongst the trees, and sure enough there was 
Tom Sawyer waiting for me. 




WE went tip-toeing along a path amongst the trees back 
towards the end of the widow's garden, stooping down 
so as t»he branches wouldn't scrape our heads. When we was 
passing by the kitchen I fell over a root and made a noise. 
We scrouched down and laid still. Miss Watson's big nig- 
ger, named Jim, was setting in the kitchen door; we could 
see him pretty clear, because there was a light behind him. 
He got up and stretched his neck out about a minute, listen- 
ing. Then he says, 

''Who dah?" 

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

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

So he set down on the ground betwixt me and Tom. He 
leaned his back up against a tree, and stretched his legs out 
till one of them most touched one of mine. My nose begun 
to itch. It itched till the tears come into my eyes. But I 
dasn't scratch. Then it begun to itch on the inside. Next I 
got to itching underneath. I didn't know how I was going to 
set still. This miserableness went on as much as six or seven 
minutes; but it seemed a sight longer than that. I was itch- 



ing in eleven different places now. I reckoned I couldn't 
stand it more'n a minute longer, but I set my teeth hard and 
got ready to try. Just then Jim begun to breathe heavy; 
next he begun to snore — and then I was pretty soon com- 
fortable again. 

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

As soon as Tom was back, we cut along the path, around 
the garden fence, and by-and-by fetched up on the steep top 
of the hill the other side of the house. Tom said he slipped 
Jim's hat off of his head and hung it on a limb right over him, 
and Jim stirred a little, but he didn't wake. Afterwards Jim 
said the witches bewitched him and put him in a trance, and 
rode him all over the State, and then set him under the trees 


again and hung his hat on a limb to show who done it. And 
next time Jim told it he said they rode him down to New 
Orleans; and after that, every time he told it he spread it 
more and more, till by-and-by he said they rode him all over 
the world, and tired him most to death, and his back was all 
over saddle-boils. Jim was monstrous proud about it, and 
he got so he wouldn't hardly notice the other niggers. Nig- 
gers would come miles to hear Jim tell about it, and he was 
more looked up to than any nigger in that country. Strange 
niggers would stand with their mouths open and look him all 
over, same as if he was a wonder. Niggers is always talking 
about witches in the dark by the kitchen fire; but whenever 
one was talking and letting on to know all about such things, 
Jim would happen in and say, *' Hm! What you know 'bout 
witches ? " and that nigger was corked up and had to take a 
back seat. Jim always kept that five-center piece round his 
neck with a string and said it was a charm the devil give to him 
with his own hands and told him he could cure anybody with 
it and fetch witches whenever he wanted to, just by saying 
something to it; but he never told what it was he said to it. 
Niggers would come from all around there and give Jim any- 
thing they had, just for a sight of that five-center piece; but 
they wouldn't touch it, because the devil had had his hands 
on it. Jim was most ruined, for a servant, because he got so 
stuck up on account of having seen the devil and been rode 
by witches. 

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

We went to a clump of bushes, and Tom made everybody 
swear to keep the secret, and then showed them a hole in the 
hill, right in the thickest part of the bushes. Then we lit 
the candles and crawled in on our hands and knees. We 
went about two hundred yards, and then the cave opened up. 


Tom poked about amongst the passages and pretty soon 
ducked under a wall where you wouldn't a noticed that there 
was a hole. We went along a narrow place and got into a 
kind of room, all damp and sweaty and cold, and there we 
stopped. Tom says: 

'' Now we'll start this band of robbers and call it Tom 
Sawyer's Gang. Everybody that wants to join has got to 
take an oath, and write his name in blood." 

Everybody was willing. So Tom got out a sheet of paper 
that he had wrote the oath on, and read it. It swore every 
boy to stick to the band, and never tell any of the secrets; 
and if anybody done anything to any boy in the band, which- 
ever boy was ordered to kill that person and his family must 
do it, and he mustn't eat and he mustn't sleep till he had 
killed them and hacked a cross in their breasts, which was 
the sign of the band. And nobody that didn't belong to the 
band could use Ihat mark, and if he did he must be sued; 
and if he done it again he must be killed. And if anybody 
that belonged to the band told the secrets, he must have his 
throat cut, and then have his carcass burnt up and the ashes 
scattered all around, and his name blotted off of the list with 
blood and never mentioned again by the gang, but have a 
curse put on it and be forgot, forever. 

Everybody said it was a real beautiful oath, and asked 
Tom if he got it out of his own head. He said, some of it, 
but the rest was out of pirate books, and robber books, and 
every gang that was high-toned had it. 

Some thought it would be good to kill tht families of boys 
that told the secrets. Tom said it was a good idea, so he 
took a pencil and wrote it in. Then Ben Roger says: 

" Here's Huck Finn, he hain't got no family — what you 
going to do 'bout him ? " 

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

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

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


once I thought of a way, and so I offered them Miss Watson 
— they could kill her. Everybody said: 

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

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

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

*' Nothing only robbery and murder," Tom said. 

''But who are we going to rob ? houses — or cattle — 
or " 

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

" Must we always kill the people ? " 

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

" Ransomed ? What's that ? " 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

So they all made fun of him, and called him cry-baby, and 
that made him mad, and he said he would go straight and 
tell all the secrets. But Tom give him five cents to keep 
quiet, and said we would all go home and meet next week 
and rob somebody and kill some people. 
■ Ben Rogers said he couldn't get out much, only Sundays, 
and so he wanted to begin next Sunday; but all the boys 
said it would be wicked to do it on Sunday, and that settled 
the thing. They agreed to get together and fix a day as 
soon as they could, and then we elected Tom Sawyer first 
captain and Jo Harper second captain of the Gang, and so 
started home. 

I dumb up the shed and crept into my window just before 
day was breaking. My new clothes was all greased up and 
clayey, and I was dog-tired. 



WELL, I got a good going-over in the morning, from old 
Miss Watson, on account of my clothes; but the widow 
she didn't scold, but only cleaned off the grease and clay and 
looked so sorry that I thought I would behave a while if I 
could. Then Miss Watson she took me in the closet and 
prayed, but nothing come of it. She told me to pray every 
day, and whatever I asked for I would get it. But it warn't 
so. I tried it. Once I got a fish-line, but no hooks. It warn't 
any good to me without hooks. I tried for the hooks three 
or four times, but somehow I couldn't make it work. By- 
and-by, one day, I asked Miss Watson to try for me, but she 
said I was a fool. She never told me why, and I couldn't 
make it out no way. 

I set down, one time, back in the woods, and had a long 
think about it. I says to myself, if a body can get anything 
they pray for, why don't Deacon Winn get back the money 
he lost on pork ? Why can't the widow get back her silver 
snuff-box that was stole ? Why can't Miss Watson fat up ? 
No, says I ,^to myself, there ain't nothing in it. I went and 
told the widow about it, and she said the thing a body could 
get by praying for it was "spiritual gifts." This was too 
many for me, but she told me what she meant — I must help 
other people, and do everything I could for other people, and 
look out for them all the time, and never think about myself. 
This was including Miss Watson, as I took it. I went out in 
the woods and turned it over in my mind a long time, but I 
couldn't see no advantage about it — except for the other peo- 
ple — so at last I reckoned I wouldn't worry about it any more, 
but just let it go. Sometimes the widow would take me one 
side and talk about Providence in a way to make a body's 
mouth water; but maybe next day Miss Watson would take 
hold and knock it all down again. I judged I could see that 
there was two Providences, and a poor chap would stand con- 


siderable show with the widow's Providence, but if Miss Wat- 
son's got him there warn't no help for him any more. I 
thought it all out, and reckoned I would belong to the widow's, 
if he wanted me, though I couldn't make out how he was ago- 
ing to be any better off then than what he was before, seeing 
I was so ignorant and so kind of low-down and ornery. 

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

We played robber now and then about a month, and then 
I resigned. All the boys did. We hadn't robbed nobody, we 
hadn't killed any people, but only just pretended. We used 
to hop out of the woods and go charging down on hog-driv- 
ers and women in carts taking garden stuff to market, but we 
never hived any of them. Tom Sawyer called the hogs 
"ingots," and he called the turnips and stuft' "julery" and 
we would go to the cave and pow-wow over what we had done 
and how many people we had killed and marked. But I 
couldn't see no profit in it. One time Tom sent a boy to run 
about town with a blazing stick, which he called a ^slogan 
(which was the sign for the Gang to get together), and then 
he said he had got secret news by his spies that next day a 
whole parcel of Spanish merchants and rich A-rabs was going 
to camp in Cave Hollow with two hundred elephants, and six 
hundred camels, and over a thousand " sumter " mules, all 


loaded down with di'monds, and they didn't have only a guard 
of four hundred soldiers, and so we would lay in ambuscade, 
as he called it, and kill the lot and scoop the things. He said 
we must slick up our swords and guns, and get ready. He 
never could go after even a turnip-cart but he must have the 
swords and guns all scoured up for it; though they was only 
lath and broom-sticks, and you might scour at them till you 
rotted and then they warn't worth a mouthful of ashes more 
than what they was before. I didn't believe we could lick 
such a crowd of Spaniards and A-rabs, but I wanted to see 
the camels and elephants, so I was on hand next day, Satur- 
day, in the ambuscade; and when we got the word, we rushed 
out of the woods and down the hill. But there warn't no 
Spaniards and A-rabs, and there warn't no camels nor no ele- 
phants. It warn't anything but a Sunday-school picnic, and 
only a primer-class at that. We busted it up, and chased the 
children up the hollow; but we never got anything but some 
doughnuts and jam, though Ben Rogers got a rag doll, and 
Jo Harper got a hymn-book and a tract; and then the teacher 
charged in and made us drop everything and cut. I didn't 
see no di'monds, and I told Tom Sawyer so. He said there 
was loads of them there, anyway; and he said there was 
A-rabs there, too, and elephants and things. I said, why 
couldn't we see them, then ? He said if I warn't so ignorant, 
but had read a book called *' Don Quixote," I would know 
without asking. He said it was all done by enchantment. 
He said there was hundreds of soldiers there, and elephants 
and treasure, and so on, but we had enemies which he called 
magicians, and they had turned the whole thing into an infant 
Sunday school, just out of spite. I said, all right, then the 
thing for us to do was to go for the magicians. Tom Sawyer 
said I was a numskull. 

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

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

" How you going to get them ? " 

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

*' Why they rub an old tin lamp or an iron ring, and then 


the genies come tearing in, with the thunder and lightning 
a-ripping around and the smoke a-roUing, and everything 
they're told to do they up and do it. They don't think noth- 
ing of pulling a shot tower up by the roots, and belting a 
Sunday-school superintendent over the head with it — or any 
other man." 

"Who makes them tear around so ?" 

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

"Well," says I, '• I think they are a pack of flatheads for 
not keeping the palace themselves 'stead of fooling them away 
like that. And what's more — if I was one of them I would 
see a man in Jericho before I would drop my business and 
come to him for the rubbing of an old tin lamp." 

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

I went down the front garden and dumb over the stile, 



where you go through the high board fence. There was an 
inch of new snow on the ground, and I seen somebody's tracks. 
They had come up from the quarry and stood around the stile 
a while, and then went on around the garden fence. It was 
funny they hadn't come in, after standing around so. I 
couldn't make it out. It was very curious, somehow. I was 
going to follow around, but I stooped down to look at the 

I I I I I 

tracks first. I didn't notice anything at first, but next I did. 
There was a cross in the left boot-heel made with big nails, to 
keep off the devil. 

I was up in a second and shinning down the hill. I looked 
over my shoulder every now and then, but I didn't see no- 
body. I was at Judge Thatcher's as quick as I could get 
there. He said: 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He says: 

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

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

He studied a while, and then he says: 

" Oho-o. I think I see. You want to seZ/aW your property 
to me — not give it. That's the correct idea." 

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

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

So I signed it, and left. 

Miss Watson's nigger, Jim, had a hair-ball as big as your 
fist, which had been took out of the fourth stomach of an ox, 
and he used to do magic with it. He said there was a spirit 
inside of it, and it knowed everything. So I went to him that 
night and told him pap was here again, for I found his tracks 
in the snow. What I wanted to know, was, what he was go- 
ing to do, and was he going to stay ? Jim got out his hair- 
ball, and said something over it, and then he held it up and 
dropped it on the floor. It fell pretty solid, and only rolled 
about an inch. Jim tried it again, and then another time, 
and it acted just the same. Jim got down on his knees and 
put his ear against it and listened. But it warn't no use; he 
said it wouldn't talk. He said sometimes it wouldn't talk 


without money. I told him I had an old slick counterfeit 
quarter that warn't no good because the brass showed through 
the silver a little, and it wouldn't pass nohow, even if the 
brass didn't show, because it was so slick it felt greasy, and 
so that would tell on it every time. (I reckoned I wouldn't 
say nothing about the dollar I got from the judge.) I said it 
was pretty bad money, but maybe the hair-ball would take it, 
because maybe it wouldn't know the difference. Jim smelt 
it, and bit it, and rubbed it, and said he would manage so the 
hair-ball would think it was good. He said he would split 
open a raw Irish potato and stick the quarter in between and 
keep it there all night, and next morning you couldn't see no 
brass, and it wouldn't feel greasy no more, and so anybody 
in town would take it in a minute, let alone a hair-ball. Well, 
I knowed a potato would do that, before, but I had forgot it. 

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



such hifalut'n foolishness, hey ?— who told you you could ?" 

** The widow. She told me." 

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

" Nobody never told her." 

'' Well, I'll learn her how to meddle. And looky here— 
you drop that school, you hear ? I'll learn people to bring 


up a boy to put on airs over his own father and let on to be 
better'n what he is. You lemme catch you fooling around 
that school again, you hear? Your mother couldn't read, 
and she couldn't write, nuther, before she died. None of the 
family couldn't, before they died. / can't; and here you're 
a- swelling yourself up like this. I ain't the man to stand it 
— you hear ? Say — lemme hear you read." 


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

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

He took up a little blue and yaller picture of some cows 
and a bo}^, and says: 

'^ What's this ? " 

*' It's something they give me for learning my lessons 

He tore it up, and says — 

^' I'll give you something better — I'll give you a cowhide." 

He set there a-mumbling and a-growling a minute, and 
then he says — 

'"'' Aint yo\x a sweet-scented dandy, though? A bed; and 
bedclothes; and a look'n-glass; and a piece of carpet on the 
floor — and your own father got to sleep with the hogs in the 
tanyard. I never see such a son. I bet I'll take some o' 
these frills out o' you before I'm done with you. Why 
there ain't no end to your airs — they say you're rich. Hey ? 
— how's that ? " 

''They lie— that's how." 

*' Looky here — mind how you talk to me; I'm a-standing 
about all I can stand, now — so don't gimme no sass. I've 
been in town two days, and I hain't heard nothing but about 
you bein' rich. I heard about it away down the river, too. 
That's why I come. You git me that money to-morrow — I 
want it. ' ' 

" I hain't got no money." 

*' It's a lie. Judge Thatcher's got it. You git it. I want 

" I hain't got no money, I tell you. You ask Judge 
Thatcher; he'll tell you the same." 

'* All right. I'll ask him; and I'll make him pungle, too, 
or I'll know the reason why. Say — how much you got in 
your pocket ? I want it." 

'' I hain't got only a dollar, and I want that to " 


" It don't make no difference what you want it for — you 
just shell it out." 

He took it and bit it to see if it was good, and then he said he 
was going down town to get some whisky; said he hadn't had a 
drink all day. When he had got out on the shed, he put his 
head in again, and cussed me for putting on frills and trying to 
be better than him; and when I reckoned he was gone, he come 
back and put his head in again, and told me to mind about 
that school, because he was going to lay for me and lick me 
if I didn't drop that. 

Next day he was drunk, and he went to Judge Thatcher's 
and bullyragged him and tried to make him give up the 
money, but he couldn't, and then he swore he'd make the 
law force him. 

The judge and the widow went to law to get the court to 
take me away from him and let one of them be my guardian; 
but it was a new judge that had just come, and he didn't 
know the old man; so he said courts mustn't interfere and 
separate families if they could help it; said he'd druther not 
take a child away from its father. So Judge Thatcher and 
the widow had to quit on the business. 

That pleased the old man till he couldn't rest. He said 
he'd cowhide me till I was black and blue if I didn't raise 
some money for him. I borrowed three dollars from Judge 
Thatcher, and pap took it and got drunk and went a-blowing 
around and cussing and whooping and carrying on; and he 
kept it up all over town, with a tin pan, till most midnight; 
then they jailed him, and next day they had him before 
court, and jailed him again for a week. But he said he was 
satisfied; said he was boss of his son, and he'd make it warm 
for him. 

When he got out' the new judge said he was agoing to make 
a man of him. So he took him to his own house, and dress- 
ed him up clean and nice, and had him to breakfast and din- 
ner and supper with the family, and was just old pie to him, 
so to speak. And after supper he talked to him about tem- 
perance and such things till the old man cried, and said he'd 
been a fool, and fooled away his life; but now he was agoing 
to turn over a new leaf and be a man nobody wouldn't be 
ashamed of, and he hoped the judge would help him and not 
look down on him. The judge said he could hug him for 


them words; so he cried, and his wife she cried again; pap 
said he'd been a man that had always been misunderstood be- 
fore, and the judge said he beheved it. The old man said 
that what a man wanted that was down, was sympathy; and 
the judge said it was so; so they cried again. And when it 
was bedtime, the old man rose up and held out his hand, and 

''Look at it gentlemen, and ladies all; take ahold of it; 
shake it. There's a hand that was the hand of a hog; but it 
ain't so no more; it's the hand of a man that's started in on 
a new life, and '11 die before he'll go back. You mark them 
words — don't forget I said them. It's a clean hand now; 
shake it — don't be afeard." 

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

The judge he felt kind of sore. He said he reckoned a 
body could reform the ole man with a shot-gun, maybe, but 
he didn't know no other way. 



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

He got to hanging around the widow's too much, and so 
she told him at last, that if he didn't quit using around there 
she would make trouble for him. Well, was7i't he mad ? He 
said he would show who was Huck Finn's boss. So he watched 
out for me one day in the spring, and catched me, and took 
me up the river about three mile, in a skiff, and crossed over 
to the Illinois shore where it was woody and there warn't no 
houses but an old log hut in a place where the timber was so 
thick you couldn't find it if you didn't know where it was. 

He kept me with him all the time, and I never got a chance 
to run off. We lived in that old cabin, and he always locked 
the door and put the key under his head, nights. He had a 
gun which he had stole, I reckon, and we fished and hunted, 
and that was what we lived on. Every little while he locked 
me in and went down to the store, three miles, to the ferry, 
and traded fish and game for whisky and fetched it home and 
got drunk and had a good time, and licked me. The widow 
she found out where I was, by-and-by, and she sent a man 
over to try to get hold of me, but pap drove him off with the 


gun, and it warn't long after that till I was used to being 
where I was, and liked it, all but the cowhide part. 

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

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


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

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

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


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

'' Call this a govment! why, just look at it and see what it's 
like. Here's the law a-standing ready to take a man's son 
away from him — a man's own son, which he has had all the 
trouble and all the anxiety and all the expense of raising. 
Yes, just as that man has got that son raised at last, and 
ready to go to work and begin to do suthin' for him and give 
him a rest, the law up and goes for him. And they call that 
govment! That ain't all, nuther. The law backs that old 
Judge Thatcher up and helps him to keep me out o' my prop- 
erty. Here's what the law does. The law takes a man 
worth six thousand dollars and upards, and jams him into an 
old trap of a cabin like this, and lets him go round in clothes 
that ain't fitten for a hog. They call that govment! A man 
can't get his rights in a govment like this. Sometimes I've a 
mighty notion to just leave the country for good and all. 
Yes, and \told 'em so; I told old Thatcher so to his face. 
Lots of 'em heard me, and can tell what I said. Says I, for 
two cents I'd leave the blamed country and never come anear 
it agin. Them's the very words. I says, look at my hat- — if 
you call it a hat — but the lid raises up and the rest of it goes 
down till it's below my chin, and then it ain't rightly a hat at 
all, but more like my head was shoved up through a jint o' 
stove-pipe. Look at it, says I — such a hat for me to wear — 
one of the wealthiest men in this town, if I could git my 

*'Oh, yes, this is a wonderful govment, wonderful. Why, 
looky here. There was a free nigger there, from Ohio; a 
mulatter, most as white as a white man. He had the whitest 
ohirt on you ever see, too, and the shiniest hat; and there ain't 
a man in that town that's got as fine clothes as what he had; 
and he had a gold watch and chain, and a silver-headed cane 
— the awfulest old gray-headed nabob in the State. And 
what do you think? they said he was a p'fessor in a college, 


and could talk all kinds of languages, and knowed everything. 
And that ain't the wust. They said he could vote^ when he 
was at home. Well, that let me out. Thinks I, what is the 
country a-coming to ? It was 'lection day, and I was just 
about to go and vote, myself, if I warn't too drunk to get 
there; but when they told me there was a State in this coun- 
try where they'd let that nigger vote, I drawed out. I says 
I'll never vote agin. Them's the very words I said; they all 
heard me; and the country may rot for all me — I'll never 
vote agin as long as I live. And to see the cool way of that 
nigger — why, he wouldn't a give me the road if I hadn't shoved 
him out o' the way. I says to the people, why ain't this nig- 
ger put up at auction and sold ? — that's what I want to know. 
And what do you reckon they said ? Why, they said he 
couldn't be sold till he'd been in the State six months, and 
he hadn't been there that long yet. There, now — that's a 
specimen. They call that a govment that can't sell a free 
nigger till he's been in the State six months. Here's a gov- 
ment that calls itself a govment, and lets on to be a govment, 
and thinks it is a govment, and yet's got to set stock-still for 
six whole months before it can take ahold of a prowling, 

thieving, infernal, white-shirted free nigger, and " 

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

After supper pap took the jug, and said he had enough 


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

I don't know how long I was asleep, but all of a sudden 
there was an awful scream and I was up. There was pap, 
looking wild and skipping around every which way and yell- 
ing about snakes. He said they was crawling up his legs; 
and then he would give a jump and scream, and say one had 
bit him on the cheek — but I couldn't see no snakes. He 
started and run round and round the cabin, hollering ''take 
him off! take him off! he's biting me on the neck! " I never 
see a man look so wild in the eyes. Pretty soon he was all 
fagged out, and fell down panting; then he rolled over and 
over, wonderful fast, kicking things every which way, and 
striking and grabbing at the air with his hands, and scream- 
ing, and saying there was devils ahold of him. He wore out, 
by-and-by, and laid still a while, moaning. Then he laid 
stiller, and didn't make a sound. I could hear the owls and 
the wolves, away off in the woods, and it seemed terrible still. 
He was laying over by the corner. By-and-by he raised up, 
part way, and listened, with his head to one side. He says 
very low: 

" Tramp — tramp — tramp; that's the dead; tramp — tramp 
tramp; they're coming after me; but I won't go — Oh, they're 
here! don't touch me — don't! hands off — they're cold; let go 
— Oh, let a poor devil alone! " 

Then he went down on all fours and crawled off begging 
them to let him alone, and he rolled himself up in his blan- 
ket and wallowed in under the old pine table, still a-begging; 
and then he went to crying. I could hear him through the 

By-and-by he rolled out and jumped up on his feet looking 
wild, and he see me and went for me. He chased me round 
and round the place,with a clasp-knife, calling me the Angel 


of Death, and saying he would kill me and then I couldn't 
come for him no more. I begged, and told him I was only 
Huck, but he laughed such a screechy laugh, and roared and 
cussed, and kept on chasing me up. Once when I turned 
short and dodged under his arm he made a grab and got me 
by the jacket between my shoulders, and I thought I was 
gone; but I slid out of the jacket quick as lightning, and 
saved myself. Pretty soon he was all tired out, and dropped 
down with his back against the door, and said he would rest 
a minute and then kill me. He put his knife under him, and 
said he would sleep and get strong, and then he would see 
who was who. 

So he dozed off, pretty soon. By-and-by I got the old 
split-bottom chair and dumb up, as easy as I could, not to 
make any noise, and got down the gun. I slipped the ram- 
rod down it to make sure it was loaded, and then I laid it 
across the turnip barrel, pointing towards pap, and set down 
behind it to wait for him to stir. And how slow and still the 
time did drag along. 



GIT up ! what you 'bout ! " 
I opened my eyes and looked around, trying to make 
out where I was. It was after sun-up, and I had been sound 
asleep. Pap was standing over me, looking sour — and sick, 
too. He says — 

"What you doin' with this gun?" 

I judged he didn't know nothing about what he had been 
doing, so I says: 

" Somebody tried to get in, so I was laying for him." 

" Why didn't you roust me out ? " 

"Well I tried to, but I couldn't; I couldn't budge you." 

"Well, all right. Don't stand there palavering all day, 
but out with you and see if there's a fish on the lines for 
breakfast, I'll be along in a minute." 

He unlocked the door and I cleared out, up the river 
bank. I noticed some pieces of limbs and such things 
floating down, and a sprinkling of bark ; so I knowed the 
river had begun to rise. I reckoned I would have great times, 
now, if I was over at the town. The June rise used to be 
always luck for me ; because as soon as that rise begins, 
here comes cord-wood floating down, and pieces of log rafts 
— sometimes a dozen logs together ; so all you have to do 
is to catch them and sell them to the wood yards and the 

I went along up the bank with one eye out for pap and 
'tother one out for what the rise might fetch along. Well, 
all at once, here comes a canoe ; just a beauty, too, about 
thirteen or fourteen foot long, riding high like a duck. I 
shot head first oft" of the bank, like a frog, clothes and all 
on, and struck out for the canoe. I just expected there'd 
be somebody laying down in it, because people often done 
that to fool folks, and when a chap had pulled a skiff out 
most to it they'd raise up and laugh at him. But it 
warn't so this time. It was a drift-canoe, sure enough, 


and I dumb in and paddled her ashore. Thinks I, the 
old man will be glad when he sees this — she's worth ten 
dollars. But when I got to shore pap wasn't in sight yet, 
and as I was running her into a little creek like a gully, all 
hung over with vines and willows, I struck another idea ; I 
judged I'd hide her good, and then, stead of taking to the 
woods when I run off, I'd go down the river about fifty mile 
and camp in one place for good, and not have such a rough 
time tramping on foot. 

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

When he got along, I was hard at it taking up a '' trot " 
line. He abused me a little for being so slow, but I told him 
I fell in the river and that was what made me so long. I 
knowed he would see I was wet, and then he would be ask- 
ing questions. We got live cat-fish off of the lines and went 

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

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

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

About twelve o'clock we turned out and went along up 
the bank. The river was coming up pretty fast, and lots of 
drift-wood going by on the rise.' By-and-by, along comes 
part of a log raft — nine logs fast together. We went out with 
the skiff and towed it ashore. Then we had dinner. Any- 
body but pap would a waited and seen the day through, so 


as to catch more stuff ; but that warn't pap's style. Nine 
logs was enough for one time ; he must shove right over to 
town and sell. So he locked me in and took the skiff and 
started off towing the raft about half-past three. I judged 
he wouldn't come back that night. I waited till I reckoned 
he had got a good start, then I out with my saw and went 
to work on that log again. Before he was 'totherside of the 
river I was out of the hole ; him and his raft was just a speck 
on the water away off yonder. 

I took the sack of corn meal and took it to where the 
canoe was hid, and shoved the vines and branches apart and 
put it in ; then I done the same with the side of bacon ; then 
the whisky jug ; I took all the coffee and sugar there was, 
and all the ammunition ; I took the wadding ; I took the 
bucket and gourd, I took a dipper and a tin cup, and my old 
saw and two blankets, and the skillet and the coffee-pot. I 
took fish-lines and matches and other things — everything that 
was worth a cent. I cleaned out the place. I wanted an 
axe, but there wasn't any, only the one out at the wood pile, 
and I knowed why I was going to leave that. I fetched out 
the gun, and now I was done. 

I had wore the ground a good deal, crawling out of the 
hole and dragging out so many things. So I fixed that as 
good as I could from the outside by scattering dust on the 
place, which covered up the smoothness and the sawdust. 
Then I fixed the piece of log back into its place, and put two 
rocks under it and one against it to hold it there, — for it was 
bent up at that place, and didn't quite touch ground. If you 
stood four or five foot away and didn't know it was sawed, 
you wouldn't ever notice it ; and besides, this was the back 
of the cabin and it warn't likely anybody would go fooling 
around there. 

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

I took the axe and smashed in the door — I beat it and 
hacked it considerable, a-doing it. I fetched the pig in and 


took him back nearly to the table and hacked into his throat 
with the ax, and laid him down on the ground to bleed — I 
say ground, because it was ground — hard packed, and no 
boards. Well, next I took an old sack and put a lot of big 
rocks in it, — all I could drag — and I started it from the pig 
and dragged it to the door and through the woods down to the 
river and dumped it in, and down it sunk, out of sight. You 
could easy see that something had been dragged over the 
ground. I did wish Tom Sawyer was there, I knowed he 
would take an interest in this kind of business, and throw in 
the fancy touches. Nobody could spread himself like Tom 
Saw3^er in such a thing as that. 

Well, last I pulled out some of my hair, and blooded the 
ax good, and stuck it on the back side, and slung the ax in 
the corner. Then I took -up the pig and held him to my 
breast with my jacket (so he couldn't drip) till I got a good 
piece below the house and then dumped him into the river. 
Now I thought of something else. So 1 went and got the bag 
of meal and my old saw out of the canoe and fetched them 
to the house. I took the bag to where it used to stand, and 
ripped a hole in the bottom of it with the saw, for there warn't 
no knives and forks on the place — pap done everything with 
his clasp-knife, about the cooking. Then I carried the sack 
about a hundred yards across the grass and through the wil- 
lows east of the house, to a shallow lake that was five mile 
wide and full of rushes — and ducks too, you might say, in the 
season. There was a slough or a creek leading out of it on 
the other side, that went miles away, I don't know where, but 
it didn't go to the river. The meal sifted out and made a 
little track all the way to the lake. I dropped pap's whet- 
stone there too, so as to look like it had been done by acci- 
dent. Then I tied up the rip in the meal sack with a string, 
so it wouldn't leak no more, and took it and my saw to the 
canoe again. 

It was about dark, now; so I dropped the canoe down the 
river under some willows that hung over the bank, and waited 
for the moon to rise. I made fast to a willow ; then I took a 
bite to eat, and by-and-by laid down in the canoe to smoke a 
pipe and lay out a plan. I says to myself, they'll follow the 
track of that sackful of rocks to the shore and then drag the 
river for me. And they'll follow that meal track to the lake 


and go browsing down the creek that leads out of it to find 
the robbers that killed me and took the things. They won't 
ever hunt the river for anything but my dead carcass. They'll 
soon get tired of that, and won't bother no more about me. 
All right ; I can stop anywhere I want to. Jackson's Island 
is good enough for me ; I know that island pretty well, and 
nobody ever comes there. And then I can paddle over to 
town, nights, and slink around and pick up things I want. 
Jackson's Island's the place. 

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

I took a good gap and a stretch, and was just going to un- 
hitch and start, when I heard a sound away over the water. 
I listened. Pretty soon I made it out. It was that dull kind 
of a regular sound that comes from oars working in rowlocks 
when it's a still night. I peeped out through the willow 
branches, and there it was — a skiff, away across the water. I 
couldn't tell how many was in it. It kept a-coming, and 
when it was abreast of me I see there warn't but one man in 
it. Think's I, maybe it's pap, though I warn't expecting him. 
He dropped below me, with the current, and by-and-by he 
come a- swinging up shore in the easy water, and he went by 
so close I could a reached ou.t the gun and touched him. 
Well, it 7i'as pap, sure enough — and sober, too, by the way 
he laid to his oars. 

I didn't lose no time. The next minute I was a-spinning 
down stream soft but quick in the shade of the bank. I 
made two mile and a half, and then struck out a quarter of a 
mile or more towards the middle of the river, because pretty 
soon I would be passing the ferry landing and people might 
see me and hail me. I got out amongst the drift-wood and 
then laid down in the bottom of the canoe and let her float. 
I laid there and had a good rest and a smoke out of my pipe, 
looking away into the sky, not a cloud in it. The sky looks 


ever so deep when you lay down on your back in the moon- 
shine ; I never knowed it before. And how far a body can 
hear on the water such nights ! I heard people talking at 
the ferry landing. I heard what they said, too, every word 
of it. One man said it was getting towards the long days and 
the short nights, now. 'Tother one said this warn't one of 
the short ones, he reckoned — and then they laughed, and he 
said it over again and they laughed again ; then they waked 
up another fellow and told him, and laughed, but he didn't 
laugh ; he ripped out something brisk and said let him alone. 
The first fellow said he 'lowed to tell it to his old woman — 
she would think it was pretty good ; but he said that warn't 
nothing to some things he had said in his time. I heard one 
man say it was nearly three o'clock, and he hoped daylight 
wouldn't wait more than about a week longer. After that, 
the talk got further and further away, and I couldn't make 
out the words any more, but I could hear the mumble ; and 
now and then a laugh, too, but it seemed a long ways off. 

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

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

I went up and set down on a log at the head of the island 
and looked out on the big river and the black driftwood, and 
away over to the town, three mile away, where there was three 
or four lights twinkling. A monstrous big lumber raft was 
about a mile up stream, coming "along down, with a lantern in 
the middle of it. I watched it come creeping down, and 
when it was most abreast of where I stood I heard a man say, 
*' Stern oars, there ! heave her head to stabboard ! " I heard 
that just as plain as if the man was by my side. 

There was a little gray in the sky, now ; so I stepped into 
the woods and laid down for a nap before breakfast. 



THE sun was up so high when I waked, that I judged it 
was after eight o'clock. I laid there in the grass and 
the cool shade, thinking about things and feeling rested and 
ruther comfortable and satisfied. I could see the sun out at 
one or two holes, but mostly it was big trees all about, and 
gloomy in there amongst them. There was freckled places 
on the ground where the light sifted down through the leaves, 
and the freckled places swapped about a little, showing there 
was a little breeze up there. A couple of squirrels set on a 
limb and jabbered at me very friendly. 

I was powerful lazy and comfortable — didn't want to get 
up and cook breakfast. Well, I was dozing off again, when 
I thinks I hears a deep sound of ''boom! " away up the river. 
I rouses up and rests on my elbow and listens; pretty soon I 
hears it again. I hopped up and went and looked out at a 
hole in the leaves, and I see a bunch of smoke laying on the 
water a long ways up — about abreast the ferry. And there 
was the ferry-boat full of people, floating along down. I 
knowed what was the matter, now. "Boom!" I see the 
white smoke squirt out of the ferry-boat's side. You see, 
they was firing cannon over the water, trying to make my 
carcass come to the top. 

I was pretty hungry, but it warn't going to do for me to 
start a fire, because they might see the smoke. So I set 
there and watched the cannon-smoke and listened to the 
boom. The river was a mile wide, there, and it always looks 
pretty on a summer morning — so I was having a good enough 
time seeing them hunt for my remainders, if I only had a 
bite to eat. Well, then I happened to think how they always 
put quicksilver in loaves of bread and float them off because 
they always go right to the drownded carcass and stop there. 
So says I, I'll keep a lookout, and if any of them's floating 
around after me, I'll give them a show. I changed to the 


Illinois edge of the island to see what luck I could have, and 
I warn't disappointed. A big double loaf come along, and I 
most got it, with a long stick, but my foot slipped and she 
floated out further. Of course I was where the current set 
in the closest to the shore — I knowed enough for that. But 
by-and-by along comes another one, and this time I won. I 
took out the plug and shook out the little dab of quicksilver, 
and set my teeth in. It was "baker's bread" — what the 
quality eat — none of your low-down corn-pone. 

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

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

By-and-by she come along, and she drifted in so close that 
they could a run out a plank and walked ashore. Most 
everybody was on the boat. Pap, and Judge Thatcher, and 
Bessie Thatcher, and Jo Harper, and Tom Sawyer, an^l- his 
old Aunt Polly, and Sid and Mary, and plenty more. Every- 
body was talking about the murder, but the captain broke in 
and says: 

"Look sharp, now; the current sets in the closest here, 
and maybe he's washed ashore and got tangled amongst the 
brush at the water's edge. I hope so, anyway." 

I didn't hope so. They all crowded up and leaned over 
the rails, nearly in my face, and kept still, watching with all 
their might. I could see them first-rate, but they couldn't 
see me. Then the captain sung out: 

*' Stand away! " and the cannon let off such a blast right 


before me that it made me deef with the noise and pretty 
near blind with the smoke, and I judged I was gone. If they'd 
a had some bullets in, I reckon they'd a got the corpse they 
was after. Well, I see I warn't hurt, thanks to goodness. The 
boat floated on and went out of sight around the shoulder of 
the island. I could hear the booming, now and then, further 
and further off, and by-and-by after an hour, I didn't hear it 
no more. The island was three mile long. I judged they had 
got to the foot, and was giving it up. But they didn't yet a 
while. They turned around the foot of the island and start- 
ed up the channel on the Missouri side, under steam, and 
booming once in a while as they went. I crossed over to 
that side and watched them. When they got abreast the 
head of the island they quit shooting and dropped over to the 
Missouri shore and went home to the town. 

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

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

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

Well, I went fooling along in the deep woods till I judged 
I warn't far from the foot of the island. I had my gun along, 
but I hadn't shot nothing; it was for protection; thought I 


would kill some game nigh home. About this time I mighty- 
near stepped on a good sized snake, and it went sliding off 
through the grass and flowers, and I after it, trying to get a 
shot at it. I clipped along, and all of a sudden I bounded 
right on to the ashes of a camp fire that was still smoking. 

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

" Hello, Jim! " and skipped out. 

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

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

Well, I warn't long making him understand I warn't dead. 



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

"What, all that time?" 

" Yes-indeedy." 

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


"No, sah — nuffn else." 

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

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

'' Since the night I got killed." 

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

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

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

By-and-by Jim says: 

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

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

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

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

''Maybe I better not tell." 

'*Why, Jim?" 

'' Well, dey's reasons. But you wouldn' tell on me ef I 'uz 
to tell you, would you, Huck ? " 

" Blamed if I would, Jim." 

'' Well, I b'lieve you, Huck. I— I run of." 


" But mind, you said you wouldn't tell — you know you 
said you wouldn't tell, Huck." 

"Well I did. I said I wouldn't, and I'll stick to it. 
Honest mjun I will. People would call me a low down 
Ablitionist and despise me for keeping mum — but that don't 


make no difference. I ain't agoing to tell, and I ain't agoing 
back there anyways. So now, le's know all about it." 

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

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

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

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


to pick up my track. So I sa3^s, a raff is what I's arter; it 
doan' make no track. 

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

" But I didn' have no luck. When we 'uz mos' down to 
de head er de islan', a man begin to come aft wid de lantern. 
I see it warn't no use fer to wait, so I slid overboard, en 
struck out fer de islan'. Well, I had a notion I could Ian' 
mos' anywhers, but I couldn't — bank too bluff. I 'uz mos' 
to de foot er de islan' b'fo' I foun' a good place. I went 
into de woods en jedged I wouldn' fool wid raffs no mo', 
long as dey move de lantern roun' so. I had my pipe en a 
plug er dog-leg, en some matches in my cap, en dey warn't 
wet, so I 'uz all right." 

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

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

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

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

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


laid mighty sick once, and some of them catched a bird, and 
his old granny said his father would die, and he did. 

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

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

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

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

"What's de use to ax dat question ? don' you see I has ?" 

" Well, are you rich ? " 

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

" What did you speculate in, Jim ? " 

*' Well, fust I tackled stock." 

" What kind of stock ? " 

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

" So you lost the ten dollars." 

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

'' You had five dollars and ten cents left. Did you spec- 
ulate any more ? " 


"Yes. You know dat one-laigged nigger dat b'longsto o\6 
Misto Bradish ? well, he sot up a bank, en say anybody dat 
put in a dollar would git fo' dollars mo' at de en' er de year. 
Well, all de niggers went in, but dey didn't have much. I 
wuz de on'y one dat had much. So I stuck out for mo' dan 
fo' dollars, en I said 'f I didn' git it I'd start a bank mysef. 
Well o' course dat nigger want' to keep me out er de busi- 
ness, bekase he say dey warn't business 'nough for two banks, 
so he say I could put in my five dollars en he pay me thirty- 
five at de en' er de year. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

Jim said if we had the canoe hid in a good place, and had 
all the traps in the cavern, we could rush there if anybody 
was to come to the island, and they would never find us with- 
out dogs. And besides, he said them little birds had said it 
was going to rain, and did I want the things to get wet ? 

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

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

We spread the blankets inside for a carpet, and eat our din- 
ner in there. We put all the other things handy at the back 
of the cavern. Pretty soon it darkened up and begun to 
thunder and lighten; so the birds was right about it. Direct- 
ly it begun to rain, and it rained like all fury, too, and I never 



see the wind bldw so. It was one of these regular summer 
storms. It would get so dark that it looked all blue-black 
outside, and lovely; and the rain would thrash along by so 
thick that the trees off a little ways looked dim and spider- 
webby; and here would come a blast of wind that would bend 
the trees down and turn up the pale underside of the leaves; 
and then a perfect ripper of a gust would follow along and 
set the branches to tossing their arms as if they was just wild; 


and next, when it was just about the bluest and blackest — 
fst! it was as bright as glory and you'd have a little glimpse 
of tree-tops a-plunging about, away off yonder in the storm, 
hundreds of yards further than you could see before; dark as 
sin again in a second, and now you'd hear the thunder let go 
with an awful crash and then go rumbling, grumbling, tum- 
bling down the sky towards the under side of the world, like 
rolling empty barrels down stairs, where it's long stairs and 
they bounce a good deal, you know. 


'' Jim, this is nice," I says. " I wouldn't want to be no- 
where else but here. Pass me along another hunk of fish and 
some hot corn-bread." 

'' Well, you wouldn't a ben here 'f it hadn't a ben for Jim. 
You'd a ben down dah in de woods widout any dinner, en gittn' 
mos' drownded, too, dat you would, honey. Chickens knows 
when it's gwyne to rain, en so do de birds, chile." 

The river went on raising and raising for ten or twelve days, 
till at last it was over the banks. The water was three or four 
foot deep on the island in the low places and on the Illinois 
bottom. On that side it was a good many miles wide; but on 
the Missouri side it was the same old distance across — a half 
a mile — because the Missouri shore was just a wall of high 

Daytimes we paddled all over the island in the canoe. It 
was mighty cool and shady in the deep woods even if the sun was 
blazing outside. We went winding in and out amongst the 
trees; and sometimes the vines hung so thick we had to back 
away and go some other way. Well, on every old broken-down 
tree^ you could see rabbits, and snakes, and such things; and 
when the island had been overflowed a day or two, they got 
so tame, on account of being hungry, that you could paddle 
right up and put your hand on them if you wanted to; but 
not the snakes and turtles — they would slide off in the 
water. The ridge our cavern was in, was full of them. We 
could a had pets enough if we'd wanted them. 

One night we catched a little section of a lumber raft — 
nice pine planks. It was twelve foot wide and about fifteen 
or sixteen foot long, and the top stood above water six or 
seven inches, a solid level floor. We could see saw-logs go 
by in the daylight, sometimes, but we let them go; we didn't 
show ourselves in daylight. 

Another night, when we was up at the head of the island, 
just before daylight, here comes a frame house down, on the 
west side. She was a two-story, and tilted over, consider- 
able. We paddled out and got aboard — dumb in at an up- 
stairs window. But it was too dark to see yet, so we made 
the canoe fast and set in her to wait for daylight. 

The light begun to come before we got to the foot of the 
island. Then we looked in at the window. We could make 
out a bed, and a table, and two old chairs, and lots of things 


around about on the floor; and there was clothes hanging 
against the wall. There was something laying on the floor 
in the far corner that looked like a man. So Jim says: 

"Hello, you!" 

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

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

He went and bent down and looked, and says: 

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

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

We got an old tin lantern, and a butcher knife without any 
handle, and a bran-new Barlow knife worth two bits in any 
store, and a lot of tallow candles, and a tin candlestick, and 
a gourd, and a tin cup, and a ratty old bed-quilt off the bed, 
and a reticule with needles and pins and beeswax and buttons 
and thread and all such truck in it, and a hatchet and some 
nails, and a fish-line as thick as my little finger, with some 
monstrous hooks on it, and a roll of buckskin, and a leather 
dog-collar, and a horse-shoe, and some vials of medicine that 
didn't have no label on them; and just as we was leaving I 
found a tolerable good curry-comb, and Jim he found a ratty 



old fiddle-bow, and a wooden leg. The straps was broke off 
of it, but barring that, it was a good enough leg, though it 
was too long for me and not long enough for Jim, and we 
couldn't find the other one, though we hunted all around. 

And so, take it all around, we made a good haul. When 
we was ready to shove off, we was a quarter of a mile below 
the island, and it was pretty broad day; so I made Jim lay 
down in the canoe and cover up with the quilt, because if he 
set up, people could tell he was a nigger a good ways off. I 
paddled over to the Illinois shore, and drifted down most a 
half a mile doing it. I crept up the dead water under the 
bank, and hadn't no accidents and didn't see nobody. We 
got home all safe. 




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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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



Well, the days went along, and the river went down be- 
tween its banks again; and about the first thing we done was 
to bait one of the big hooks with a skinned rabbit and set it 
and catch a cat-fish that was as big as a man, being six foot 
two inches long, and weighed over two hundred pounds. 
We couldn't handle him, of course; he would a flung us into 
Illinois. We just set there and watched him rip and tear 


around till he drownded. We found a brass button in his 
stomach, and a round ball, and lots of rubbage. We split 
the ball open with the hatchet, and there was a spool in it. 
Jim said he'd had it fhere a long time, to coat it over so and 
make a ball of it. It was as big a fish as was ever catched 
in the Mississippi, I reckon. Jim said he hadn't ever seen a 
bigger one. He would a been worth a good deal over at the 


village. They peddle out such a fish as that by the pound in 
the market house there; everybody buys some of him; his 
meat's as white as snow and makes a good fry. 

Next morning I said it was getting slow and dull, and I 
wanted to get a stirring up, some way. I said I reckoned I 
would slip over the river and find out what was going on. 
Jim liked that notion; but he said I must go in the dark 
and look sharp. Then he studied it over and said, couldn't 
I put on some of them old things and dress up like a girl ? 
That was a good notion, too. So we shortened up one of the 
calico gowns and I turned up my trowser-Iegs to my knees 
and got into it. Jim hitched it behind with the hooks, and it 
was a fair fit. I put on the sun-bonnet and tied it under my 
chin, and then for a body to look in and see my face was like 
looking down a joint of stove-pipe. Jim said nobody would 
know me, even in the daytime, hardly. I practiced around 
all day to get the hang of the things, and by-and-by I could 
do pretty well in them, only Jim said I didn't walk like a girl; 
and he said I must quit pulling up my gown to get at my 
britches pocket. I took notice, and done better. 

I started up the Illinois shore in the canoe just after dark. 

I started across to the town from a little below the ferry 
landing, and the drift of the current fetched me in at the bot- 
tom of the town. I tied up and started along the bank. 
There was a light burning in a little shanty that hadn't been 
lived in for a long time, and I wondered who had took up 
quarters there. I slipped up and peeped in at the window. 
There was a woman about forty year old in there, knitting by 
a candle that was on a pine table. I didn't know her face; 
she was a stranger, for you couldn't start a face in that town 
that I didn't know. Now this was lucky, because I was 
weakening ; I was getting afraid I had come ; people might know 
my voice and find me out. But if this woman had been in such 
a little town two days she could tell me all I wanted to know; 
so I knocked at the door, and made up my mind I wouldn't 
forget I was a girl. 



/^"^OME in," says the woman, and I did. She says: 

V^^ ''Take a cheer." 

I done it. She looked me all over with her little shiny 
eyes, and says: 

"What might your name be ?" 

'' Sarah Williams." 

" Where 'bouts do you live ? In this neighborhood ? " 

"No'm. In Hookerville, seven mile below. I've walked 
all the way and I'm all tired out." 

" Hungry, too, I reckon. I'll find you something." 

" No'm, I ain't hungry. I was so hungry I had to stop two 
mile below here at a farm; so I ain't hungry no more. It's 
what makes me so late. My mother's down sick, and out of 
money and everything, and I come to tell my uncle Abner 
Moore. He lives at the upper end of the town, she says. I 
hain't ever been here before. Do you know him ? " 

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

"No," I says, " I'll rest a while, I reckon, and go on. I 
ain't afeard of the dark." 

She said she wouldn't let me go by myself, but her husband 
would be in by-and-by, maybe in a hour and a half, and she'd 
send him along with me. Then she got to talking about her 
husband, and about her relations up the river, and her rela- 
tions down the river, and about how much better off they used 
to was, and how they didn't know but they'd made a mistake 
coming to our town, instead of letting well alone — and so on 
and so on, till I was afeard /had made a mistake coming to 
her to find out what was going on in the town; but by-and-by 
she dropped onto pap and the murder, and then I was pretty 
willing to let her clatter right along. She told about me and 


Tom Sawyer finding the six thousand dollars (only she got it 
ten) and all about pap and what a hard lot he was, and what 
a hard lot I was, and at last she got down to where I was mur- 
dered. I says: 

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

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

'' No— is that so ? " 

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

^'Why//^ " 

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

" The nigger run off the very night Huck Finn was killed. 
So there's a reward out for him — three hundred dollars. And 
there's a reward out for old Finn too — two hundred dollars. 
You see, he come to town the morning after the murder, and 
told about it, and was out with 'em on the ferry-boat hunt, 
and right away after he up and left. Before night they wanted 
to lynch him, but he was gone, you see. Well, next day they 
found out the nigger was gone; they found out he hadn't ben 
seen sence ten o'clock the night the murder was done. So 
then they put it on him, you see, and while they was full of 
it, next day back comes old Finn and went boo-hooing to 
Judge Thatcher to get money to hunt for the nigger all over 
Illinois with. The judge give him some, and that evening he 
got drunk and was around till after midnight with a couple of 
mighty hard looking strangers, and then went off with them. 
Well, he hain't come back sence, and they ain't looking for 
him back till this thing blows over a little, for people thinks 
now that he killed his boy and fixed things so folks would 
think robbers done it, and then he'd get Huck's money with- 
out having to bother a long time with a lawsuit. People do 
say he warn't any too good to do it. Oh, he's sly, I reckon. 
If he don't come back for a year, he'll be all right. You can't 
prove anything on him, you know; everything will be quieted 


down then, and he'll walk in Huck's money as easy as noth- 

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

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

"Why, are they after him yet ?" 

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

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

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

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

'' Couldn't they see better if they was to wait till daytime ? " 

'' Yes. And couldn't the nigger see better, too ? After 
midnight he'll likely be asleep, and they can slip around 


through the woods and hunt up his camp fire all the better for 
the dark, if he's got one." 

"I didn't think of that." 

The woman kept looking at me pretty curious, and I didn't 
feel a bit comfortable. Pretty soon she says: 

** What did you say your name was, honey ? " 

" M— Mary Williams." 

Somehow it didn't seem to me that I said it was Mary be- 
fore, so I didn't look up; seemed to me I said it was Sarah; 
so I felt sort of cornered, and was afeared maybe I was look- 
ing it, too. I wished the woman would say something more; 
the longer she set still, the uneasier I was. But now she 

"Honey, I thought you said it was Sarah when you first 
come in ? " 

" Oh, yes'm, I did. Sarah Mary Williams. Sarah's my 
first name. Some calls me Sarah, some calls me Mary." 

'' Oh, that's the way of it ? " 


I was feeling better, then, but I wished I was out of there, 
anyway. I couldn't look up yet. 

Well, the woman fell to talking about how hard times was, 
and how poor they had to live, and how the rats was as free 
as if they owned the place, and so forth, and so on, and then 
I got easy again. She was right about the rats. You'd see 
one stick his nose out of a hole in the corner every little 
while. She said she had to have things handy to throw at 
them when she was alone, or they wouldn't give her no peace. 
She showed me a bar of lead, twisted up into a knot, and said 
she was a good shot with it generly, but she'd wrenched her 
arm a day or two ago, and didn't know whether she could 
throw true, now. But she watched for a chance, and directly 
she banged away at a rat, but she missed him wide, and said 
" Ouch! " it hurt her arm so. Then she told me to try for 
the next one. I wanted to be getting away before the old 
man got back, but of course I didn't let on. I got the thing, 
and the first rat that showed his nose I let drive, and if he'd 
a stayed where he was he'd a been a tolerable sick rat. She said 
that was first-rate, and she reckoned I would hive the next 
one. She went and got the lump of lead and fetched it back 
and brought along a hank of yarn, which she wanted me to 


help her with. I held up my two hands and she put the hank 
over them and went on talking about her and her husband's 
matters. But she broke off to say: 

" Keep your eye on the rats. You better have the lead in 
your lap, handy." 

So she dropped the lump into my lap, just at that moment, 
and I clapped my legs together on it and she went on talking. 
But only about a minute. Then she took off the hank and 
looked me straight in the face, and very pleasant, and says: 

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

'' Wh-what, mum ? " 

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

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

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

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

So I said it wouldn't be no use to try to play it any longer, 
and I would just make a clean breast and tell her everything, 
but she mustn't go back on her promise. Then I told her 
my father and mother was dead, and the law had bound me 
out to a mean old farmer in the country thirty mile back from 
the river, and he treated me so bad I couldn't stand it no 
longer ; he went away to be gone a couple of days, and so I 
took my chance and stole some of his daughter's old clothes, 
and cleared out, and I had been three nights coming the 
thirty miles ; I traveled nights, and hid day-times and slept, 
and the bag of bread and meat I carried from home lasted 
me all the' way and I had a plenty. I said I believed my 
uncle Abner Moore would take care of me, and so that was 
why I struck out for this town of Goshen." 

" Goshen, child ? This ain't Goshen. This is St. Peters- 


burg. Goshen's ten mile farther up the river. Who told you 
this was Goshen ?" 

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

'' He was drunk I reckon. He told you just exactly 
wrong. '* 

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

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

So she put me up a snack, and says : 

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

''The hind end, mum." 

" Well, then, a horse?" 

*' The for'rard end, mum." 

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

'' North side." 

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

" The whole fifteen, mum." 

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

''George Peters, mum." 

"Well, try to remember it, George. Don't forget and tell 
me it's Elexander before you go, and then get out by saying 
it's George-Elexander when I catch you. And don't go 
about women in that old calico. You do a girl tolerable 
poor, but you might fool men, maybe. Bless you, child, 
when you set out to thread a needle, don't hold the thread 
still and fetch the needle up to it ; hold the needle still and 
poke the thread at it — that's the way a woman most always 
does ; but a man always does 'tother way. And when you 
throw at a rat or anything, hitch yourself up a tip-toe and 
fetch your hand up over your head as awkward as you can, 
and miss your rat about six or seven foot. Throw stiff- 



armed from the shoulder, like there was a pivot there for it to 
turn on — like a girl ; not from the wrist and elbow, with your 
arm out to one side, like a boy. And mind you, when a girl 
tries to catch anything in her lap, she throws her knees apart ; 
she don't clap them together, the way you did when you 
catched the lump of lead. Why, I spotted you for a boy 
when you was threading the needle ; and I contrived the 
other things just to make certain. Now trot along to your 
uncle, Sarah Mary Williams George Elexander Peters, and 


if you get into trouble you send word to Mrs. Judith Loftus, 
which is me, and I'll do what I can to get you out of it. Keep 
the river road, all the way, and next time you tramp, take 
shoes and socks with you. The river road's a rocky one, 
and your feet '11 be in a condition when you get to Goshen, 
I reckon." 

I went up the bank about fifty yards, and then I doubled 
on my tracks and slipped back to where my canoe was, a 


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

When the first streak of day begun to show, we tied up 
to a tow-head in a big bend on the Illinois side, and hacked 
off cotton- wood branches with the hat- and covered up 
the raft with them so she looked like there had been a cave- 
in in the bank there. A tow-head is a sand-bar that has cot- 
ton-woods on it as thick as harrow-teeth. 

We had mountains on the Missouri shore and heavy tim- 
ber on the Illinois side, and the channel was down the Mis- 
souri shore at that place, so we warn't afraid of anybody 
running across us. We laid there all day and watched the 
rafts and steamboats spin down the Missouri shore, and up- 
bound steamboats fight the big river in the middle. I told 
Jim all about the time I had jabbering with that woman; and 
Jim said she was a smart one, and if she was to start after 
us herself she wouldn't set down and watch a camp fire — no, 
sir, she'd fetch a dog. Well, then, I said, why couldn't she 
tell her husband to fetch a dog ? Jim said he bet she did 
think of it by the time the men was ready to start, and he 
believed they must a gone up town to get a dog and so they 


lost all that time, or else we wouldn't be here on a tow-head 
sixteen or seventeen mile below the village — no, indeedy, 
we would be in that same old town again. So I said I 
didn't care what was the reason they didn't get us, as long as 
they didn't. 

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

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

Every night we passed towns, some of them away up on 
black hillsides, nothing but just a shiny bed of lights, not a 
house could you see. The fifth night we passed St. Louis, 
and it was like the whole world lit up. In St. Petersburg they 



used to say there was twenty or thirty thousand people in St. 
Louis, but I never believed it till I see that wonderful spread 
of lights at two o'clock that still night. There warn't a sound 
there; everybody was asleep. 

Every night, i-kdw, I used to slip ashore, towards ten o'clock, 
at some little village, and buy ten or fifteen cents' worth of 

y \ 


meal or bacon or other stuff to eat; and sometimes I lifted a 
chicken that warn't roosting comfortable, and took him along. 
Pap always said, take a chicken when you get a chance, be- 
cause if you don't want him yourself you can easy find some- 
body that does, and a good deed ain't ever forgot. I never 
see pap when he didn't want the chicken himself, but that is 
what he used to say, anyway. 


Mornings, before daylight, I slipped into corn fields and 
borrowed a watermelon, or a mushmelon, or a punkin, or 
some new corn, or things of that kind. Pap always said it 
warn't no harm to borrow things, if you was meaning to pay 
them back, sometime; but the widow said it warn't anything 
but a soft name for stealing, and no decent body would do it. 
Jim said he reckoned the widow was partly right and pap was 
partly right; so the best way would be for us to pick out two 
or three things from, the list and say we wouldn't borrow them 
any more — then he reckoned it wouldn't be no harm to bor- 
row the others. So we talked it over all one night, drifting 
along down the river, trying to make up our minds whether to 
drop the watermelons, or the cantelopes, or the mushmelons or 
what. But towards daylight we got it all settled satisfactory, 
and concluded to drop crabapples and p'simmons. We warn't 
feeling just right, before that, but it was all comfortable now. 
I was glad the way it come out, too, because crabapples ain't 
ever good, and the p'simmons wouldn't be ripe for two or 
three months yet. 

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

The fifth night below St. Louis we had a big storm after 
midnight, with a power of thunder and lightning, and the rain 
poured down in a solid sheet. We stayed in the wigwam and 
let the raft take care of itself. When the lightning glared out 
we could see a big straight river ahead, and high rocky bluffs 
on both sides. By-and-by says I, ^' Hel-/^, Jim, looky yon- 
der! " It was a steamboat that had killed herself on a rock. 
We was drifting straight down for her. The lightning showed 
her very distinct. She was leaning over, with part of her up- 
per deck above water, and you could see every little chimbly- 
guy clean and clear, and a chair by the big bell, with an old 
slouch hat hano-'no; on the back of it when the flashes come. 

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

''Le's land on her, Jim." 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Another voice said, pretty loud: 


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

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

''I'd like to! And I orter, too, a mean skunk! " 

The man on the floor would shrivel up, and say: "Oh, 
please don't, Bill — I hain't ever goin' to tell." 

And every time he said that, the man with the lantern would 
laugh, and say: 

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

Bill says: 

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

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

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

Packard didn't take no notice of that, but hung up his lan- 
tern on a nail, and started towards where I was, there in the 
dark, and motioned Bill to come. I crawfished as fast as I 
could, about two yards, but the boat slanted so that I couldn't 
make very good time; so to keep from getting run over and 


catched I crawled into a stateroom on the upper side. The 
man came a- pawing along in the dark, and when Packard got 
to my stateroom, he says: 

"Here — come in here." 

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

" He's said he'll tell, and he will. If w^e was to give both 
our shares to him noiv, it wouldn't make no difference after 
the row, and the way w^e've served him. Shore's you're born, 
he'll turn State's evidence; now you hear me. I'm for put- 
ting him out out of his troubles." 

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

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

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

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

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

" Yes — I reck'n you are. But s'pose she don't break up and 
wash off?" 



"Well, we can wait the two hours, anyway, and see, can't 
we ? " 

"All right, then; come along." 

So they started, and I lit out, all in a cold sweat, and scram- 
bled forward. It was dark as pitch there; but I said in a kind 
of a coarse whisper, " Jim! " and he answered up, right at my 
elbow, with a sort of a moan, and I says : 

"Quick, Jim, it ain't no time for fooling around and moan- 
ing; there's a gang of murderers in yonder, and if we don't 
hunt up their boat and set her drifting down the river so these 
fellows can't get away from the wreck, there's one of 'em going 
to be in a bad fix. But if we find their boat we can put all of 
'em in a bad fix — for the Sheriff '11 get 'em. Quick — hurry! 
I'll hunt the labboard side, you hunt the stabboard. You start 
at the raft, and " 

'' Oh, my lordy, lordy! Raf ? Dey ain' no raf no mo', she 
done broke loose en gone ! — 'en here we is! " 

"oh! lordy lordy! 



WELL, I catched my breath and most fainted. Shut 
up on a wreck with such a gang as that ! But it 
warn't no time to be sentimentering. We'd got to find that 
boat, now — had to have it for ourselves. So we went a-quak- 
ing and shaking down the stabboard side, and slow work it 
was, too — seemed a week before we got to the stern. No 
sign of a boat. Jim said he didn't believe he could go any 
further — so scared he hadn't hardly any strength left, he 
said. But I said come on, if we get left on this wreck, we 
are in a fix, sure. So on we prowled, again. We struck for 
the stern of the texas, and found it, and then scrabbled along 
forwards on the skylight, hanging on from shutter to shutter, 
for the edge of the skylight was in the water. When we got 
pretty close to the cross-hall door, there was the skiff, sure 
enough ! I could just barely see her. I felt ever so thank- 
ful. In another second I would a been aboard of her; but 
just then the door opened. One of the men stuck his head 
out, only about a couple of foot from me, and I thought I 
was gone; but he jerked it in again, and says : 

" Heave that blame lantern out o' sight. Bill ! " 

He flung a bag of something into the boat, and then got 
in himself, and set down. It was Packard. Then Bill he 
come out and got in. Packard says, in a low voice: 

" All ready — shove off ! " 

I couldn't hardly hang onto the shutters, I was so weak. 
But Bill says: 

'< Hold on — 'd you go through him ? " 

''No. Didn't you?" 

" No. So he's got his share o' the cash, yet." 

*' Well, then, come along — no use to take truck and leave 

'* Say — won't he suspicion what we're up to ?" 


" Maybe he won't But we got to have it anyway. Come 

So they got out and went in. 

The door slammed to, because it was on the careened side; 
and in a half second I was in the boat, and Jim come tum- 
bling after me. I out with my knife and cut the rope, and 
away we went ! 

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

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

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

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

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

It was the raft, and mighty glad was we to get aboard of 
it again. We seen a light, now, away down to the right, on 

92 THE advp:ntures of 

shore. So I said I would go for it. The skiff was half full 
of plunder which that gang had stole, there on the wreck. 
We hustled it onto the raft in a pile, and I told Jim to float 
along down, and show a light when he judged he had gone 
about two mile, and keep it burning till I come; then I man- 
ned my oars and shoved for the light. As I got down to- 
wards it, three or four more showed — up on a hillside. It 
was a village. T closed in above the shore-light, and laid on 
my oars and floated. As I went by, I see it was a lantern 
hanging on the jackstaff of a double-hull ferry-boat. I skim- 
med around for the watchman, a-wondering whereabouts he 
slept; and by-and-by I found him roosting on the bitts, for- 
ward, with his head down between his knees. I gave his 
shoulder two or three little shoves, and begun to cry. 

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

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

I says: 

*' Pap, and mam, and sis, and ■" 

Then I broke down. He says: 

" Oh, dang it, now, do7i' t take on so, we all has to have our 
troubles and this'n '11 come out all right. What's the matter 
with 'em ? " 

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

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

I broke in and says: 

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

" JF/^^is?" 

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


" Up where ? Where are they ? " 

" On the wreck." 

'' What wreck ? " 

" Why, there ain't but one.'* 

"What, you don't mean the Walter Scott?" 


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

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

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

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

" Yes, Booth's Landing — go on." 

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

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

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

" By Jackson, I'd like to, and blame it I don't know but I 


will; but who in the dingnation's agoin' to /) ay (or it? Do 
you reckon your pap " 

" Why that's all right. Miss Hooker she tole vat, particular, 
that her uncle Hornback " 

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

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

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

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

It did seem a powerful long time before Jim's light showed 
up; and when it did show, it looked like it was a thousand 



mile off. By the time I got there the slcy was beginning to 
get a little gray in the east; so we stpuck for an island, and 
hid the raft, and sunk the skiff, and turned in and slept like 
dead people. 





BY-AND-BY, when we got up, we turned over the truck 
the gang had stole off of the wreck, and found boots, 
and blankets, and clothes, and all sorts of other things, and 
a lot of books, and a spyglass, and three boxes of seegars. 
We hadn't ever been this rich before, in neither of our lives. 
The seegars was prime. We laid off all the afternoon in the 
woods talking, and me reading the books, and having a gen- 
eral good time. I told Jim all about what happened inside 
the wreck, and at the ferry-boat; and I said these kinds of 
things was adventures; but he said he didn't want no more 
adventures. He said that when I went in the texas and he crawl- 
ed^back to get on the raft and found her gone, he nearly died; 
because he judged it was all up with him^ any way it could be 
fixed; for if he didn't get saved he would get drownded; and 
if he did get saved, whoever saved him would send him back 
home so as to get the reward, and then Miss Watson would 
sell him South, sure. Well, he was right; he was most always 
right; he had an uncommon level head, for a nigger. 

I read considerable to Jim about kings, and dukes, and 
earls, and such, and how gaudy they dressed, and how much 
style they put on, and called each other your majesty, and 
your grace, and your lordship, and so on, 'stead of mister; 
and Jim's eyes bugged out, and he was interested. He says: 

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

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

" Aifi dat gay ? En what dey got to do, Huck ? " 

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



" No — is dat so ? " 

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

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

" Yes," says I, " and other times, when things is dull, they 



fuss with the parlyment; and if everybody don't go just so he 
whacks their heads off. But mostly they hang round the 

" Roun' de which ? " 

" Harem." 

*' What's de harem?" 

" The place where he keeps his wives. Don't you know 


about the harem? Solomon had one; he had about a mil- 
lion wives." 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

"Blame de pint! I reck'n I knows what I knows. En 
mine you, de real pint is down furder — it's down deeper. It 
lays in de way SoUermun was raised. You take a man dat's 
got on'y one er two chillen; is dat man gwyne to be waseful 
o' chillen ? No, he ain't; he can't 'ford it. He know how 
to value 'em. But you take a man dat's got 'bout five million 
chillen runnin' roun' de house, en it's diffunt. He as soon 
chop a chile in two as a cat. Dey's plenty mo'. A chile er 
two, mo' er less, warn't no consekens to Sollermun, dad 
fetch him!" 

I never see such a nigger. If he got a notion in his head 
once, there warn't no getting it out again. He was the most 
down on Solomon of any nigger I ever see. So I went to 
talking about other kings, and let Solomon slide. I told 
about Louis Sixteenth that got his head cut off in France 
long time ago; and about his little boy the dolphin, that 
would a been a king, but they took and shut him up in jail, 
and some say he died there. 

"Po' little chap." 

" But some says he got out and got away, and come to 

" Dat's good! But he'll be pooty lonesome — dey ain' no 
kings here, is dey, Huck ? " 


** Den he cain't git no situation. What he gwyne to do ? " 

" Well, I don't know. Some of them gets on the police, 
and some of them learns people how to talk French." 

"Why, Huck, doan' de French people talk de same way 
we does ? " 

'•^ No^ Jim; you couldn't understand a word they said — not 
a single word." 

'< Well, now, I be ding-busted! How do dat come?" 

"/don't know; but it's so. I got some of their jabber 
out of a book. Spose a man was to come to you and say 
Polly-voo-franzy — what would you think ? " 

"I wouldn' think nuff'n; I'd take en bust him over de 
head. Dat is, if he warn't white. I wouldn't 'low no nigger 
to call me dat." 

''Shucks, it ain't calling you anything. It's only saying 
do you know how to talk French." 


" Well, den, why couldn't he say it ? " 

"Why, he is a-saying it. That's a Frenchman's 7c>ay of 
saying it." 

''Well, it's a blame' ridicklous way, en I doan' want to 
hear no mo' 'bout it. Dey ain' no sense in it." 

" Looky here, Jim; does a cat talk like we do ? " 

"No, a cat don't." 

" Well, does a cow ? " 

" No, a cow don't, nuther." 

" Does a cat talk like a cow, or a cow talk like a cat ? " 

" No, dey don't." 

"It's natural and right for 'em to talk different from each 
other, ain't it ? " 

'' Course." 

" And ain't it natural and right for a cat and a cow to talk 
different from tis ? " 

"Why, mos' sholy it is." 

" Well, then, why ain't it natural and right for a Frejichinan 
to talk different from us ? You answer me that." 

" Is a cat a man, Huck ? " 


"Well, den, dey ain't no sense in a cat talkin' like a man. 
Is a cow a man ? — er is a cow a cat ? " 

"No, she ain't either of them." 

"Well, den, she ain' got no business to talk like either one 
er the yuther of 'em. Is a Frenchman a man ? " 


" Welly den! Dad blame it, why doan' he talk like a man ? 
You answer me dat! " 

I see it warn't no use wasting words — you can't learn a 
nigger to argue. So I quit. 



WE judged that three nights more would fetch us to 
Cairo, at the bottom of Illinois, where the Ohio 
River comes in, and that was what we was after. We would 
sell the raft and get on a steamboat and go way up the Ohio 
amongst the free States, and then be out of trouble. 

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

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

Thinks I, it won't do to paddle; first I know I'll run into 
the bank or a tow-head or something; I got to set still and 
float, and yet it's mighty fidgety business to have to hold 
your hands still at such a time. I whooped and listened. 
Away down there, somewheres, I hears a small whoop, and 


up comes my spirits. I went tearing after it, listening sharp 
to hear it again. The next time it come, I see I warn't head- 
ing for it but heading away to the right of it. And the next 
time, I was heading away to the left of it — and not gaining 
on it much, either, for I was flying around, this way and that 
and 'tother, but it was going straight ahead all the time. 

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

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

The whooping went on, and in about a minute I come a 
booming down on a cut bank with smoky ghosts of big trees 
on it, and the current throwed me off to the left and shot by, 
amongst a lot of snags that fairly roared, the current was 
tearing by them so swift. 

In another second or two it was solid white and still again. 
I set perfectly still, then, listening to my heart thump, and I 
reckon I didn't draw a breath while it thumped a hundred. 

I just give up, then. I knowed what the matter was. 
That cut bank was an island, and Jim had gone down 'tother 
side of it. It warn't no tow-head, that you could float by in 
ten minutes. It had the big timber of a regular island; it 
might be five or six mile long and more than a half a mile 

I kept quiet, with my ears cocked, about fifteen minutes, 
I reckon. I was floating along, of course, four or five miles 
an hour ; but you don't ever think of that. No, you feel 
like you are laying dead still on the water ; and if a little 
glimpse of a snag slips by, you don't think to yourself how 
fast j^/zV^ going, but you catch your breath and think, my ! 
how that snag's tearing along. If you think it ain't dismal 


and lonesome out in a fog that way, by yourself, in the night, 
you try it once — you'll see. 

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

" Goodness gracious, is dat you, Huck? En you ain' dead 
— you ain' drownded — you's back agin ? It's too good for 
true, honey, it's too good for true. Lemme look at you, 
chile, lemme feel o' you. No, you ain' dead ! you's back 
agin', live en soun', jis de same ole Huck — de same ole Huck, 
thanks to goodness ! " 

" What's the matter with you, Jim? You been a drink- 
ing?" ^ 

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

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

'' How does I talk wild?" 

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

** Huck — Huck Finn, you look me in de eye ; look me in 
de eye. Habit you ben gone away ? " 

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

" Well, looky here, boss, dey's sumf'n wrong, dey is. Is I 
me^ or who is I ? Is I heah, or whah is I ? Now dat's what 
I wants to know ? " 

" Well, I think you're here, plain enough, but I think you're 
a tangle-headed old fool, Jim." 

*' I is, is I ? Well you answer me dis. Didn't you tote 
out de line in de canoe, fer to make fas' to de tow-head ? " 

*' No, I didn't. What tow-head ? I hain't seen no tow- 

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

<' What foe?" 


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

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

"Dad fetch it, how is I gwyneto dream all dat in ten min- 

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

" But Huck, it's all jis' as plain to me as " 

" It don't make no difference how plain it is, there ain't 
nothing in it. I know, because I've been here all the time." 

Jim didn't say nothing for about five minutes, but set there 
studying over it. Then he says : 

"Well, den, I reck'n I did dream it, Huck ; but dog my 
cats ef it ain't de powerfullest dream I ever see. En I hain't 
ever had no dream b'fo' dat's tired me like dis one." 

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

So Jim went to work and told me the whole thing right 
through, just as it happened, only he painted it up consider- 
able. Then he said he must start in and '' 'terpret " it, be- 
cause it was sent for a warning. He said the first tow-head 
stood for a man that would try to do us some good, but the 
current was another man that would get us away from him. 
The whoops was warnings that would come to us every now 
and then, and if we didn't try hard to make out to under- 
stand them they'd just take us into bad luck, 'stead of keep- 
ing us out of it. The lot of tow-heads was troubles we was 
going to get into with quarrelsome people and all kinds of 
mean folks, but if we minded our business and didn't talk 
back and aggravate them, we would pull through and get out 


of the fog and into the big clear river, which was the free 
States, and wouldn't have no more trouble. 

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

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

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

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

"What do dey stan' for? I'se gwyne to tell you. When 
I got all wore out wid work, en wid de callin' for you, en 
went to sleep, my heart wuz mos' broke bekase you wuz los', 
en I didn' k'yer no mo' what become er me en de raf. En 
when I wake up en fine you back agin', all safe en soun', de 
tears come en I could a got down on my knees en kiss' yo' 
foot I's so thankful. En all you wuz thinkin' 'bout wuz how 
you could make a fool uv ole Jim wid a lie. Dat truck dah 
is trash ; en trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de head 
er dey fren's en makes 'em ashamed." 

Then he got up slow, and walked to the wigwam, and went 
in there, without saying anything but that. But that was 
enough. It made me feel so mean I could almost kissed his 
foot to get him to take it back. 

It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go 
and humble myself to a nigger — but I done it, and I warn't 
ever sorry for it afterwards, neither. I didn't do him no 
more mean tricks, and I wouldn't done that one if I'd a 
knowed it would make him feel that way. 



WE slept most all day, and started out at night, a little 
ways behind a monstrous long raft that was as long 
going by as a procession. She had four long sweeps at each 
end, so we judged she carried as many as thirty men, likely. 
She had five big wigwams aboard, wide apart, and an open 
camp fire in the middle, and a tall flag-pole at each end. 
There was a power of style about her. It amountedto some- 
thing being a raftsman on such a craft as that. 

We went drifting down into a big bend, and the night 
clouded up and got hot. The river was very wide, and was 
walled with solid timber on both sides ; you couldn't see a 
break in it hardly ever, or a light. We talked about Cairo, 
and wondered whether we would know it when we got to it. 
I said likely we wouldn't, because I had heard say there 
warn't but about a dozen houses there, and if they didn't 
happen to have them lit up, how was we going to know we 
was passing a town? Jim said if the two big rivers joined 
together there, that would show. But I said maybe we might 
think we was passing the foot of an island and coming into 
the same old river again. That disturbed Jim — and me too. 
So the question was, what to do .<' I said, paddle ashore the 
first time a light showed, and tell them pap was behind, com- 
ing along with a trading-scow, and was a green hand at the 
business, and wanted to know how far it was to Cairo. Jim 
thought it was a good idea, so we took a smoke on it and 

There warn't nothing to do, now, but to look out sharp for 
the town, and not pass it without seeing it. He said he'd be 
mighty sure to see it, because he'd be a free man the minute 
he seen it, but if he missed it he'd be in the slave country 
again and no more show for freedom. Every little while he 
jumps up and says: 

" Dah she is ! ''' 

But it warn't. It was Jack-o'-lanterns, or lightning-bugs; 


SO he set down again, and went to watching, same as before. 
Jim said it made him all over trembly and feverish to be so 
' close to freedom. Well, I can tell you it made me all over 
trembly and feverish, too, to hear him, because I begun to 
get it through my head that he was most free — and who was 
to blame for it ? Why, me. I couldn't get that out of my 
conscience, no how nor no way. It got to troubling me so I 
couldn't rest; I couldn't stay still in one place. It hadn't 
ever come home to me before, what this thing was that I was 
doing. But now it did; and it staid with me, and scorched 
me more and more. I tried to make out to myself that / 
warn't to blame, because /didn't run Jim off from his right- 
ful owner; but it warn't no use, conscience up and says, every 
time, *' But you knowed he was running for his freedom, and 
you could a paddled ashore and told somebody." That was 
so — I couldn't get around that, noway. That was where it 
pinched. Conscience says to me, " What had poor Miss 
Watfon done to you, that you could see her nigger go off 
right under your eyes and never say one single word ? What 
did that poor old woman do to you, that you could treat her 
so mean ? Why, she tried to learn you your book, she tried 
to learn you your manners, she tried to be good to you every 
way she knowed how. That's what she done." 

I got to feeling so mean and so miserable I most wished I 
was dead. I fidgeted up and down the raft, abusing myself 
to myself, and Jim was fidgeting up and down past me. We 
neither of us could keep still. Every time he danced around 
and says, '* Dah's Cairo ! " it went through me like a shot, 
and I thought if it was Cairo I reckoned I would die of mis- 

Jim talked out loud all the time while I was talking to my- 
self. He was saying how the first thing he would do when 
he got to a free State he would go to saving up money and 
never spend a single cent, and when he got enough he would 
buy his wife, which was owned on a farm close to where Miss 
Watson lived; and then they would both work to buy the 
two children, and if their master wouldn't sell them, they'd 
get an Ab'litionist to go and steal them. 

It most froze me to hear such talk. He wouldn't ever 
dared to talk such talk in his life before. Just see what a 
difference it made in him the minute he judged he was about 


free. It was according to the old saying, " give a nigger an 
inch and he'll take an ell." Thinks I, this is what comes of 
my not thinking. Here was this nigger which I had as good 
as helped to run away, coming right out flat-footed and saying 
he would steal his children — children that belonged to a man 
I didn't even know; a man that hadn't ever done me no harm. 

I was sorry to hear Jim say that, it was such a lowering of 
him. My conscience got to stirring me up hotter than ever, 
until at last I says to it, " Let up on me — it ain't too late, yet 
— I'll paddle ashore at the first light, and tell." I felt easy, 
and happy, and light as a feather, right off. All my troubles 
was gone. I went to looking out sharp for a light, and sort 
of singing to myself. By-and-by one showed. Jim sings out: 

*< We's safe, Huck, we's safe ! Jump up and crack yo' 
heels, dat's de good ole Cairo at las', I jis knows it ! " 

I says: 

" I'll take the canoe and go see, Jim. It mightn't be, you 

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

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

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

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

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

"What's that yonder ?" 

" A piece of a raft," I says. 

" Do you belong on it ? " 

"Yes, sir." 


" Any men on it ? " 

" Only one, sir." 

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

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

''He's white." 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Poor devil, there's something in that. We are right 


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

** I was a-listenin' to all de talk, en I slips into de river en 
was gwyne to shove for sho' if dey come aboard. Den I was 
gwyne to swim to de raf agin when dey was gone. But lawsy, 
how you did fool 'em, Huck! Dai 7c>uz de smartes' dodge! 
I tell you, chile, I 'speck it save' ole Jim — old Jim ain't 
gwyne to forgit you for dat, honey." 

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

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

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

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

" Mister, is that town Cairo ? " 

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

"What town is it, mister?*' 

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

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

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

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

He says: 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So we shoved out, after dark, on the raft. 

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

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


reefs; l)ut nights like this they bull right up the channel 
against the whole river. 

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

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

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

It was one of these long, slanting, two-mile crossings; 
so I was a good long time in getting over. I made a safe 
landing, and clum up the bank. I couldn't see but a little 
ways, but I went poking along over rough ground for a 



quarter of a mile or more, and then I run across a big old- 
fashioned double log house before I noticed it. I was go- 
ing to rush by and get away, but a lot of dogs jumped out 
and went to howling and barking at me, and I knowed 
better than to move another peg. 




IN about a minute somebody spoke out of a window, witli- 
out putting his head out, and says: 

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

I says: 

'' It's me." 

''Who's me?" 

"George Jackson, sir." 

*'What do you want?" 

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

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

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

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

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

"Look here; if you're telling the truth, you needn't be 
afraid — nobody '11 hurt you. But don't try to budge; stand 
right where you are. Rouse out Bob and Tom, some of 
you, and fetch the guns. George Jackson, is there any- 
body with you ? " 

"No, sir, nobody." 

I heard the people stirring around in the house, now, 
and see a light. The man sung out: 

'' Snatch that light away, Betsy, you old fool — ain't you 
got any sense ? Put it on the floor behind the front door. 
Bob, if you and Tom are ready, take your places." 

" All ready." 

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

*' No, sir — I never heard of them." 

"Well, that may be so, and it mayn't. Now, all ready. 
Step forward, George Jackson. And mind, don't you hurry 


— come mighty slow. If there's anybody with you, let him 
keep back — if he shows himself he'll be shot. Come along, 
now. Come slow; push the door open, yourself — just enough 
to squeeze in, d' you hear ? " 

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

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

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

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

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

'•'■ True for you, Rachel — I forgot." 

So the old lady says: 

'* Betsy " (this was a nigger woman), '' you fly around and 
get him something to eat, as quick as you can, poor thing; 


and one of you girls go and wake up Buck and tell him — Oh, 
here he is himself. Buck, take this little stranger and get the 
wet clothes off from him and dress him up in some of yours 
that's dry." 

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

*' Ain't they no Shepherdsons around ?" 

They said, no, 'twas a false alarm. 

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

They all laughed, and Bob says: 

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

" Well, nobody come after me, and it ain't right. I'm al- 
ways kep' down; I don't get no show." 

"Nevermind, Buck, my boy," says the old man, ** you'll 
have show enough, all in good time, don't you fret about that. 
Go 'long with you now, and do as your mother told you." 

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

''Well, guess," he says. 

*' How'm I going to guess," says I, *' when I never heard 
tell about it before ? " 

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

" Which candle ? " I says. 

*' Why, any candle," he says. 

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

"Why he was in the dark! That's where he was! " 

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

" Why, blame it, it's a riddle, don't you see ? Say, how 
long are you going to stay here ? You got to stay always. 


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

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

"Can you spell, Buck ?" 

" Yes," he says. 

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

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

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

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

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

I set it down, private, because somebody might want me to 



spell it, next, and so I wanted to be handy with it and rattle 
it off like I was used to it. 

It was a mighty nice family, and a mighty nice house, too. 
I hadn't seen no house out in the country before that was so nice 
and had so much style. It didn't have an iron latch on the front 
door, nor a wooden one with a buckskin string, but a brass knob 


to turn, the same as houses in a town. There warn't no bed in 
the parlor, not a sign of a bed; but heaps of parlors in towns 
has beds in them. There was a big fireplace that was bricked 
on the bottom, and the bricks was kept clean and red by pour- 
ing water on them and scrubbing them with another brick; 
sometimes they washed them over with red water-paint that 


they call Spanish-brown, same as they do in town. They had 
big brass dog-irons that could hold up a saw-log. There was 
a clock on the middle of the mantel-piece, with a picture of a 
town painted on the bottom half of the glass front, and a 
round place in the middle of it for the sun, and you could see 
the pendulum swing behind it. It was beautiful to hear that 
clock tick; and sometimes when one of these peddlers had 
been along and scoured her up and got her in good shape, 
she would start in and strike a hundred and fifty before she 
got tuckered out. They wouldn't took any money for her. 

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

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

They had pictures hung on the walls — mainly Washingtons 
and Lafayettes, and battles, and Highland Marys, and one 


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


would look best and then scratch out all the other arms; but, 
as I was saying, she died before she got her mind made up, 
and now they kept this picture over the head of the bed in her 
room, and every time her birthday come they hung flowers on 
it. Other times it was hid with a little curtain. The young 
woman in the picture had a kind of a nice sweet face, but 
there was so many arms it made her look too spidery, seemed 
to me. 

This young girl kept a scrap-book when she was alive, and 
used to paste obituaries and accidents and cases of patient 
suffering in it out of the Presbyterian Observer^ and write 
poetry after them out of her own head. It was very good 
poetry. This is what she wrote about a boy by the name of 
Stephen Bowling Bots that fell down a well and was drownded: 

Ode to Stephen Dowling Bots, Dec'd. 

And did young Stephen sicken, 

And did young Stephen die ? 
And did the sad hearts thicken, 

And did the mourners cry ? 

No; such was not the fate of 

Young Stephen DowHng Bots; 
Though sad hearts round him thickened, 

'Twas not from sickness' shots. 

No whooping-cough did rack his frame, 

Nor measles drear, with spots; 
Not these impaired the sacred name 

Of Stephen Dowling Bots. 

Despised love struck not with woe 

That head of curl)'^ knots. 
Nor stomach troubles laid him low. 

Young Stephen Dowling Bots. 

O no. Then list with tearful eye, 

Whilst I his fate do tell. 
His soul did from this cold world fly. 

By falling down a well. 

They got him out and emptied him; 

Alas it was too late; 
His spirit was gone for to sport aloft 

In the realms of the good and great. 


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

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



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





COL. GRANGERFORD was a gentleman, you see. He 
was a gentleman all over; and so was his family. He 
was well born, as the saying is, and that's worth as much in a 
man as it is in a horse, so the Widow Douglass said, and no- 
body ever denied that she was of the first aristocracy in our 
town; and pap he always said it, too, though he warn't no 
more quality than a mud-cat, himself. Col. Grangerford was 
very tall and very slim, and had a darkish-paly complexion, 
not a sign of red in it anywheres; he was clean-shaved every 
morning, all over his thin face, and he had the thinnest kind 
of lips, and the thinnest kind of nostrils, and a high nose, 
and heavy eyebrows, and the blackest kind of eyes, sunk so 
deep back that they seemed like they was looking out of cav- 
erns at you, as you may say. His forehead was high, and 
his hair was black and straight and hung to his shoulders. 
His hands was long and thin, and every day of his life he put 
on a clean shirt and a full suit from head to foot made out 
of linen so white it hurt your eyes to look at it; and on Sun- 
days he wore a blue tail-coat with brass buttons on it. He 
carried a mahogany cane with a silver head to it. There 
warn't no frivolishness about him, not a bit, and he warn't 
ever loud. He was as kind as he could be — you could feel 
that, you know, and so you had confidence. Sometimes he 
smiled, and it was good to see; but when he straightened 
himself up like a liberty-pole, and the lightning begun to 
flicker out from under his eyebrows you wanted to climb a 
tree first, and find out what the matter was afterwards. He 
didn't ever have to tell anybody to mind their manners — 
everybody was always good mannered where he was. Every- 
body loved to have him around, too; he was sunshine most 
always — I mean he made it seem like good weather. When 
he turned into a cloud-bank it was awful dark for a half a 
minute and that was enough; there wouldn't nothing go wrong 
again for a week. 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was another clan of aristocracy around there — five 
or six families— mostly of the name of Shepherdson. They 


was as high-toned, and well born, and rich and grand, as the 
tribe of Grangerfords. The Shepherdsons and Grangerfords 
used the same steamboat landing, which was about two mile 
above our house ; so sometimes when I went up there with a 
lot of our folks I used to see a lot of the Shepherdsons there, 
on their fine horses. 

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

" Quick ! Jump for the woods !" 

We done it, and then peeped down the woods through the 
leaves. Pretty soon a splendid young man come galloping 
down the road, setting his horse easy and looking like a 
soldier. He had his gun across his pommel. I had seen 
him before. It was young Harney Shepherdson. I heard 
Buck's gun go off at my ear, and Harney's hat tumbled off 
from his head. He grabbed his gun and rode straight to 
the place where we was hid. But we didn't wait. We start- 
ed through the woods on a run. The woods warn't thick, 
so I looked over my shoulder, to dodge the bullet, and twice 
I seen Harney cover Buck with his gun ; and then he rode 
away the way he come — to get his hat, I reckon, but I 
couldn't see. We never stopped running till we got home. 
The old gentleman's eyes blazed a minute — 'twas pleasure, 
mainly, I judged — then his face sort of smoothed down, and 
he says, kind of gentle : 

*' I don't like that shooting from behind a bush. Why 
didn't you step into the road, my boy? " 

" The Shepherdsons don't, father. They always take ad- 

Miss Charlotte she held her head up like a queen while 
Buck was telling his tale, and her nostrils spread and her 
eyes snapped. The two young m^n looked dark, but never 
said nothing. Miss Sophia she turned pale, but the color 
come back when she found the man warn't hurt. 

Soon as I could get Buck down by the corn-cribs under 
the trees by ourselves, I says : 

*' Did vou want to kill him, Buck? " 

'* We;]*, J bet I did." 

" What did h*- do to you ? " 

'' Him ? He never done nothing to me." 


'' Well, then, what did you want to kill him for ? " 

" Why nothing — only it's on account of the feud." 

"What's a feud?" 

" Why, where was you raised ? Don't you know what a 
feud is ? " 

*' Never heard of it before — tell me about it." 

"Well," says Buck, "a feud is this way. A man has a 
quarrel with another man, and kills him ; then that other 
man's brother kills him j then the other brothers, on both 
sides, goes for one another ; then the cousins chip in — and by- 
and-by everybody's killed off, and there ain't no more feud. 
But it's kind of slow, and takes a long time." 

'* Has this one been going on long, Buck ? " 

<'Well I should reckoft ! it started thirty year ago, or 
som'ers along there. There was trouble 'bout something 
and then a lawsuit to settle it ; and the suit went agin one 
of the men, and so he up and shot the man that won the suit — 
which he would naturally do, of course. Anybody would." 

'< What was the trouble about, Buck ?— land ? " 

'' I reckon maybe — I don't know." 

" Well, who done the shooting ? — was it a Grangerford or a 
Shepherdson ? " 

" Lav/s, how do / know ? it was so long ago." 

'< Don't anybody know? " 

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

" Has there been many killed. Buck? " 

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

'' Has anybody been killed this year, Buck? " 

*' Yes, we got one and they got one. 'Bout three months 
ago, my cousin Bud, fourteen year old, was riding through 
the woods, on t'other side of the river, and didn't have no 
weapon with him, which was blame' foolishness, and in a 
lonesome place he hears a horse a-coming behind ''him, and 
sees old Baldy Shepherdson a-linkin' after him with his gun 
in his hand and his white hair a-flying in the wind; and 'stead 


of jumping off and taking to the brush, Bud 'lowed he could 
outrun him ; so they had it, nip and tuck, for five mile or 
more, the old man a-gaining all the time ; so at last Bud seen 
it warn't any use, so he stopped and faced around so as to 
have the bullet holes in front, you know, and the old man he 
rode up and shot him down. But he didn't git much chance 
to enjoy his luck, for inside of a week our folks laid hhn 

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

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

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

About an hour after dinner everybody was dozing around, 
some in their chairs and some in their rooms, and it got to 
be pretty dull. Buck and a dog was stretched out on the 
grass in the sun, sound asleep. I went up to our room, and 
judged I would take a nap myself. I found that sweet Miss 


Sophia standing in her door, which was next to ours, and she 
took me in her room and shut the door very soft, and asked 
me if I liked her, and I said I did ; and she asked me if I 
would do something for her and not tell anybody, and I said 
I would. Then she said she'd forgot her Testament, and 
left it in the seat at church, between two other books and 
would I slip out quiet and go there and fetch it to her, and 
not say nothing to nobody. I said I would. So I slid out 
and slipped off up the road, and there warn't anybody at the 
church, except maybe a hog or two, for there warn't any lock 
on the door, and hogs likes a puncheon floor in summer-time 
because it's cool. If you notice, most folks don't go to 
church only when they've got to ; but a hog is different. 

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

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

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

Thinks I, that's mighty curious ; he said that yesterday. 
Ho oughter know a body don't love water-moccasins enough 


to go around hunting for them. What is he up to anyway ? 
So I says — 

''All right, trot ahead." 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" What raft, Jim ? " 

** Our ole raf. ** 


"You mean to say our old raft warn't smashed all to flin- 
ders ? " 

** No, she warn't. She was tore up a good deal — one en' 
of her was — but dey warn't no great harm done, on'y our 
traps was mos' all los'. Ef we hadn' dive' so deep en swum 
so fur under water, en de night hadn' ben so dark, en we 
warn't so sk'yerd, en ben sich punkin-heads, as de sayin' is, 
we'd a seed de raf. But it's jis' as well we didn't, 'kase now 
she's all fixed up agin mos' as good as new, en we's got a new 
lot o' stuff, too, in de place o* what 'uz los'." 

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

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

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

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

" What's it all about ? " 

Says he: 

" Don't you know, Mars Jawge? " 


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

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

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

I took up the river road as hard as I could put. By-and- 
by I begin to hear guns a good ways off. When 1 eome in 
sight of the log store and the wood-pile where the steam- 
boats lands, I worked along under the trees and brush till I 
got to a good place, and then I dumb up into the forks of a 
cotton-wood that was out of reach, and watched. There was 
a wood-rank four foot high, a little ways in front of the tree, 
and first I was going to hide behind that; but maybe it was 
luckier I didn't. 

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

By-and-by the men stopped cavorting around and yelling. 
They started riding towards the store; then up gets one of 
the boys, draws a steady bead over the wood-rank, and drops 
one of them out of his saddle. All the men jumped off of 
their horses and grabbed the hurt one and started to carry 
him to the store; and that minute the two boys started on the 

huckleb?:rry finn. 


run. They got half-way to the tree I was in before the men 
noticed. Then the men see them, and jumped on their 
horses and took out after them. They gained on the boys, 
but it didn't do no good, the boys had too good a start; they 
got to the wood-pile that was in front of my tree, and slipped 
in behind it, and so they had the bulge on the men again. 
One of the boys was Buck, and the other was a slim young 
chap about nineteen years old. 

The men ripped around awhile, and then rode away. As 


soon as they was out of sight, I sung out to Buck and told 
him. He didn't know what to make of my voice coming out 
of the tree, at first He was awful surprised. He told me 
to watch out sharp and let him know when the men come in 
sight again; said they was up to some devilment or other — 
wouldn't be gone long. I wished I was out of that tree, but 
I dasn't come down. Buck begun to cry and rip, and 'lowed 
that him and his cousin Joe (that was the other young chap) 
would make up for this day, yet. He said his father and his 


two brothers was killed, and two or three of the enemy. 
Said the Shepherdsons laid for them, in ambush. Buck said 
his father and brothers ought to waited for their relations — 
the Shepherdsons was too strong for them. I asked him 
what was become of young Harney and Miss Sophia. He 
said they'd got across the river and was safe. I was glad of 
that; but the way Buck did take on because he didn't manage 
to kill Harney that day he shot at him — I hain't ever heard 
anything like it. 

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

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

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

It was just dark, now. I never went near the house, but 
struck through the woods and made for the swamp. Jim warn't 
on his island, so I tramped off in a hurry for the crick, and 


crowded through the willows, red-hot to jump aboard and 
get out of that awful country — the raft was gone ! My souls, 
but I was scared ! I couldn't get my breath for most a 
minute. Then I raised a yell. A voice not twenty-five foot 
from me, says — 

" Good Ian' ! is dat you, honey? Doan' make no noise." 

It was Jim's voice — nothing ever sounded so good before. 
I run along the bank a piece and got aboard, and Jim he 
grabbed me and hugged me, he was so glad to see me. He 
says — 

" Laws bless you, chile, I 'uz right down sho' you's dead 
agin. Jack's been heah, he say he reck'n you's ben shot, 
kase you didn' come home no mo'; so I's jes' dis minute a 
startin' de raf down towards de mouf er de crick, so's to be 
all ready for to shove out en leave soon as Jack comes agin 
en tells me for certain you is dead. Lawsy, I's mighty glad 
to git you back agin, honey." 

I says — 

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

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



TWO or three days and nights went by; I reckon I might 
say they swum by, they slid along so quiet and smooth 
and lovely. Here is the way we put in the time. It was a 
monstrous big river down there — sometimes a mile and a half 
wide; we run nights, and laid up and hid day-times; soon as 
night was most gone, we stopped navigating and tied up — 
nearly always in the dead water under a tow-head; and then 
cut young cotton-woods and willows and hid the raft with 
them. Then we set out the lines. Next we slid into the river 
and had a swim, so as to freshen up and cool off; then we set 
down on the sandy bottom where the water was about knee 
deep, and watched the daylight come. Not a sound, anywheres 
— perfectly still — just like the whole world was asleep, only 
sometimes the bull-frogs a-cluttering, maybe. The first thing 
to see, looking away over the water, was a kind of dull line — 
that was the woods on t'other side — you couldn't make noth- 
ing else out; then a pale place in the sky; then more paleness, 
spreading around; then the river softened up, away off, and 
warn't black any more, but gray ; you could see little 
dark spots drifting along, ever so far away — trading scows, 
and such things; and long black streaks — rafts; sometimes 
you could hear a sweep screaking; or jumbled up voices, it 
was so still, and sounds come so far; and by-and-by you could 
see a streak on the water which you know by the look of the 
streak that there's a snag there in a swift current which breaks 
on it and makes that streak look that way; and you see the 
mist curl up off of the water, and the east reddens up, and the 
river, and you make out a log cabin in the edge of the woods, 
away on the bank on t'other side cf the river, being a wood- 
yard, likely, and piled by them cheats so you can throw a dog 
through it anywheres; then the nice breeze springs up, and 
comes fanning you from over there, so cool and fresh, and 
sweet to smell, on account of the woods and the flowers; but 


sometimes not that way, because they've left dead fish laying 
around, gars, and such, and they do get pretty rank; and next 
you've got the full day, and everything smiling in the sun, 
and the song-birds just going it! 

A little smoke couldn't be noticed, now, so we would take 
some fish off of the lines, and cook up a hot breakfast. And 
afterwards we would watch the lonesomeness of the river, and 
kind of lazy along, and by-and-by lazy off to sleep. Wake 
up, by-and-by, and look to see what done it, and maybe see 
a steamboat, coughing along up stream, so far off towards the 
other side you couldn't tell nothing about her only whether 
she was a stern-wheel or side-wheel; then for about an hour 
there wouldn't be nothing to hear nor nothing to see — just 
solid lonesomeness. Next you'd see a raft sliding by, away 
off yonder, and maybe a galoot on it chopping, because they're 
most always doing it on a raft; you'd see the ax flash, and 
come down — you don't hear nothing; you see that ax go up 
again, and by the time it's above the man's head, then you 
hear the k' chunk! — it had took all that time to come over the 
water. So we would put in the day, lazying around, listening 
to the stillness. Once there was a thick fog, and the rafts and 
things that went by was beating tin pans so the steamboats 
wouldn't run over them. A scow or a raft went by so close 
we could hear them talking and cussing and laughing — heard 
them plain; but we couldn't see no sign of them; it made you 
feel crawly, it was like spirits carrying on that way in the air. 
Jim said he believed it was spirits; but I says: 

** No, spirits wouldn't say, ' dern the dern fog.'" 

Soon as it was night, out we shoved; when we got her out 
to about the middle, we let her alone, and let her float wher- 
ever the current wanted her to; then we lit the pipes, and 
dangled our legs in the water and talked about all kinds of 
things — we was always naked, day and night, whenever the 
mosquitoes would let us — the new clothes Buck's folks made 
for me was too good to be comfortable, and besides I didn't 
go much on clothes, nohow. 

Sometimes we'd have that whole river all to ourselves for 
the longest time. Yonder was the banks and the islands, 
across the water; and maybe a spark — which was a candle in 
a cabin window — and sometimes on the water you could see 
a spark or two — on a raft or a scow, you know; and maybe 



you could hear a fiddle or a song coming over from one of 
them crafts. It's lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky, 
up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our 
backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they 
was made, or only just happened — J mi he allowed they was 
madC; but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have 


took too long to make so many. Jim said the moon could a 
/aid them; well, that looked kind of reasonable, so I didn't 
say nothing against it, because I've seen a frog lay most as 
many, so of course it could be done. We used to watch the 
stars that fell, too, and see them streak down. Jim allowed 
they'd got spoiled and was hove out of the nest. 


Once or twice of a night we would see a steamboat slipping 
along in the dark, and now and then she would belch a whole 
world of sparks up out of her chimbleys, and they would rain 
down in the river and look awful pretty; then she would turn 
a corner and her lights would wink out and her pow-wow shut 
off and leave the river still again; and by-and-by her waves 
would get to us, a long time after she was gone, and joggle 
the raft a bit, and after that you wouldn't hear nothing for 
you couldn't tell how long, except maybe frogs or something. 

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

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

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

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

One of these fellows was about seventy, or upwards, and 


had a bald head and very gray whiskers. He had an old bat- 
tered-np slouch hat on, and a greasy blue woolen shirt, and 
ragged old blue jeans britches stuffed into his boot tops, and 
home-knit galluses — no, he only had one. He had an old 
long-tailed blue jeans coat with slick brass buttons, flung over 
his arm, and both of them had big fat ratty-looking carpet- 

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

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

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

"Well, I'd ben a-runnin' a little temperance revival thar, 
'bout a week, and was the pet of the women-folks, big and 
little, for I was makin' it mighty warm for the rummies, I tell 
you, and takin' as much as five or six dollars a night^ten 
cents a head, children and niggers free— and business a growin' 
all the time; when somehow or another a little report got 
around, last night, that I had a way of puttin' in my time 
with a private jug, on the sly. A nigger rousted me out this 
mornin', and told me the people was getherin' on the quiet, 
with their dogs and horses, and they'd be along pretty soon 
and give me 'bout half an hour's start, and then run me down, 
if they could; and if they got me they'd tar and feather me 
and ride me on a rail, sure. I didn't wait for no breakfast— 
I warn't hungry." 

" Old man," says the young one, ** I reckon we might double- 
team it together; what do you think?" 

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

"Jour printer, by trade; do a little in patent medicines; 
theatre-actor — tragedy, you know; take a turn to mesmerism 
and phrenology when there's a chance; teach singing-geog- 



raphy school for a change; sling a lecture, sometimes — oh, I 
do lots of things — most anything that comes handy, so it ain't 
work. What's your lay ? " 

" I've done considerble in the doctoring way in my time. 
Layin' on o' hands is my best holt — for cancer and paralysis, 
and sich things; and I k'n tell a fortune pretty good, when 
I've got somebody along to find out the tacts for me. Preach- 


in's my line, too ; and workin' camp-meetin's ; and mission- 
aryin' around." 

Nobody never said anything for awhile ; then the young 
man hove a sigh and says — 


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


<* To think I should have lived to be leading such a life, 
and be degraded down into such company." And he begun 
to wipe the corner of his eye with a rag. 

'' Dern your skin, ain't the company good enough for you ?" 
says the bald head, pretty pert and uppish. 

''Yes, it is good enough for me ; it's as good as I deserve; 
for who fetched me so low, when I was so high? /did my- 
self. I don't blame j^'^z/, gentlemen — far from it; I don't 
blame anybody, I deserve it all. Let the cold world do its 
worst ; one thing I know — there's a grave somewhere for me. 
The world may go on just as its always done, and take 
everything from me — loved ones, property, everything — but 
it can't take that. Some day I'll lie down in it and forget it 
all, and my poor broken heart will be at rest." He went on 

" Drot your pore broken heart," says the baldhead ; " what 
are you heaving your pore broken heart at us f'r? We hain't 
done nothing." 

"No, I know you haven't. I ain't blaming you, gentle- 
men. I brought myself down — yes, I did it myself. It's 
right I should suffer— perfectly right — I don't make any 

" Brought you down from whar ? What was you brought 
down from ? " 

" Ah, you would not believe me; the world never believes 
— let it pass — 'tis no matter. The secret of my birth " 

'♦ The secret of your birth ! Do you mean to say " 

" Gentlemen," says the young man, very solemn, " I will 
reveal it to you, for I feel I may have confidence in you. 
By rights I am a duke! " 

Jim's eyes bugged out when he heard that; and I reckon 
mine did, too. Then the baldhead says: "No! you can't 
mean it?" 

''Yes. My great-grandfather, eldest son of the Duke of 
Bridgewater, fled to this country about the end of the last 
century, to breathe the pure air of freedom; married here, 
and died, leaving a son, his own father dying about the same 
time. The second son of the late duke seized the titles and 
estates — the infant real duke was ignored. I am the lineal 
descendant of that infant — I am the rightful Duke of Bridge- 
water; and here am I, forlorn, torn from my high estate, 



hunted of men, despised by the cold world, ragged, worn, 
heart-broken, and degraded to the companionship of felons 
on a raft! " 

Jim pitied him ever so much, and so did I. We tried to 
comfort him, but he said it warn't much use, he couldn't be 
much comforted; said if we was a mind to acknowledge him, 


that would do him more good than most anything else; so 
we said we would, if he would tell us how. He said we ought 
to bow, when we spoke to him, and say ** Your Grace," or 
'' My Lord," or " Your Lordship " — and he wouldn't mind it 
if we called him plain " Bridgewater," which he said was a 
title, anyway, and not a name; and one of us ought to wait on 
him at dinner, and do any little thing for him he wanted done. 
Well, that was all easy, so we done it. All through dinner 



Jim stood around and waited on him, and says, " Will yo' 
Grace have some o' dis, or some o' dat?" and so on, and a 
body could see it was mighty pleasing to him. 

But the old man got pretty silent, by-and-by — didn't have 
much to say, and didn't look pretty comfortable over all that 
petting that was going on around that duke. He seemed to 
have something on his mind. So, along in the afternoon, 
he says: 

" Looky here, Bilgewater," he says, " I'm nation sorry for 
you, but you ain't the only person that's had troubles like 


"No, you ain't. You ain't the only person that's ben 
snaked down wrongfully out'n a high place." 


" No, you ain't the only person that's had a secret of his 
birth." And by jings, he begins to cry. 

" Hold! What do you mean ? " 

" Bilgewater, kin I trust you ? " says the old man, still sort 
of sobbing. 

" To the bitter death! " He took the old man by the hand 
and squeezed it, and says, "The secretof your being: speak! " 

"Bilgewater, I am the late Dauphin! " 

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

"You are what?" 

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

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

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

Well, he cried and took on so, that me and Jim didn't 
know hardly what to do, we was so sorry — and so glad and 
proud we'd got him with us, too. So we set in, like we done 
before with the duke, and tried to comfort him. But he said 


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

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

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

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



THEY asked us considerable many questions; wanted to 
know what we covered up the raft that way for, and 
laid by in the day-time instead of running — was Jim a run- 
away nigger ? Says !■ — 

*' Goodness sakes, would a runaway nigger run soiithV 

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

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

The duke says — 

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

Towards night it begun to darken up and look like rain; 


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

" I should a reckoned the difference in rank would a sejested 
to you that a corn-shuck bed warn't just fitten for me to sleep 
on. Your Grace'll take the shuck bed yourself." 

Jim and me was in a sweat again, for a minute, being afraid 
there was going to be some more trouble amongst them; so 
we was pretty glad when the duke says — 

^' 'Tis my fate to be always ground into the mire under the 
iron heel of oppression. Misfortune has broken my once 
haughty spirit; I yield, I submit; 'tis my fate. I am alone 
in the world — let me suffer; I can bear it." 

We got away as soon as it was good and dark. The king 
told us to stand well out towards the middle of the river, and 
not show a light till we got a long ways below the town. We 
come in sight of the little bunch of lights by-and-by — that 
was the town, you know — and slid by, about a half a mile out, 
all right. When we was three-quarters of a mile below, we 
hoisted up our signal lantern; and about ten o'clock it come 
on to rain and blow and thunder and lighten like everything; 
so the king told us to both stay on watch till the weather got 
better; then him and the duke crawled into the wigwam and 
turned in for the night. It was my watch below, till twelve, 
but I wouldn't a turned in, anyway, if I'd had abed; because 
a body don't see such a storm as that every day in the week, 
not by a long sight. My souls, how the wind did scream 
along! And every second or two there' d come a glare that 
lit up the white-caps for a half a mile around, and you'd see the 
islands looking dusty through the rain, and the trees thrash- 
ing around in the wind; then comes a h-wack ! — bum! bum! 
bumble-umble-um-bum-bum-bum-bum — and the thunder 
would go rumbling and grumbling away, and quit — and then 


rip comes another flash and another sockdolager. The waves 
most washed me off the raft, sometimes, but I hadn't any 
clothes on, and didn't mind. We didn't have no trouble 
about snags; the lightning was glaring and flittering around 
so constant that we could see them plenty soon enough to 
throw her head this way or that and miss them. 

I had the middle watch, you know, but I was pretty sleepy 
by that time, so Jim he said he would stand the first half of it 
for me; he was always mighty good, that way, Jim was. I 
crawled into the wigwam, but the king and the duke had their 
legs sprawled around so there warn't no show for me; so I 
laid outside — I didn't mind the rain, because it was warm, and 
the waves warn't running so high, now. About two they 
come up again, though, and Jim was going to call me, but he 
changed his mind because he reckoned they warn't high 
enough yet to do any harm; but he was mistaken about that, 
for pretty soon all of a sudden along comes a regular ripper, 
and washed me overboard. It most killed Jim a-laughing. 
He was the easiest nigger to laugh that ever was, anyway. 

I took the watch, and Jim he laid down and snored away; 
and by-and-by the storm let up for good and all ; and the first 
cabin-light that showed, I rousted him out and we slid the 
raft into hiding-quarters for the day. 

The king got out an old ratty deck of cards, after breakfast, 
and him and the duke played seven-up a while, five cents a 
game. Then they got tired of it, and allowed they would 
'May out a campaign," as they called it. The duke went 
down into his carpet-bag and fetched up a lot of little printed 
bills, and read them out loud. One bill said *' The celebrated 
Dr. Armand de Montalban of Paris," would " lecture on the 
Science of Phrenology " at such and such a place, on the 
blank day of blank, at ten cents admission, and '' furnish 
charts of character at twenty-five cents apiece." The duke 
said that was him. In another bill he was the <* world re- 
nowned Shaksperean tragedian, Garrick the Younger, of Drury 
Lane, London." In other bills he had a lot of other names 
and done other wonderful things, like finding water and gold 
with a '' divining rod," '' dissipating witch-spells," and so on. 
By-and-by he says — 

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



'' No," says the king. 

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


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



" All right. I'm jist a freezn' for something fresh, any- 
way. Less commence, right away." 

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

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

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

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

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

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

The duke said what he was after was a printing office. We 
found it ; a little bit of a concern, up over a carpenter shop 
— carpenters and printers all gone to the meeting, and no 
doors locked. It was a dirty, littered-up place, and had ink 


marks, and handbills with pictures of horses and runaway 
niggers on them, all over the walls. The duke shed his coat 
and said he was all right, now. So me and the king lit out 
for the camp-meeting. 

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

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

The first shed we come to, the preacher was lining out a 
hymn. He lined out two lines, everybody sung it, and it was 
kind of grand to hear it, there was so many of them and they 
done it in such a rousing way ; then he lined out two more 
for them to sing — and so on. The people woke up more and 
more, and sung louder and louder ; and towards the end, 
some begun to groan, and some begun to shout. Then the 
preacher begun to preach ; and begun in earnest, too ; and 
went weaving first to one side of the platform and then 
the other, and then a leaning down over the front of it, with 
his arms and his body going all the time, and shouting his 
words out with all his might ; and every now and then he 
would hold up his Bible and spread it open, and kind of pass 
it around this way and that, shouting, "It's the brazen ser- 
pent in the wilderness ! Look upon it and live ! " And peo- 
ple would shout out, <* Glory ! — h-2,-men!" And so he 


went on, and the people groaning and crying and saying 
amen : 

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

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

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

And then he busted into tears, and so did everybody. 


Then somebody sings out, *' Take up a collection for him, 
take up a collection! " Well, a half a dozen made a jump to 
do it, but somebody sings out, " Let him pass the hat 
around! " Then everybody said it, the preacher too. 

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

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

The duke was thinking he' d been doing pretty well, till the 
king come to show up, but after that he didn't think so so much. 
He had set up and printed off two little jobs for farmers, in 
that printing office — horse bills — and took the money, four 
dollars. And he had got in ten dollars worth of advertise- 
ments for the paper, which he said he would put in for four 
dollars if they would pay in advance — so they done it. The 
price of the paper was two dollars a year, but he took in 
three subscriptions for half a dollar apiece on condition of 
them paying him in advance; they were going to pay in cord- 
wood and onions, as usual, but he said he had just bought 
the concern and knocked down the price as low as he could 
afford it, and was going to run it for cash. He set up a little 
piece of poetry, which he made, himself, out of his own head 
— three verses — kind of sweet and saddish — the name of it 



was, "Yes, crush, cold world, this breaking heart" — and he 
left that all set up and ready to print in the paper and didn't 
charge nothing for it. Well, he took in nine dollars and a 
half, and said he'd done a pretty square day's work for it. 

Then he showed us another little job he'd printed and 
hadn't charged for, because it was for us. It had a picture 


of a runaway nigger, with a bundle on a stick, over his shoul- 
der, and "$2oo reward " under it. The reading was all about 
Jim, and just described him to a dot. It said he run away 
from St. Jacques' plantation, forty mile below New Orleans, 
last winter, and likely went north, and whoever would catch 
him and send him back, he could have the reward and ex- 


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

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

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

When Jim called me to take the watch at four in the morn- 
ing, he says — 

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

" No," I says, *' I reckon not." 

"Well," says he, "dat's all right, den. I doan' mine one 
er two kings, but dat's enough. Dis one's powerful drunk, 
en de duke ain' much better." 

I found Jim had been trying to get him to talk French, so 
he could hear what it was like; but he said he had been in 
this country so long, and had so much trouble, he'd forgot it. 



IT was after sun-up, now, but we went right on, and didn't 
tie up. The king and the duke turned out, by-and-by, 
looking pretty rusty; but after they'd jumped overboard and 
took a swim, it chippered them up a good deal. After break- 
fast the king he took a seat on the corner of the raft, and 
pulled off his boots and rolled up his britches, and let his 
legs dangle in the water, so as to be comfortable, and lit his 
pipe, and went to getting his Romeo and Juliet by heart. 
When he had got it pretty good, him and the duke begun to 
practice it together. The duke had to learn him over and 
over again, how to say every speech; and he made him sigh, 
and put his hand on his heart, and after while he said he done 
it pretty well; ''only," he says, *'you mustn't bellow out 
Romeo! that way, like a bull — you must say it soft, and sick, 
and languishy, so — R-o-o-meo! that is the idea; for Juliet's 
a dear sweet mere child of a girl, you know, and she don't 
bray like a jackass." 

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

After dinner, the duke says: 

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

"What's onkores, Bilgewater?" 

The duke told him, and then says: 

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


" Hamlet's which ? " 

"Hamlet's soliloquy, you know; the most celebrated thing 
in Shakespeare. Ah, it's sublime, sublime! Always fetches 
the house. I haven't got it in the book — I've only got one 
volume — but I reckon I can piece it out from memory. I'll 
just walk up and down a minute, and see if I can call it back 
from recollection's vaults." 

So he went to marching up and down, thinking, and frown- 
ing horrible every now and then; then he would hoist up his 
eyebrows; next he would squeeze his hand on his forehead 
and stagger back and kind of moan; next he would sigh, and 
next he'd let on to drop a tear. It was beautiful to see him. 
By-and-by he got it. He told us to give attention. Then 
he strikes a most noble attitude, with one leg shoved forwards, 
and his arms stretched away up, and his head tilted back, 
looking up at the sky; and then he begins to rip and rave 
and grit his teeth; and after that, all through his speech he 
howled, and spread around, and swelled up his chest, and 
just knocked the spots out of any acting ever / see before. 
This is the speech — I learned it, easy enough, while he was 
learning it to the king: 

To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin 

That makes calamity of so long life; 

For who would fardels bear, till Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinane, 

But that the fear of something after death 

Murders the innocent sleep, 

Great nature's second course. 

And makes us rather sling the arrows of outrageous fortune 

Than fly to others that we know not of. 

There's the respect must give us pause: 

Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst; 

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, 

The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, 

The law's delay, and the quietus which his pangs might take. 

In the dead waste and middle of the night, when churchyards yawn 

In customary suits of solemn black. 

But that the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler 

Breathes forth contagion on the world, 

And thus the native hue of resolution, like the poor cat i' the adage. 
Is sicklied o'er with care, 

And all the clouds that lowered o'er our housetops, 
With this regard their currents turn awry. 
And lose the name of action. 


'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. But soft you, the fair 

Ope not thy ponderous and marble jaws, 
But get thee to a nunnery — go! 

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

The first chance we got, the duke he had some show bills 
printed; and after that, for two or three days as we floated 
along, the raft was a most uncommon lively place, for there 
warn't nothing but sword-fighting and rehearsing — as the 
duke called it — going on all the time. One morning, when 
we was pretty well down the State of Arkansaw, we come in 
sight of a little one-horse town in a big bend; so we tied up 
about three-quarters of a mile above it, in the mouth of a 
crick which was shut in like a tunnel by the cypress trees, 
and all of us but Jim took the canoe and went down there to 
see if there was any chance in that place for our show. 

We struck it mighty lucky; there was going to be a circus 
there that afternoon, and the country people was already be- 
ginning to come in, in all kinds of old shackly wagons, and 
on horses. The circus would leave before night, so our show 
would have a pretty good chance. The duke he hired the 
court house, and we went around and stuck up our bills. 
They read like this: 

Shaksperean Revival ! ! ! 
Wonderful Attraction! 
For One Night Only! 
The world renowned tragedians, 
David Garrick the younger, of Drury Lane Theatre, London, 

Edmund Kean the elder, of the Royal Haymarket Theatre, White- 
chapel, Pudding Lane, Piccadilly, London, and the 
Royal Continental Theatres, in their sublime 
Shaksperean Spectacle entitled 
The Balcony Scene 
Romeo and Juliet ! ! ! 

Romeo Mr. Garrick 

Juliet Mr. Kean 


Assisted by the whole strength of the company! 

New costumes, new scenery, new appointments! 


The thrilling, masterly, and blood-curdling 

Broad-sword conflict 

In Richard III. I I ! 

Richard III Mr. Garrick. 

Richmond Mr. Kean. 


(by special request,) 

Hamlet's Immortal Soliloquy ! ! 

By the Illustrious Kean! 

Done by him 300 consecutiv-e nights in Paris! 

For One Night Only, 

On account of imperative European engagements! 

Admission 25 cents; children and servants, 10 cents. 

Then we went loafing around town. The stores and houses 
was most all old shackly dried-up frame concerns that hadn't 
ever been painted; they was set up three or four foot above 
ground on stilts, so as to be out of reach of the water when 
the river was overflowed. The houses had little gardens 
around them, but they didn't seem to raise hardly anything 
in them but jimpson weeds, and sunflowers, and ash-piles, and 
old curled-up boots and shoes, and pieces of bottles, and rags, 
and played-out tin-ware. The fences was made of different 
kinds of boards, nailed on at different times; and they leaned 
every which-way, and had gates that didn't generly have but 
one hinge — a leather one. Some of the fences had been 
whitewashed, some time or another, but the duke said it was 
in Clumbus's time, like enough. There was generly hogs in 
the garden, and people driving them out. 

All the stores was along one street. They had white-do- 
mestic awnings in front, and the country people hitched their 
horses to the awning-posts. There was empty dry-goods 
boxes under the awnings, and loafers roosting on them all day 
long, whittling them with their Barlow knives; and chawing 
tobacco, and gaping and yawning and stretching — a mighty 
ornery lot. They generly had on yellow straw hats most as 
wide as an umbrella, but didn't wear no coats nor waistcoats; 
they called one another Bill, and Buck, and Hank, and Joe, 
and Andy, and talked lazy and drawly, and used considerable 
many cuss words. There was as many as one loafer leaning 


up against every awning-post, and he most always had his 
hands in his britches pockets, except when he fetched them 
out to lend a chaw of tobacco or scratch. What a body was 
hearing amongst them, all the time was — 
'' Gimme a chaw 'v tobacker, Hank." 
" Cain't— I hain't got but one chaw left. Ask Bill." 
Maybe Bill he gives him a chaw; maybe he lies and says 
he ain't got none. Some of them kinds of loafers never has 
a cent in the world, nor a chaw of tobacco of their own. 
They get all their chawing by borrowing — they say to a fel- 
low, " I wisht you'd len' me a chaw, Jack, I jist this minute 
give Ben Thompson the last chaw I had " — which is a lie, 
pretty much every time; it don't fool nobody but a stranger; 
but Jack ain't no stranger, so he says — 

'^ You give him a chaw, did you ? so did your sister's cat's 
grandmother. You pay me back the chaws you've awready 
borry'd off' n me, Lafe Buckner, then I'll loan you one or two 
ton of it, and won't charge you no back intrust, nuther." 
'* Well, I did pay you back some of it wunst." 
"Yes, you did — 'bout six chaws. You borry'd store 
tobacker and paid back nigger-head." 

Store tobacco is flat black plug, but these fellows mostly 
chaws the natural leaf twisted. When they borrow a chaw, 
they don't generly cut it off with a knife, but they set the 
plug in between their teeth, and gnaw with their teeth and 
tug at the plug with their hands till they get it in two — then 
sometimes the one that owns the tobacco looks mournful at 
it when it's handed back, and says, sarcastic — 
"Here, gimme the chaw, and you take the////^." 
All the streets and lanes was just mud, they warn't nothing 
else but mud — mud as black as tar, and nigh about a foot 
deep in some places; and two or three inches deep in all the 
places. The hogs loafed and grunted around, everywheres. 
You'd see a muddy sow and a litter of pigs come lazying 
along the street and whollop herself right down in the way, 
where folks had to walk around her, and she'd stretch out, 
and shut her eyes, and wave her ears, whilst the pigs was 
milking her, and look as happy as if she was on salary. And 
pretty soon you'd hear a loafer sing out, " Hi! so boy! sick 
him, Tige! " and away the sow would go, squealing most hor- 
rible, with a dog or two swinging to each ear, and three or 


four dozen more a-coming; and then you would see all the 
loafers get up and watch the thing out of sight, and laugh at 
the fun and look grateful for the noise. Then they'd settle 
back again till there was a dog-fight. There couldn't any- 
thing wake them up all over, and make them happy all over, 
like a dog-fight — unless it might be putting turpentine on a 
stray dog and setting fire to him, or tying a tin-pan to his tail 
and see him run himself to death. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was drunk, and weaving about in his saddle; he was 
over fifty year old, and had a very red face. Everybody 
yelled at him, and laughed at him, and sassed him, and he 


sassed back, and said he'd attend to them and lay them out 
in their regular turns, but he couldn't wait now, because he'd 
come to town to kill old Colonel Sherburn, and his motto was, 
*' meat first, and spoon vittles to top off on." 

He see me, and rode up and says — 

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

Then he rode on. I was scared; but a man says — 

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

Boggs rode up before the biggest store in town and bent 
his head down so he could see under the curtain of the awn- 
ing, and yells — 

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

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

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

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


street he would tear again, and give Sherburn another cussing. 
By-and-by somebody says — 

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

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

'< Boggs!" 

I looked over there to see who said it, and it was that 
Colonel Sherburn. He was standing perfectly still, in the 
street, and had a pistol raised in his right hand — not aiming 
it, but holding it out with the barrel tilted up towards the 
sky. The same second I see a young girl coming on the run, 
and two men with her. Boggs and the men turned round, to 
see who called him, and when they see the pistol the men 
jumped to one side, and the pistol barrel come down slow 
and steady to a level — both barrels cocked. Boggs throws 
up both of his hands, and says, *'0 Lord, don't shoot!" 
Bang! goes the first shot, and he staggers back clawing at the 
air — bang! goes the second one, and he tumbles backwards 
onto the ground, heavy and solid, with his arms spread out. 
That young girl screamed out, and comes rushing, and down 
she throws herself on her father, crying, and saying, " Oh, he's 
killed him, he's killed him!" The crowd closed up around 
them, and shouldered and jammed one another, with their 
necks stretched, trying to see, and people on the inside try- 
ing to shove them back, and shouting, *' Back, back! give him 
air, give him air! " 

Colonel Sherburn he tossed his pistol onto the ground, and 
turned around on his heels and walked oft*. 

They took Boggs to a little drug store, the crowd pressing 
around, just the same, and the whole town following, and I 
rushed and got a good place at the window, where I was close 
to him and could see in. They laid him on the floor, and 
put one large Bible under his head, and opened another one 


and spread it on his breast — but they tore open his shirt first, 
and I seen where one of the bullets went in. He made about 
a dozen long gasps, his breast lifting the Bible up when he 
drawed in his breath, and letting it down again when he 
breathed it out — and after that he laid still; he was dead. 
'J1ien they pulled his daughter away from him, screaming and 
crying, and took her off. She was about sixteen, and very 
sweet and gentle-looking, but awful pale and scared. 

Well, pretty soon the whole town was there, squirming and 
scrouging and pushing and shoving to get at the window and 
have a look, but people that had the places wouldn't give 
them up, and folks behind them was saying all the time, 
"Say, now, you've looked enough, you fellows; 'taint right 
and 'taint fair, for you to stay thar all the time, and never 
give nobody a chance; other folks has their rights as well as 

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

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



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

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

Just then Sherburn steps out on to the roof of his little 
front porch, with a double-barrel gun in his hand, and takes 
his stand, perfectly ca'm and deliberate, not saying a word. 
The racket stopped, and the wave sucked back. 

Sherburn never said a word — just stood there, looking 
down. The stillness was awful creepy and uncomfortable. 
Sherburn run his eye slow along the crowd; and wherever it 
struck, the people tried a little to outgaze nim, but they 
couldn't; they dropped their eyes and looked sneaky. Then 
pretty soon Sherburn sort of laughed; not the pleasant kind, 
but the kind that makes you feel like when you are eating 
bread that's got sand in it. 

Then he says, slow and scornful: 

"The idea oi you lynching anybody! It's amusing. The 
idea of you thinking you had pluck enough to lynch a ma/i / 


Because you're brave enough to tar and feather poor friend- 
less cast-out women that come along here, did that make you 
think you had grit enough to lay your hands on a inan ? 
Why, a mans safe in the hands of ten thousand of your kind 
— as long as it's day-time and you're not behind him. 

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

*' So they always acquit; and then 2iinan goes in the night, 
with a hundred masked cowards at his back, and lynches the 
rascal. Your mistake is, that you didn't bring a man with 
you; that's one mistake, and the other is that you didn't 
come in the dark, and fetch your masks. You brought /^zr/ 
of a man — Buck Harkness, there — and if you hadn't had him 
to start you, you'd a taken it out in blowing. 

"You didn't want to come. The average man don't like 
trouble and danger. You don't like trouble and danger. 
But if only half a man — like Buck Harkness, there — shouts 
'Lynch him, lynch him!' you're afraid to back down — 
afraid you'll be found out to be what you are — cowards— di^^ 
so you raise a yell, and hang yourselves onto that half-a- 
man's coat tail, and come raging up here, swearing what big 
things you're going to do. The pitifulest thing out is a mob; 
that's what an army is — a mob; they don't fight with courage 
that's born in them, but with courage that's borrowed from 
their mass, and from their officers. But a mob without any 
man at the head of it, is be7ieath pitifulness. Now the thing 
iox you to do, is to droop your tails and go home and crawl in a 
hole. If any real lynching's going to be done, it will be done 
in the dark, Southern fashion; and when they come they'll 
bring their masks, and fetch a man along. Now leave — and 


take your half-a-man with you " — tossing his gun up across 
his left arm and cocking it, when he says this. 

The crowd washed back sudden, and then broke all apart 
and went tearing off every which way, and Buck Harkness 
he heeled it after them, looking tolerable cheap. I could a 
staid, if I'd a wanted to, but I didn't want to. 

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

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

And then faster and faster they went, all of them dancing, 
first one foot stuck out in the air and then the other, the 
horses leaning more and more, and the ring-master going 
round and round the centre-pole, cracking his whip and 
shouting "hi! — hi!" and the clown cracking jokes behind 
him; and by-and-by all hands dropped the reins, and every 
lady put her knuckles on her hips and every gentleman fold- 
ed his arms, and then how the horses did lean over and hump 
themselves! And so, one after the other they all skipped off 
into the ring, and made the sweetest bow I ever see, and then 


scampered out, and everyl)ody clapped their hands and went 
jnst about wild. 

Well, all through the circus they done the most astonish- 
ing things: and all the time that clown carried on so it most 
killed the people. The ring-master couldn't ever say a word 
to him but he was back at him quick as a wink with the 
funniest things a body ever said; and how he ever could think 
of so many of them, and so sudden and so pat, was what I 
couldn't noway understand. Why, I couldn't a thought of 
them in a year. And by-and-by a drunk man tried to get 
into the ring — said he wanted to ride; said he could ride as 
well as anybody that ever was. They argued and tried to 
keep him out, but he wouldn't listen, and the whole show 
come to a stand still. Then the people begun to holler at 
him and make fun of him, and that made him mad, and he 
begun to rip and tear; so that stirred up the people, and a 
lot of men begun to pile down off of the benches and swarm 
towards the ring, saying, " Knock him down! throw him out! " 
and one or two women begun to scream. So, then, the ring- 
master he made a little speech, and said he hoped there 
wouldn't be no disturbance, and if the man would promise 
he wouldn't make no more trouble, he would let him ride, if 
he thought he could stay on the horse. So everybody laugh- 
ed and said all right, and the man got on. The minute 
he was on, the horse begun to rip and tear and jump and 
cavort around, with two circus men hanging onto his bridle 
trying to hold him, and the drunk man hanging onto his 
neck, and his heels flying in the air every jump, and the 
whole crowd of people standing up shouting and laughing till 
the tears rolled down. And at last, sure enough, all the cir- 
cus men could do, the horse broke loose, and away he went 
like the very nation, round and round the ring, with that sot 
laying down on him and hanging to his neck, with first one leg 
hanging most to the ground on one side, and then t'other one 
on t'other side, and the people just crazy. It warn't funny to 
me, though; I was all of a tremble to see his danger. But 
pretty soon he struggled up astraddle and grabbed the bridle, 
a-reeling this way and that; and the next minute he sprung 
up and dropped the bridle and stood! and the horse agoing 
like a house afire too. He just stood up there, a-sailing 
around as easy and comfortable as if he warn't ever drunk 



ill his life — and then he begun to pull off his clothes and 
sling them. He shed them so thick they kind of clogged up 
the air, and altogether he shed seventeen suits. And then, 
there he was, slim and handsome, and dressed the gaudiest 
and prettiest you ever saw, and he lit into that horse with his 
whip and made him fairly hum — and finally skipped off, and 
made his bow and danced off to the dressing-room, and every- 
body just a-howling with pleasure and astonishment. 

Then the ring-master he see how he had been fooled, and 
he was the sickest ring-master you ever see, I reckon. Why, 
it was one of his own men! He had got up that joke all out 

W^^ ' 


of his own head, and never let on to nobody. Well, I felt 
sheepish enough, to be took in so, but I wouldn't a been in 
that ring-master's place, not for a thousand dollars. I don't 
know; there may be bullier circuses than what that one was, 
but I never struck them yet. Anyways it was plenty good 
enough for me; and wherever I run across it, it can have all 
of 7?iy custom, every time. 

Well, that night we had our show; but there warn't only 
about twelve people there; just enough to pay expenses. 
And they laughed all the time, and that made the duke mad; 


and everybody left, any way, before the show was over, but 
one boy which was asleep. So the duke said these Arkan- 
saw lunkheads couldn't come up to Shakspeare; what they 
wanted was low comedy — and may be something ruther 
worse than low comedy, he reckoned. He said he could size 
their style. So next morning he got some big sheets of 
wrapping-paper and some black paint, and drawed off some 
handbills and stuck them up all over the village. The bills 
said : 



The World- Renowtied Tragedians 



Of The London and Continental 

In their Thrilling Tragedy of 




Admission 50 cents. 

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


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



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

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

Twenty people sings out: 

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

The duke says yes. Then there was a fine time. Every- 


body sings out "sold," and rose up mad, and was agoing for 
that stage and tliem tragedians. But a big fine-looking man 
jumps up on a bench, and shouts: 

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

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

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

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

I done it, and he done the same. We struck the raft at 
the same time, and in less than two seconds we was gliding 
down stream, all dark and still, and edging towards the mid- 
dle of the river, nobody saying a word. I reckoned the poor 


king was in for a gaudy time of it with the audience; but 
nothing of the sort: pretty soon he crawls out from under the 
wigwam, and says: 

" Well, how'd the old thing pan out this time, Duke? " — 
He hadn't been up town at all. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Why don't it, Huck?" 

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

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

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

"Is dat so?" 

"You read about them once — you'll see. Look at Henry 
the Eight; this 'n 's a Sunday-School Superintendent to hi/n. 
And look at Charles Second, and Louis Fourteen, and Louis 
Fifteen, and James Second, and Edward Second, and Richard 
Third, and forty more; besides all them Saxon heptarchies 
that used to rip around so in old times and raise Cain, My, 
you ought to seen old Henry the Eight when he was in bloom. 
He ^t'^zj- a blossom. He used to marry a new wife every day, 
and chop off her head next morning. And he would do it 
just as indifferent as if he was ordering up eggs. 'Fetch up 


Nell Gwynn/ he says. They fetch her up. Next morning, 
' Chop off her head! ' And they chop it off. * Fetch up Jane 
Shore,' he says; and up she comes. Next morning 'Chop 
off her head ' — and they chop it off. ' Ring up Fair Rosa- 
mun.' Fair Rosamun answers the bell. Next morning, 
' Chop off her head.' And he made every one of them tell 
him a tale every night; and he kept that up till he had hogged 
a thousand and one tales that way, and then he put them all 
in a book, and called it Domesday Book — which was a good 
name and stated the case. You don't know kings, Jim, but 
I know them; and this old rip of ourn is one of the cleanest 
I've struck in history. Well, Henry he takes a notion he 
wants to get up some trouble with this country. How does 
he go at it — give notice ? — give the country a show ? No. 
All of a sudden he heaves all the tea in Boston Harbor over- 
board, and whacks out a declaration of independence, and 
dares them to come on. That was his style — he never give 
anybody a chance. He had suspicions of his father, the 
Duke of Wellington. Well, what did he do ? Ask him to 
show up ? No — drownded him in a butt of mamsey, like a cat. 
Spose people left money laying around where he was — what 
did he do ? He collared it. Spose he contracted to do a 
thing; and you paid him, and didn't set down there and see 
that he done it — what did he do ? He always done the other 
thing. Spose he opened his mouth — what then ? If he 
didn't shut it up powerful quick, he'd lose a lie every time. 
That's the kind of a bug Henry was; and if we'd a had him 
along 'stead of our kings, he'd a fooled that town a heap worse 
than ourn done. I don't say that ourn is lambs, because 
they ain't, when you come right down to the cold facts; but 
they ain't nothing to that old ram, anyway. All I say is, 
kings is kings, and you got to make allowances. Take them 
all around, they're a mighty ornery lot. It's the way they're 

"■ But dis one do smell so like de nation, Huck." 
'' Well, they all do, Jim. We can't help the way a king 
smells; history don't tell no way." 

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

"Yes, a duke's different. But not very different. This 

one's a middling hard lot, for a duke. When he's drunk, 

there ain't no near-sighted man could tell him from a king." 


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

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

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

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

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

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

" Shet de do'.' 

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

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

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

" ' I lay I make you mine! ' 

" En wid dat I fetch' her a slap side de head dat sont her 
a-sprawlin'. Den I went into de yuther room, en 'uz gone 
'bout ten minutes; en when I come back, dah was dat 



do' a-stannin' openj//, en dat chile stannin' mos' right in it, 
a-lookin' down and mournin', en de tears runnin' down. My, 
but I 7VUZ mad, I was agwyne for de chile, but jis' den — it 
was a do' dat open innerds — jis' den, 'long come de wind en 
slam it to, behine de chile, ktx-blafnf — en my Ian', de chile 
never move'! My breff mos' hop outer me; en I feel so — so 
— I doan' know himt I feel. I crope out, all a-tremblin', en 
crope aroun' en open de do' easy en slow, en poke my head 
in behine de chile, sof en still, en all uv a sudden, I says 
powf jis' as loud as I could yell. She never budge! Oh, 
Huck, I bust out a-cryin' en grab her up in my arms, en say, 
'Oh, de po' little thing! de Lord God Amighty fogive po' 
ole Jim, kaze he never gwyne to fogive hisself as long's he 
live! ' Oh, she was plumb deef en dumb, Huck, plumb deef 
en dumb — en I'd ben a-treat'n her so! " 



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

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

Sick Arab — but harmless when not out of his head. 

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

These rapscallions wanted to try the Nonesuch again, be- 


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

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

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

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

" For the steamboat; going to Orleans." 

"Git aboard," says the king. ''Hold on a minute, my 
servant '11 he'p you with them bags. Jump out and he'p the 
gentleman, Adolphus "—meaning me, I see. 

I done so, and then we all three started on again. The 
young chap was mighty thankful; said it was tough work tot- 


ing his baggage such weather. He asked the king where he 
was going, and the king told him he'd come down the river 
and landed at the other village this morning, and now he was 
going up a few mile to see an old friend on a farm up there. 
The young fellow says: 

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

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

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

" Did anybody send 'em word ? " 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<' Well, they could be worse off. Old Peter had friends, 
and they ain't going to let them come to no harm. There's 
Hobs on, the Babtis' preacher; and Deacon Lot Hovey, and 
Ben Rucker, and Abner Shackleford, and Levi Bell, the law- 
yer; and Dr. Robinson, and their wives, and the widow Bart- 
ley, and — well, there's a lot of them; but these are the ones 
that Peter was thickest with, and used to write about some- 
times, when he wrote home; so Harvey '11 know where to 
look for friends when he gets here." 

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

''What did you want to walk all the way up to the steam- 
boat for?" 

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

'' Was Peter Wilks well off ? " 

" Oh, yes, pretty well off. He had houses and land, and 



it's reckoned he left three or four thousand m cash hid up 

"When did you say he died?" 

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

" Funeral to-morrow, likely ? " 

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


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

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

When we struck the boat, she was about done loading, and 

pretty soon she got off. The king never said nothing about 


going aboard, so 1 lost my ride, after all. When the boat 
was gone, the king made me paddle up another mile to a 
lonesome place, and then he got ashore, and says: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sudden as winking, the ornery old cretur went all to smash, 




and fell np against the man, and put his chin on his shoulder, 
and cried down his back, and says: 

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

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

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



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

'' Is it them ? " 

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

"You bet it is." 

When we got to the house, the street in front of it was 
packed, and the three girls was standing in the door. Mary 
Jane 7uas red-headed, but that don't make no difference, she 
was most awful beautiful, and her face and her eyes was all 
lit up like glory, she was so glad her uncles was come. The 
king he spread his arms, and Mary Jane she jumped for them, 
and the hare-lip jumped for the duke, and there they had it! 
Everybody most, leastways women, cried for joy to see them 
meet again at last and have such good times. 

Then the king he hunched the duke private — I see him do 
it — and then he looked around and see the coffin, over in the 
corner on two chairs; so then, him and the duke, with a hand 
across each other's sl^oulder, and t'other hand to their eyes, 
walked slow and solemn over there, everybody dropping back 
to give them room, and all the talk and noise stopping, people 
saying ''Sh!" and all the men taking their hats off and 
drooping their heads, so you could a heard a pin fall. And 
where they got there, they bent over and looked in the coffin, 
and took one sight, and then they bust out a crying so you 
could a heard them to Orleans, most; and then they put their 
arms around each other's necks, and hung their chins over 
each other's shoulders; and then for three minutes, or maybe 


four, I never see two men leak the way they done. And 
mind you, everybody was doing the same; and the place was 
that damp I never see anything like it. Then one of them 
got on one side of the coffin, and t'other on t'other side, and 
they kneeled down and rested their foreheads on the coffin, 
and let on to pray all to theirselves. Well, w'hen it come to 
that, it worked the crowd like you never see anything like it, 
and so everybody broke down and went to sobbing right out 
loud — the poor girls, too; and every woman, nearly, went up 
to the girls, without saying a word, and kissed them, solemn, 
on the forehead, and then put their hand on their head, and 
looked up towards the sky, with the tears running down, and 
then busted out and went off 'sobbing and swabbing, and give 
the next woman a show. J. never see anything so disgusting. 

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

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

Then the king begins to work his jaw again, and says how 
him and his nieces would be glad if a few of the main princi- 
pal friends of the family would take supper here with them 
this evening, and help set up with the ashes of the diseased; 
and says if his poor brother laying yonder could speak, he 
knows who he would name, for they was names that was very 
dear to him, and mentioned often in his letters; and so he will 
name the same, to-wit, as follows, vizz: — Rev. Mr. Hobson, 


ami Deacon Lot Hovey, antl Mr. Ben Rucker, and Abner 
Shackleford, and Levi Bell, and Dr. Robinson, and their 
wives, and the widow Bartley. 

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

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

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

'*0h, this ain't bully, nor noth'n! Oh, no, I reckon not! 
Why, Biljy, it beats the Nonesuch, ^^;2'/ it!" 

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

''It ain't no use talkin'; bein' brothers to a rich dead man, 


and representatives of f urrin heirs that's got left, is the line for 
you and me, Bilge. Thish-yer comes of trust'n to Provi- 
dence. It's the best way, in the long run. I've tried 'em 
all, and ther' aint no better way." 

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

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

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

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

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

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

" It's a most amaz'n' good idea, duke — you have got a rat- 
tlin' clever head on you," says the king. " Blest if the old 
Nonesuch ain't a heppin' us out agin" — and he begun to 
haul out yaller-jackets and stack them up. 

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

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

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

When we got up stairs, everybody gethered around the 
table, and the king he counted it and stacked it up, three 
hundred dollars in a pile — twenty elegant little piles. Every- 


body looked hungry at it, and licked their chops. Then they 
raked it into the bag again, and I see the king begin to swell 
himself up for another speech. He says: 

" Friends all, my poor brother that lays yonder, has done 
generous by them that's left behind in the vale of sorrers. 
He has done generous by these-yer poor little lambs that he 
loved and sheltered, and that's left fatherless and motherless. 
Yes, and we that knowed him, knows that he would a done 
mo/r generous by 'em if he hadn't ben afeard o' woundin' 
his dear William and me. Now, w o 111(1)1 t he ? Ther' ain't 
no question 'bout it, in my mind. Well, then — what kind o' 
brothers would it be, that 'd stand in his way at sech a time ? 
And what kind o' uncles would it be that 'd rob — yes, rob — 
sech poor sweet lambs as these 'at he loved so, at sech a 
time ? If I know William — and I ihi?ik I do — he — well I'll 
jest ask him." He turns around and begins to make a lot of 
signs to the duke with his hands; and the duke he looks at 
him stupid and leather-headed a while, then all of a sudden 
he seems to catch his meaning, and jumps for the king, goo- 
gooing with all his might for joy, and hugs him about fifteen 
times before he lets up. Then the king says, '•'■ I knowed it; 
I reckon that '11 convince anybody the way he feels about it. 
Here, Mary Jane, Susan, Joanner, take the money — take it 
all. It's the gift of him that lays yonder, cold but joyful." 

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

*' You dear good souls! — how lovely I — how could you! " 

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

'^ — they bein' partickler friends o' the diseased. That's 
why they're invited here this evenin'; but to-morrow we want 
all to come — everybody; for he respected everybody, he 


liked everybody, and so it's fitten that his funeral orgies sh'd 
be public." 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" /f it my poor brother's dear good friend and physician ? 
I " 

"Keep your hands off of me!" says the doctor. ^'- You 
talk like an Englishman — dont you ? It's the worst imitation 
I ever heard. You Peter Wilks' s brother. You're a fraud, 
that's what you are! " 

Well, how they all took on! They crowded around the 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

'' Did you ever see the king?" 

" Who ? William Fourth ? Well, I bet I have — he goes 

'^>' V 


to our church." I knowed he was dead years ago, but I 
never let on. So when I says he goes to our church, she says: 

<' What— regular ? " 

'' Yes — regular. His pew's right over opposite ourn — on 
'tother side the pulpit." 

" I thought he lived in London ? " 


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

" But I thought 7^7/^ lived in Sheffield ? " 

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

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

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

"Well, who said it was?" 

"Why, you did.'* 

'' I didtit, nuther." 

"You did!" 

" I didn't." 

"You did." 

** I never said nothing of the kind." 

*• Well, what did you say, then ? " 

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

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

** Looky here," I says; ** did you ever see any Congress 


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

''Why, no." 

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

'' How does he get it, then ? " 

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

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

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

" Do you go to church, too ? " 

" Yes — regular." 

"Where do you set ?" 

" Why, in our pew." 


'' Whose pew ? " 

" Why, ourn — your Uncle Harvey's." 

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

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

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

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

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

" Why, what do they want with more ?" 

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

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

*' Shucks, they don't all of *em preach the same day — only 
07ie of 'em." 

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

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

" Well, then, what are they for ? " 

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

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

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

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

" Oh, just listen! A body could tell you hain't ever been 
to England, by that. Why, Hare-1 — why, Joanna, they never 
see a holiday from year's end to year's end; never go to the 
circus, nor theatre, nor nigger shows, nor nowheres." 

'' Nor church ? " 

" Nor church." 

'^But you always went to church." 

Well, I was gone up again. I forgot I was the old man's 
servant. But next minute I whirled in on a kind of an ex- 
planation how a valley was different from a common servant 


and had to go to church whether he wanted to or not, and set 
with the family, on account of its being the law. But I didn't 
do it pretty good, and when I got done I see she warn't satis- 
fied. She says: 

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

'■'■ Honest injun," says I. 

''None of it at all?" 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" Why, Maim, he said " 

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

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

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

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

Then Mary Jane she took another inning, and went in 

iqS the adventures of 

sweet and lovely again — which was her way — but when she 
got done there warn't hardly anything left o' poor Hare-lip. 
So she hollered. 

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

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

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

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

So, thinks I, I'll go and search them rooms. Up stairs the 
hall was dark, but I found the duke's room, and started to 
paw around it with my hands; but I recollected it wouldn't 
be much like the king to let anybody else take care of that 
money but his own self; so then I went to his room and be- 
gun to paw around there. But I see I couldn't do nothing 
without a candle, and I dasn't light one, of course. So I 


judged I'd got to do the other thing — lay for them, and eaves- 
drop. About that time, I hears their footsteps coming, and 
was going to skip under the bed; I reached for it, but it 
wasn't where I thought it would be; but I touched the curtain 
that hid Mary Jane's frocks, so I jumped m behind that and 
snuggled in amongst the gowns, and stood there perfectly still. 

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

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

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

"What is it, duke?" 

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

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

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

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

"Why, how you talk!" says the king. "We shan't rob 
'em of nothing at all but jest this money. The people that 
buys\)ci& property is the suff'rers; because as soon's it's found 
out 'at we didn't own it — which won't be long after we've slid 
— the sale won't be valid, and it'll all go back to the estate. 
These-yer orphans '11 git their house back agin, and that's 
enough for the7nj they're young and spry, and k'n easy earn 


a livin'. They ain't agoing to suffer. Why, jest think — 
there's thous'n's and thous'n's that ain't nigh so well off. Bless 
you, they ain't got noth'n to complain of." 

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

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

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

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

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


" Because Mary Jane '11 be in mourning from this out; and 
first you know the nigger that does up the rooms will get an 
order to box these duds up and put 'em away; and do you 
reckon a nigger can run across money and not borrow some 
of it?" 

''Your head's level, agin, duke," says the king; and he 
come a fumbling under the curtain two or three foot from 
where 1 was. I stuck tight to the wall, and kept mighty still, 
though quivery; and I wondered what them fellows would 
say to me if they catched me; and I tried to think what I'd 
better do if they did catch me. But the king he got the bag 
before I could think more than about a half a thought, and 
he never suspicioned I was around. They took and shoved 
the bag through a rip in the straw tick that was under the 
feather bed, and crammed it in a foot or two amongst the 
straw and said it was all right, now, because a nigger only 
makes up the feather bed, and don't turn over the straw tick 
only about twice a year, and so it warn't in no danger of get- 
ting stole, now. 

But I knowed better. I had it out of there before they was 
half-way down stairs. I groped along up to my cubby, and 
hid it there till I could get a chance to do better. I judged 
I better hide it outside of the house somewheres, because if 
they missed it they would give the house a good ransacking. 
I knowed that very well. Then I turned in, with my clothes 
all on; but I couldn't a gone to sleep, if I'd a wanted to, I was 


20 1 

in such a sweat to get through with the business. By-and-by 
I heard the king and the duke come up; so I rolled otf of my 
pallet and laid with my chin at the top of my ladder and 
waited to see if anything was going to happen. But nothing 

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

(, -V 





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

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

I slipped up to bed, feeling ruther blue, on accounts of the 
thing playing out that way after I had took so miuch trouble 
and run so much resk about it. Says I, if it could stay where 
it is, all right ; because when we get down the river a hun- 
dred mile or two, I could write back to Mary Jane, and she 
could dig him up again and get it ; but that ain't the thing 
that's going to happen ; the thing that's going to happen is, 
the money '11 be found when they come to screw on the lid. 


Then the king '11 get it again, and it '11 be a long day before 
he gives anybody another chance to smouch it from him. Of 
course I wafited to slide down and get it out of there, but I 
dasn't try it. Every minute it was getting earlier, now, and 
pretty soon some of them watchers would begin to stir, and 
I might get catched — catched with six thousand dollars in 
my hands that nobody hadn't hired me to take care of. I 
don't wish to be mixed up in no such business as that, I says 
to myself. 

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

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

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

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


They had borrowed a melodeum — a sick one ; and when 
everything was ready, a young woman set down and worked 
it, and it was pretty skreeky and colicky, and everybody join- 
ed in and sung, and Peter was the only one that had a good 
thing, according to my notion. Then the Reverend Hobson 
opened up, slow and solemn, and begun to talk; and straight 
off the most outrageous row busted out in the cellar a body 
ever heard ; it was only one dog, but he made a most pow- 
erful racket, and he kept it up, right along ; the parson he 
had to stand there, over the coffin, and wait — you couldn't 
hear yourself think. It was right down awkward, and no- 
body didn't seem to know what to do. But pretty soon they 
see that long-legged undertaker make a sign to the preacher 
as much as to say, '' Don't you worry — just depend on me." 
Then he stooped down and begun to glide along the wall, 
just his shoulders showing over the people's heads. So he 
glided along, and the pow-wow and racket getting more and 
more outrageous all the time ; and at last, when he had gone 
around two sides of the room, he disappears down cellar. 
Then, in about two seconds we heard a whack, and the dog 
he finished up with a most amazing howl or two, and then 
everything was dead still, and the parson begun his solemn 
talk where he left off. In a minute or two here comes this 
undertaker's back and shoulders gliding along the wall again ; 
and so he glided, and glided, around three sides of the room, 
and then rose up, and shaded his mouth with his hands, and 
stretched his neck out towards the preacher, over the peo- 
ple's heads, and says, in a kind of a coarse whisper, ^'' He 
had a rat !" Then he drooped down and glided along the 
wall again to his place. You could see it was a great satis- 
faction to the people, because naturally they wanted to know. 
A little thing like that don't cost nothing, and it's just the 
little things that makes a man to be looked up to and liked. 
There warn't no more popular man in town than what that 
undertaker was. 

Well, the funeral sermon was very good, but pison long 
and tiresome ; and then the king he shoved in and got off 
some of his usual rubbage, and at last the job was through, 
and the undertaker begun to sneak up on the coffin with his 
screw-driver. I was in a sweat then, and w^atched him pretty 
keen. But he never meddled at all ; just slid the lid along, 


as soft as mush, and screwed it down tight and fast. So there 
I was ! I didn't know whether the money was in there, or 
not. So, says I, spose somebody has hogged that bag on the 
sly ? — now how do / know whether to write to Mary Jane or 
not? 'Spose she dug him up and didn't find nothing — what 
would she think of me ? Blame it, I says, I might get hunted 
up and jailed ; I'd better lay low and keep dark, and not 
write at all ; the thing's awful mixed, now ; trying to better 
it, I've worsened it a hundred times, and I wish to goodness 
I'd just let it alone, dad fetch the whole business ! 

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

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

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

So the next day after the funeral, along about noontime, 
the girls' joy got the first jolt ; a couple of nigger traders 
come along, and the king sold them the niggers reasonable, 
for three-day drafts as they called it, and away they went, 
the two sons up the river to Memphis, and their mother 
down the river to Orleans. I thought them poor girls and 


them niggers would break their hearts for grief ; they cried 
around each other, and took on so it most made me down 
sick to see it. The girls said they hadn't ever dreamed of 
seeing the family separated or sold away from the town. I 
can't ever get it out of my memory, the sight of them poor 
miserable girls and niggers hanging around each other's 
necks and crying ; and I reckon I couldn't a stood it all but 
would a had to bust out and tell on our gang if I hadn't 
knowed the sale warn't no account and the niggers would be 
back home in a week or two. 

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

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

*' Was you in my room night before last ? " 

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

" Was you in there yisterday er last night ? " 

'^ No, your majesty." 

'' Honor bright, now — no lies." 

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

The duke says : 

*' Have you seen anybody else go in there ? " 

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

" Stop and think." 

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

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

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

''What, «//of them?" 

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



*' Hello — when was that?" 

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

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

" They didn't do nothing. And they didn't act anyway, 
much, as fur as I see. They tip-toed away ; so I seen, easy 
enough, that they'd shoved in there to do up your majesty's 
room, or something, sposing you was up ; and found you 
wanit up, and so they was hoping to slide out of the way 


of trouble without waking you up, if they hadn't already 
waked you up." 

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

" It does beat all, how neat the niggers played their hand. 
They let on to be sorry they was going out of this region ! 
and I believed they zvas sorry. And so did you, and so did 
everybody. Don't ever tell me any more that a nigger ain't 
got any histrionic talent. Why, the way they played that 


thing, It would fool anybody. In my opinion there's ia fortune 
in 'em. If I had capital and a theatre, I wouldn't want a 
better lay out than that — and here we've gone and sold 'em 
for a song. Yes, and ain't privileged to sing the song, yet. 
Say, where is that song ? — that draft." 

'' In the bank for to be collected. Where 7vould it be ? " 

" Well, thafs all right then, thank goodness.'* 

Says I, kind of timid-like : 

" Is something gone wrong ? " 

The king whirls on me and rips out: 

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

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

"Quick sales ^;/^ small profits! It's a good business — yes." 

The king snarls around on him and says, 

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

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

The king sassed back, as much as was safe for him, and 
then swapped around and lit into 7ne again. He give me down 
the banks for not coming and telling him I see the niggers 
come out of his room acting that way — said any fool would 
a knoived something was up. And then waltzed in and cussed 
himself d. while; and said it all come of him not laying late 
and taking his natural rest that morning, and he'd be blamed 
if he'd ever do it again. So they went off a jawing; and I felt 
dreadful glad I'd worked it all off onto the niggers and yet 
hadn't done the niggers no harm by it. 



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

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

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

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

''But they will — and inside of two weeks — and I know\\.\^' 
says I. 

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

I see I had spoke too sudden, and said too much, and 
was in a close place. I asked her to let me think a minute; 
and she set there, very impatient and excited, and handsome, 
but looking kind of happy and eased-up, like a person that's 
had a tooth pulled out. So I went to studying it out. I says 
to myself, I reckon a body that ups and tells the truth when 
he is in a tight place, is taking considerable many resks, 
though I ain't had no experience, and can^t say for certain; 
but it looks so to me, anyway; and yet here's a case where 
I'm blest if it don't look to me like the truth is better, and 



actuly safer^ than a lie. I must lay it by in my mind, and 
think it over some time or other, it's so kind of strange and 
unregLilar. I never see nothing like it. Well, I says to my- 
self at last, I'm agoing to chance it; I'll up and tell the truth 
this time, though it does seem most like setting down on a 
kag of powder and touching it off just to see where you'll go 
to. Then I says: 

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

i< Yes— Mr. Lothrop's. Why ? " 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Says I: 

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


*' Oh," she says, "what am I thinkmg about! " she says, 
and set right down again. " Don't mind what I said — please 
don't — you 7von't^ now, will yon ?" Laying her silky hand 
on mine in that kind of a way that I said I would die first. 
"I never thought, I was so stirred up," she says; *' now go 
on, and I won't do so any more. You tell me what to do, 
and whatever you say, I'll do it." 

*' Well," I says, ''it's a rough gang, them two frauds, and 
I'm fixed so I got to travel with them a while longer, whether 
I want to or not — I druther not tell you why — and if you was 
to blow on them this town would get me out of their claws, 
and /'d be all right, but there'd be another person that you 
don't know about who'd be in big trouble. Well, we got to 
save hi7n, hain't we ? Of course. Well, then, we won't blow 
on them." 

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

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

" A little short of four miles — right out in the country, back 

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

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

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

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


'' If I get away, I sha'n't be here," I says, *' to prove these 
rapscallions ain't your uncles, and I couldn't do it if I was 
here. I could swear they was beats and bummers, that's all; 
though that's worth something. Well, there's others can do 
that better than what I can — and they're people that ain't 
going to be doubted as quick as I'd be. I'll tell you how to 
find them. Gimme a pencil and a piece of paper. There — 
'' Royal None such J Bricksville' Put it away, and don't lose it. 
When the court wants to find out something about these two, 
let them send up to Bricksville and say they've got the men 
that played the Royal Nonesuch, and ask for some witnesses 
— why, you'll have that entire town down here before you can 
hardly wink, Miss Mary. And they'll come a-biling, too." 

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

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

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

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

" Why ? " 

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

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

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

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

<< Yes — never mind about them. They've got to stand it 


yet a while. They might suspicion something if all of you 
was to go. I don't want you to see them, nor your sisters, 
nor nobody in this town — if a neighbor was to ask how is your 
uncles this morning, your face would tell something. No, 
you go right along, Miss Mary Jane, and I'll fix it with all of 
them. I'll tell Miss Susan to give your love to your uncles 
and say you've went away for a few hours for to get a little 
rest and change, or to see a friend, and you'll be back to-night 
or early in the morning." 

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

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

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

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

''Why, who's got it?" 

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

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

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

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

"Oh, yes." 


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

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

^' Good-hyQ — I'm going to do everything just as you've told 
me; and if I don't ever see you again, I sha'n't ever forget 
you, and I'll think of you a many and a many a time, and 
V\\ pray for you, too!.'- — and she was gone. 

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

Well, Mary Jane she lit out the back way, I reckon; be- 
cause nobody see her go. When I struck Susan and the 
hare-lip, I says: 

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

They says: 

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

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

''Which one?" 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

" Mumps." 

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

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

"How's it a new kind ?" 

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

"What other things?" 

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

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

"That's what Miss Mary Jane said." 

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

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

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

" Is it ketching ? Why, how you talk. Is a ha7'ro7v catch- 
ing ? — in the dark ? If you don't hitch onto one tooth, you're 
bound to on another, ain't you? And you can't get away 
with that tooth without fetching the whole harrow along, can 
you ? Well, these kind of mumps is a kind of a harrow, as you 
may say — and it ain't no slouch of a harrow, nuther, you 
come to get it hitched on good." 

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


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

" Well, why wouldn't you ? " 

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

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

" Well, anyway, maybe you'd better tell some of the 

"Listen at that, now. You do beat all for natural stupid- 
ness. Can't you see that theyd go and tell ? Ther' ain't no 
way but just to not tell anybody at ^//." 

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

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

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

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

" Of course; bother them kind of names, a body can't ever 
seem to remember them, half the time, somehow. Yes, she 
said, say she has run over for to ask the Apthorps to be sure 
and come to the auction and buy this house, because she al- 
lowed her uncle Peter would ruther they had it than anybody 



else; and she's going to stick to them till they say they'll 
come, and then, if she ain't too tired, she's coming home; and 
if she is, she'll be home in the morning anyway. She said, 
don't say nothing about the Proctors, but only about the Ap- 
thorps — which'U be perfectly true, because she is going there 


to speak about their buying the house; I know it, because 
she told me so, herself." 

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


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

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

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

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



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

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

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


'^ Broke his arm — very likely ainl it ? — and very conven- 
ient, too, for a fraud that's got to make signs, and hain't 
learnt how. Lost their baggage! That's fnighty good\ — and 
mighty ingenious — under the circumstances ! " 

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

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

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

'' But what time o' day ? " 

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

" Howd you come ? " 

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

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

" I warn't up at the Pint in the mornin'." 

'' It's a lie." 

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

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

The doctor he up and says: 

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

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

It was me he pointed at. The doctor says: 

'' Neighbors, I don't know whether the new couple is 
frauds or not; but if these two ain't frauds, I am an idiot, 
that's all. I think it's our duty to see that they don't get 


away from here till we've looked into this thing. Come 
along, Hines; come along, the rest of you. We'll take these 
fellows to the tavern and affront them with t'other couple, 
and I reckon we'll find out so7?iethtng before we get through." 

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

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

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

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

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

'' Where is it, then ? " 

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

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


them. That was all they asked me. Then the doctor whirls 
on me and says: 

" Are you English too ?" 

I says yes; and him and some others laughed, and said, 

Well, then they sailed in on the general investigation, and 
there we had it, up and down, hour in, hour out, and nobody 
never said a word about supper, nor ever seemed to think 
about it — and so they kept it up, and kept it up; and it 7c>as 
the worst mixed-up thing you ever see. They made the king 
tell his yarn, and they made the old gentleman tell his'n; 
and anybody but a lot of prejudiced chuckleheads would a 
sec/i that the old gentleman was spinning truth and t'other 
one lies. And by-and-by they had me up to tell what I 
knowed. The king he give me a left-handed look out of the 
corner of his eye, and so I knowed enough to talk on the 
right side. I begun to tell about Sheffield, and how we lived 
there, and all about the English Wilkses, and so on; but 1 
didn't get pretty fur till the doctor begun to laugh; and Levi 
Bell, the lawyer, says: 

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

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

The doctor he started to say something, and turns and 

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

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

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

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

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

So they got some paper and a pen, and the king he set 
down and twisted his head to one side, and chawed his tongue, 
and scrawled off something; and then they give the pen to 


the duke — and then for the first time, the duke looked sick. 
But he took the pen and wrote. So then the lawyer turns to 
the new old gentleman and says: 

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

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

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

The new old gentleman says: 

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

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

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

The lawyer done it, and says: 

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

Well, what do you think? — that muleheaded old fool 
wouldn't give in then I Indeed he wouldn't. Said it warn't 
no fair test. Said his brother William was the cussedest 
joker in the world, and hadn't tried to write — he see William 
was going to play one of his jokes the minute he put the pen to 
paper. And so he warmed up and went warbling right along, 


till he was actuly beginning to believe what he was saying 
himself — but pretty soon the new old gentleman broke in, 
and says: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both of them spoke up and says: 

<' We didn't see no such mark." 

♦' Good! " says the old gentleman. " Now, what you did 
see on his breast was a small dim P, and a B (which is an 



initial he dropped when he was young), and a W, with dashes 
between them, so; P — B — W" — and he marked them that 
way on a piece of paper. "Come — ain't that what you 
saw ? " 

Both of them spoke up again, and says: 
*' No, we didnt. We never seen any marks at all." 
Well, everybody was in a state of mind, now; and they 
sings out: 


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

'* Gentlemen — gentle;;z<??z/ Hear me just a word — just a 
single word — if you please! There's one way yet — let's go 
and dig up the corpse and look." 


That took them. 

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

" Hold on, hold on! Collar all these four men and the boy, 
and fetch the7ti along, too! " 

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

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

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

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

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

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

So they dug and dug, like everything; and it got awful 


dark, and the rain started, and the wind swished and swushed 
along, and the lightning come brisker and brisker, and the 
thunder boomed; but them people never took no notice of it, 
they was so full of this business; and one minute you could 
see everything and every face in that big crowd, and the 
shovelfuls of dirt sailing up out of the grave, and the next 
second the dark wiped it all out, and you couldn't see noth- 
ing at all. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

The minute I was far enough above the town to see I could 
make the tow-head, I begun to look sharp for a boat to bor- 
row; and the first time the lightning showed me one that 
wasn't chained, I snatched it and shoved. It was a canoe. 


and warn't fastened with nothing but a rope. The towhead 
was a rattling big distance off, away out there in the middle 
of the river, but I didn't lose no time; and when I struck the 
raft at last, I w^as so fagged I would a just laid down to blow 
and gasp if I could afforded it. But I didn't. As I sprung 
aboard I sung out: 

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

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

*' Not now — have it for breakfast, have it for breakfast! Cut 
loose and let her slide! " 

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

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



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

" Try in' 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 li^as your idea, or I'll shake 
the insides out o' you! " 

" Honest, I'll tell you everything, just as it happened, your 
majesty. The man that had aholt of me was very good to 
me, and kept saying he had a boy about as big as me that 
died last year, and he was sorry to see a boy in such a dan- 
gerous 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 vie to stay — / 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 j<?z^ a done any 
different ? Did you inquire around for him^ when you got 
loose ? /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 j'^z/rj^//" 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 com- 


ing out so cool and cheeky with that imaginary blue-arrow 
mark. That ivas 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 luear, too — longer than ive' 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 — / did." 

The duke says, the same way: 

"On the contrary — /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 /don't 
know — maybe you was asleep, and didn't know what you was 

The duke bristles right up, now, and says: 

'' Oh, let t(p on this cussed nonsense — do you take me for 
a blame' fool ? Don't you reckon /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 

" Take y'r hands off! — leggo my throat! — I take it all back!" 

The duke says: 

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

"Wait jest a minute, duke — answer me this one question. 



honest and fair; if you didn't put the money there, say it, 
and I'll b'lieve you, and take back everything I said." 

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

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

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

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


" I wisht I may never die if I done it, duke, and that's hon- 
est. I won't say I warn't goi'n' to do it, because I 7C'as; but 
you — I mean somebody — got in ahead o' me." 

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

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

" 'No ugh! — 7 07cin up I " 

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 luell for 


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

The king says, timid, and still a snuffling: 

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

" Dry up! I don't want to hear no more out of you! " says 
the duke. *' And now you see what you got by it. They've 
got all their own money back, and all of ou7'n but a shekel or 
two, besides. G'long to bed — and don't you deffersit ??ie no 
more deffersits, long 's you live! " 

So the king sneaked into the wigwam, and took to his bot- 
tle 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 power- 
ful mellow, but I noticed the king didn't get mellow enough 
to forget to remember to not deny about hiding the money- 
bag again. That made me feel easy and satisfied. Of course 
when they got to snoring, we had a long gabble, and I told 
Jim everything. 



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

First they done a lecture on temperance; but they didn't 
make enough for them both to get drunk on. Then in another 
village they started a dancing school ; but they didn't know 
no more how to dance than a kangaroo does; so the first 
prance they made, the general public jumped in and pranced 
them out of town. Another time they tried a go at yellocu- 
tion; 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 morn- 
ing we hid the raft in a good safe place about two mile below 
a little bit of a shabby village, named Pikesville, and the kmg 
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 
7nean,'' says I to myself; "and when you get through robbing 
it you'll come back here and wonder what's become of me 
and Jim and the raft — and you'll have to take it out in won- 
dering.") And he said if he warn't back by midday, the duke 
and me would know it was all right, and we was to come along. 

So we staid where we was. The duke he fretted and sweated 
around, and was in a mighty sour way. He scolded us for 
everything, and we couldn't seem to do nothing right; he 
found fault with every little thing. Something was 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 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: 



'' Wherebouts ?" says I. 

" Down to Silas Phelps's place, two mile below here. He's a 
runawaynigger, 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 /could a had it if I'd been big enough; 
I see him first. Who nailed him ? " 

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

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

" But it is, though — straight as a string. I see the handbill 
myself. It tells all about him, to a dot — paints him like a 
picture, and tells the plantation he's frum, below Newr/<?^;/i-. 
No-sirree-^^*^, 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 noth- 
ing. 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 nig- 
ger, and they'd make Jim feel it all the time, and so he'd feel 
ornery and disgraced. And then think of me ! It would get 
all around, that Huck Finn helped a nigger to get his freedom; 
and if I was to ever see anybody from that town again, I'd 
be ready to get down and lick his boots for shame. That's 
just the way: a person does a low-down thing, and then he 
don't want to take no consequences of it. Thinks as long as 
he can hide, it 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 or- 
nery I got to feeling. And at last, when it hit me all of a 
sudden that here was the plain hand of Providence slapping 
me in the face and letting me know my wickedness was being 
watched all the time from up there in heaven, whilst I was 
stealing a poor old woman's nigger that hadn't ever done me 
no harm, and now was showing me there's One that's always 
on the lookout, and ain't agoing to allow no such miserable 
doings to go only just so fur and no further, I most dropped 
in my tracks I was so scared. Well, I tried the best I could 
to kinder soften it up somehow for myself, by saying I was 
brung up wicked, and so I warn't so much to blame; but 
something inside of me kept saying, " There was the Sunday 
school, you could a gone to it; and if you'd a done it they'd 
a learnt you, there, that people that acts as I'd been acting 
about that nigger goes to everlasting fire." 

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


So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn't 
know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I'll go 
and write the letter — and thtn 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 be- 
low Pikesville and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up 
for the reward if you send. Huck Finn. 

I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time 
I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. 
But I didn't do it straight off, but laid the paper down and 
set there thinking — thinking how good it was all this hap- 
pened 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 sing- 
ing, 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 call- 
ing 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 hap- 
pened 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 upwickedaess again, which was in my line, 


being brnng up to it, and the other warn't. And for a starter, 
I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again; and 
if I could think up anything worse, I would do that, too; 
because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well 
go the whole hog. 

Then I set to thinking over how to get at it, and turned 
over considerable many ways in my mind; and at last fixed 
up a plan that suited me. So then I took the bearings of a 
woody island that was down the river a piece, and as soon 
as it was fairly dark I crept out with my raft and went for it, 
and hid it there, and then turned in. I slept the night 
through, and got up before it was light, and had my break- 
fast, 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 per- 
formance — 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-/^ ./ Where'd you come from?" Then he says, 
kind of glad and eager, " Where's the raft ? — got her in a 
good place ? " 

I says: 

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

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

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


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

" Blamed if / 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 ras- 
cal has stole our raft and shook us, and run off down the 
river.' '* 

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

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

I had considerable money, so I give him ten cents, but 
begged him to spend it for something to eat, and give me 
some, because it was all the money I had, and I hadn't had 
nothing to eat since yesterday. He never said nothing. The 
next minute he whirls on me and says: 



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

" Well, you can't get your nigger, that's all — so dry up 
your blubbering. Looky here — do you think yoiid 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 wan't 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 fore- 
head. 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 won't, you'll start noiu; 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 tcs^ d'ye hear ? " 

That was the order I wanted, and that was the one I play- 
ed 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 docu- 
ments — leastways I've heard there's such down South here. 
And w^hen you tell him the handbill and the reward's bogus, 
maybe he'll believe you when you explain to him what the 
idea was for getting 'em out. Go 'long, now, and tell him 
anything you want to ; but mind you don't work your jaw 
any between here and there." 

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




WHEN I got there it was all still and Sunday-like, and 
hot and sunshiny — the hands was gone to the fields; 
and there was them kind of faint dronings of bugs and flies 
in the air that makes it seem so lonesome and like every- 
body's dead and gone; and if a breeze fans along and quiv- 
ers 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 jjw/. 
As a general thing it makes a body wish he was dead, too, 
and done with it all. 

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


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

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

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

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

And behind the woman comes a little nigger girl and two 
little nigger boys, without anything on but tow-linen shirts, 
and they hung onto their mother's gown, and peeped out 
from behind her at me, bashful, the way they always do. 
And here comes the white woman running from the house, 
about forty-five or fifty year old, bareheaded, and her spin- 
ning-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'^you, at last ! — at7i( it ? " 

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

She grabbed me and hugged me tight; and then gripped 
me by both hands and shook and shook ; and the tears come 
in her eyes, and run down over; and she couldn't seem to 


hug and shake enough, and kept saying, " You don't look as 
much like your mother as I reckoned you would, but law 
sakes, I don't care for that, I'm so glad to see you ! Dear, 
dear, it does seem like I could eat you up ! Childern, 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-bot- 
tomed chair, and set herself down on a little low stool in 
front of me, holding both of my hands, and says : 

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

" 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 for- 
get the name of the one we got aground on — or — Now I 
struck an idea, and fetched it out : 

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

" Good gracious ! anybody hurt ? " 

" No'm. Killed a nigger." 

" Well, it's lucky ; because sometimes people do get hurt. 
Two years ago last Christmas, your uncle Silas was coming 
up from Newrleans on the old Lally Rook^ and she blowed 
out a cylinder-head and crippled a man. And I think he 
died afterwards. He was a Babtist. Your uncle Silas knowed 
a family in Baton Rouge that knowed his people very well. 
Yes, I remember now, he did die. Mortification set in, and 


they had to amputate him. But it didn't save him. Yes, it 
was mortification — that was it. He turned blue all over, and 
died in the hope of a glorious resurrection. They say he 
was a sight to look at. Your uncle's been up to the town 
every day to fetch you. And he's gone again, not more'n 
an hour ago; he'll be back any minute, now. You must a 
met him on the road, didn't you ? — oldish man, with a " 

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

** Who'd you give the baggage to ? " 


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

"Not where /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 be- 
hind 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. Childern, don't you say a 

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

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

•' Has he come? " 

*' No," says her husband. 

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

"I can't imagine," says the old gentleman; '' and I must 
say, it makes me dreadful uneasy." 

" Uneasy ! " she says, " I'm ready to go distracted ! He 
musf a come; and you've missed him along the road. I know 
it's so — something fe//s me so." 

'' Why Sally, I couldnt miss him along the road — you know 

" But oh, dear, dear, what 7vill 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 coiild?i 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 gentle- 
man stared, and says : 

"Why, who's that?" 

" Who do you reckon 't is ? " 

'' 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 fam- 
ilies. And I explained all about how we blowed out a cyl- 
inder-head at the mouth of White River and it took us three 
days to fix it. Which was all right, and worked first rate; 
because they didn't know but what it would take three days 
to fix it. If I'd a called it a bolt-head it would a done just 
as well. 

Now I was feeling pretty comfortable all down one side, 
and pretty uncomfortable all up the other. Being Tom Saw- 
yer was easy and comfortable; and it stayed easy and com- 
fortable till by-and-by I hear a steamboat coughing along 
down the river — then I says to myself, spose Tom Sawyer 
comes down on that boat ? — and spose he steps in here, any 
minute, and sings out my name before I can throw him a 
wink to keep quiet ? Well, I couldn't have it that way — it 
wouldn't do at all. I must go up the road and waylay him. 
So I told the folks I reckoned I would go up to the town 
and fetch down my baggage. The old gentleman was for 
going along with me, but I said no, I could drive the horse 
myself, and I druther he wouldn't take no trouble about me. 



SO I started for town, in the wagon, and when I was half- 
way I see a wagon coming, and sure enough it was 
Tom Sawyer, and I stopped and waited till he come along. 
I says " Hold on ! " and it stopped alongside, and his mouth 
opened up like a trunk, and staid so; and he swallowed two 
or three times like a person that's got a dry throat, and then 
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 af 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 be- 
lieve 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 ad- 
venture, 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 Ji7?i — old Miss Watson's Jim." 

He says: 

''What! Why Jim is " 

He stopped and went to studying. I says: 

''/know what you'll say. You'll say it's dirty low-down 
business; but what if it is ? — /'m low down; and I'm agoing 
to steal him, and I want you to keep mum and not let on. 
Will you?" 

His eye lit up, and he says: 

" I'll help you steal him! " 

Well, I let go all holts then, like I was shot. It was the 
most astonishing speech I ever heard — and I'm bound to say 
Tom Sawyer fell, considerable, in my estimation. Only I 
couldn't believe it. Tom Sawyer a ?iigger 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 re- 
member that yoi/ don't know nothing about him, and /don't 
know nothing about him." 

Then we took the trunk and put it in my wagon, and he 
drove off his way, and I drove mine. But of course I forgot 
all about driving slow, on accounts of being glad and full of 
thinking; so I got home a heap too quick for that length of 
a trip. The old gentleman was at the door, and he says: 

"Why, this is wonderful. Who ever would a thought it 
was in that mare to do it. I wish we'd a timed her. And 
she hain't sweated a hair — not a hair. It's wonderful. 
Why, I wouldn't take a hundred dollars for that horse now; 
I wouldn't, honest; and yet I'd a sold her for fifteen before, 
and thought 'twas all she was worth." 

That's all he said. He was the innocentest, best old soul 
I ever see. But it warn't surprising; because he warn't only 


just a farmer, he was a preacher, too, and had a little one- 
horse log church down back of the plantation, which he built 
it himself at his own expense, for a church and school-house, 
and never charged nothing for his preaching, and it was 
worth it, too. There was plenty other farmer-preachers like 
that, and done the same way, down South. 

In about half an hour Tom's wagon drove up to the front 
stile, and Aunt Sally she see it through the window because 
it was only about fifty yards, and says: 

"Why, there's somebody come! I wonder who 'tis ? Why, 
I do believe it's a stranger. Jimmy " (that's one of the chil- 
dren), '' run and tell Lizetoput on another plate for dinner." 

Everybody made a rush for the front door, because, ol 
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 spin- 
ning up the road for the village, and we was all bunched in 
the front door. Tom had his store clothes on, and an 
audience — and that was always nuts for Tom Sawyer. In 
them circumstances it warn't no trouble to him to throw in 
an amount of style that was suitable. He warn't a boy to 
meeky along up that yard like a sheep; no, he come ca'm 
and important, like the ram. When he got afront of us, he 
lifts his hat ever so gracious and dainty, like it was the lid ot 
a box that had butterflies asleep in it and he didn't want to 
disturb them, and says: 

" Mr. Archibald Nichols, I presume?" 

"No, my boy," says the old gentleman, ^' I'm sorry to say 
't your driver has deceived you; Nichols's place is down a 
matter of three mile more. Come in, come in." 

Tom he took a look back over his shoulder, and says, 
" Too late — he's out of sight." 

'■'■ Yes, he's gone, my son, and you must come in and eat 
your dinner with us; and then we'll hitch up and take you 
down to Nichols's." 

"Oh, I ca7it 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 cant let you walk. And besides, I've al- 
ready told 'em to put on another plate, when I see you com- 
ing; 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 v/iped 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 /am? I've a 
good notion to take and — say, what do you mean by kissing 

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 

'' 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 

" I'm sorry, and I wani't expecting it. They told me to. 


They all told me to. They all said kiss her; and said she'll 
like it. They all said it — every one of them. }3ut 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-numskuU of 
creation before ever /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 {qx 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 b)^-and-by tag 
along and drop in and let on to be a stranger. But it was a 
mistake, Aunt Sally. This ain't no healthy place for a stranger 
to come." 

" No — not impudent whelps, Sid. You ought to had your 
jaws boxed; I hain't been so put out since I don't know when. 
But I don't care, I don't mind the terms — I'd be willing to 



stand a thousand such jokes to have you here. Well, to think 
of that performance! I don't deny it, I was most putrified 
with astonishment when you give me that smack." 

We had dinner out in that broad open passage betwixt the 
house and the kitchen; and there was things enough on that 
table for seven families — and all hot, too; none of your flabby 
tough meat that's laid in a cupboard in a damp cellar all 
night and tastes like a hunk of old cold cannibal in the morn- 
ing. 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 after- 
noon, 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 / 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 dumb 
out of the window and down the lightning-rod, and shoved 
for the town; for I didn't believe anybody was going to give 
the king and the duke a hint, and so, if I didn't hurry up and 
give them one they'd get into trouble sure. 


On the road Tom he told me all about how it was reckoned 
I was murdered, and how pap disappeared, pretty soon, and 
didn't come back no more, and what a stir there was when 
Jim run away; and I told Tom all about our Royal Nonesuch 
rapscallions, and as much of the raft-voyage as I had time to; 
and as we struck into the town and up through the middle of 
it — it was as much as half-after eight, then — here comes a 
raging rush of people, with torches, and an awful whooping 
and yelling, and banging tin pans and blowing horns; and we 
jumped to one side to let them go by; and as they went by, 
I see they had the king and the duke astraddle of a rail — that 


is, I knowed it 7vas 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 mon- 
strous 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 caft 
be awful cruel to one another. 

We see we was too late — couldn't do no good. We asked 
some stragglers about it, and they said everybody went to the 
show looking very innocent; and laid low and kept dark till 
the poor old king was in the middle of his cavortings on the 
stage; then somebody give a signal, and the house rose up 
and went for them. 

So we poked along back home, and I warn't feeling so brash 
as I was before, but kind of ornery, and humble, and to 
blame, some how — though /hadn't done nothing. But that's 
always the way; it don't make no difference whether you do 
right or wrong, a person's conscience ain't got no sense, and 
just goes for him anyway. If I had a yaller dog that didn't 
know no more than a person's conscience does, I would pison 
him. It takes up more room than all the rest of a person's 
insides, and yet ain't no good, nohow. Tom Sawyer he says 
the same. 



WE stopped talking, and got to thinking. By-and-by 
Tom says : 

*' Looky here, Huck, what fools we are, to not think of it 
before ! I bet I know where Jim is." 

'' No ! Where ? " 

*' In that hut down by the ash-hopper. Why, looky here. 
AVhen we was at dinner, didn't you see a nigger man go in 
there with some vittles ? " 


'' What did you think the vittles was for ? " 

** For a dog." 

" So 'd I. Well, it wasn't for a dog." 


" Because part of it was watermelon." 

" So it was — I noticed it. Well, it does beat all, that I 
never thought about a dog not eating w^atermelon. It shows 
how a body can see and don't see at the same time." 

" Well, the nigger unlocked the padlock when he went in, 
and he locked it again when he come out. He fetched uncle 
a key, about the time we got up from table — same key, I bet. 
Watermelon shows man, lock shows prisoner; and it ain't 
likely there's two prisoners on such a little plantation, and 
where the people's all so kind and good. Jim's the prisoner. 
All right — I'm glad we found it out detective fashion; I 
wouldn't give shucks for any other way. Now you work 
your mind and study out a plan to steal Jim, and I will study 
out one, too; and we'll take the one we like the best." 

What a head for just a boy to have ! If I had Tom Saw- 
yer'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 day-times 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 leath- 
er-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 couldnt 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 ^//^ start to tell him; but he 
shut me up, and says: 

'' Don't you reckon I know what I'm about ? Don't I gen- 
erly know what I'm about ?" 

'' Yes." 

" Didn't I say I was going to help steal the nigger ? 


'' [F^//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 /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, / 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 exam- 
ine 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 away that's a 
little more complicated than that^ Huck Finn." 

" Well then," I says, " how'U it do to saw him out, the 
way I done before I was murdered, that time ? " 

" That's more ///^^," he says. ''It's real mysterious, and 
troublesome, and good," he says; " but I bet we can find a 
way that's twice as long. There ain't no hurry; le's keep on 
looking around." 

Betwixt the hut and the fence, on the back side, was a 
lean-to, that joined the hut at the eaves, and was made out 
of plank. It was as long as the hut, but narrow — only about 
six foot wide. The door to it was at the south end, and was 
padlocked. Tom he went to the soap kettle, and searched 


around and fetched back the iron thing they lift the lid with; 
so he took it and prized out one of the staples. The chain 
fell down, and we opened the door and went in, and shut it, 
and struck a match, and see the shed was only built against 
the cabin and hadn't no connection with it; and there warn't 
no floor to the shed, nor nothing in it but some 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 leav- 
ing, 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 agoing 
to do. So Tom says: 

" What's the vittles for ? Going to feed the dogs ? " 

The nigger kind of smiled around graduly over his face, 
like when you heave a brickbat in a mud puddle, and he 
says : 


"Yes, Mars Sid, a dog. Cur'us dog, too. Does you want 
to go en look at 'im ? " 


I hunched Tom, and whispers: 

" You going, right here in the day-break ? That warn't the 

*' 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 Ian' ! ain' dat Misto Tom ? " 

I just knowed how it would be; I just expected it. /didn't 
know nothing to do; and if I had, I couldn't a done it; be- 
cause 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 7vho know us ? " 

''Why, dish-yer runaway nigger." 

"I don't reckon he does; but what put that into your 
head ? " 

''What/?// 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 ? J fViat did he sing out?" And turns to me, 
perfectly ca'm, and says, " Didyo?^ hear anybody sing out ? " 

Of course there warn't nothing to be said but the one 
thing; so I says: 

" No; /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; " / 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 / 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 j-*^/, 
stays sot; dey won't look into nothn' en fine it out f'r dey- 
selves, en when you fine it out en tell um 'bout it, dey doan' 
b'lieve you." 

Tom give him a dime, and said we wouldn't tell nobody; 
and told him to buy some more thread to tie up his wool 
with; and then looks at Jim, and says: 

" I wonder if Uncle Silas is going to hang this nigger. If 
I was to catch a nigger that was ungrateful enough to run 
away, /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 



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 dissatis- 

*' 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 difficul- 
ties. 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 diffi- 
culties and dangers, where there warn't one of them furnish- 
ed to you by the people who it was their duty to furnish 
them, and you had to contrive them ail 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 torch- 
light procession if we wanted to, /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 ca7i 
get up the infant-schooliest ways of going at a thing. Why, 
hain't you ever read any books at all ? — Baron Trenck, nor 
Casanova, nor Benvenuto Chelleeny, nor Henri IV., nor 
none of them heroes ? Whoever heard of getting a prisoner 
loose in such an old-maidy way as that? No; the way all 
the best authorities does, is to saw the bed-leg in two, and 
leave it just so, and swallow the sawdust, so it can't be found, 
and put some dirt and grease around the sawed place so the 
very keenest seneskal can't see no sign of its being sawed, 
and thinks the bed-leg is perfectly sound. Then, the night 
you're ready, fetch the leg a kick, down she goes; slip off 
your chain, and there you are. Nothing to do but hitch 
your rope-ladder to the battlements, shin down it, break your 
leg in the moat — because a rope-ladder is nineteen foot too 
short, you know — and there's your horses and your trusty 
vassles, and they scoop you up and fling you across a sad- 
dle and away you go, to your native Langudoc, or Navarre, 
or wherever it is. It's gaudy, Huck. I wish there was a 
moat to this cabin. If we get time, the night of the escape, 
we'll dig one." 

I says: 

" What do we want of a moat, when we're going to snake 
him out from under the cabin ? " 

But he never heard me. He had forgot me and everything 
else. He had his chin in his hand, thinking. Pretty soon, 
he sighs, and shakes his head; then sighs again, and says: 

" No, it wouldn't do — there ain't necessity enough for it." 

" For what ?" I says. 

" Why, to saw Jim's leg off," he says. 

"Good land ! " I says, "why, there ain't no necessity for 
it. And what would you want to saw his leg off for, anyway ? " 

" Well, some of the best authorities has done it. They 
couldn't get the chain off, so they just cut their hand off, and 


shoved. And a leg would be better still. But we got to let 
that go. There ain't necessity enough in this case; and be- 
sides, 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 IVe 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 yo^l talk, you better say; 
you don't know nothing about it. He's ^^/ 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 dont 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 2. pretty howdy-do, woiildn' t it! I never heard of such a 

" Well," I says, "if it's in the regulations, and he's got to 
have it, all right, let him have it; because I don't wish to go 
back on no regulations; but there's one thing, Tom Sawyer 
— if we go to tearing up our sheets to make Jim a rope-ladder, 
we're going to get into trouble with Aunt Sally, just as sure 
as you're born. Now, the way I look at it, a hickry-bark lad- 
der 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 ex- 
perience, 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 Fd do. Who ever heard of a state 
prisoner escaping by a hickry bark ladder ? Why, it's per- 
fectly ridiculous." 

" Well, all right, Tom, fix it your own way; but if you'll take 
my advice, you'll let me borrow a sheet off of the clothes-line." 

He said that would do. And that give him another idea, 
and he says: 


"Borrow a shirt, too." 

" What do we want of a shirt, Tom ? " 

'' Want it for Jim to keep a journal on." 

" Journal your granny — JU71 can't write." 

" Spose he cant 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 en; 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'U 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 m.essage to let the world know 
where he's captivated, he can write it on the bottom of a tin 
plate with a fork and throw it out of the window. The Iron 
Mask always done that, and it's a blame' good way, too." 

"Jim ain't got no tin plates. They feed him in a pan." 

"That ain't anything; we can get him some." 

'' Can't nobody read his plates." 

*< That ain't got nothing to do with it, Huck Finn. All he's 
got to do is to write on the plate and throw it out. You don't 
have to be able to read it. Why, half the time you can't read 
anything a prisoner writes on a tin plate, or anywhere else." 

''Well, then, what's the sense in wasting the plates?" 

"Why, blame it all, it ain't \hQ prisoner s plates." 

" But it's somebody' s plates, ain't it ? " 

" Well, spos'n it is ? What does the prisoner care whose " 

He broke off there, because we heard the breakfast-horn 
blowing. So we cleared out for the house. 

Along during that morning I borrowed a sheet and a white 
shirt off of the clothes-line; and I found an old sack and put 
them in it, and we went down and got the fox-fire, and put 


that in too. I called it borrowing, because that was what pap 
always called it; but Tom said it warn't borrowing, it was 
stealing. He said we was representing prisoners; and prison- 
ers 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 pris- 
oner 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 water-melon 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 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 every- 
body 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 wood-pile to 
talk. He says: 

"Everything's all right, now, except tools; and that's easy 

" Tools ? " I says. 


"Tools for what?" 

"Why,to dig with. We ain't agoing iogna7v him out, are we?" 

"Ain't them old crippled picks and things in there good 
enough to dig a nigger out with? " I says. 

He turns on me looking pitying enough to make a body 
cry, and says: 


'' Huck Finn, did you ever hear of a prisoner having picks 
and shovels, and all the modern conveniences in his wardrobe 
to dig himself out with ? Now I want to ask you — if you got 
any reasonableness in you at all — what kind of a show would 
that give him to be a hero ? Why, they might as well lend 
him the key, and done with it. Picks and shovels — why they 
wouldn't furnish 'em to a king." 

''Well, then," I says, "if we don't want the picks and 
shovels, what do we want ? " 

" A couple of case-knives." 

" To dig the foundations out from under that cabin with ?" 


''Confound it, it's foolish, Tom." 

" It don't make no difference how foolish it is, it's the 7-ight 
way — and it's the regular way. And there ain't no other way, 
that ever / 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." 

"y/;;; 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 — /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 

" 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 smouchacouple of case-knives." 

*' Smouch three," he says; "we want one to make a saw 
out of." 

'* Tom, if it ain't unregular and irreligious to sejest it," I 
says, '* there's an old rusty saw-blade around yonder sticking 
under the weatherboarding behind the smoke-house." 

He looked kind of weary and discouraged-like, and says: 

''It ain't no use to try to learn you nothing, Huck. Run 
along and smouch the knives^three of them." So I done it. 



AS soon as we reckoned everybody was asleep, that night, 
we went^ down the lightning-rod, and shut ourselves up 
in the lean-to, and got out our pile of fox-fire, and went to 
work. We cleared everything out of the way, about four or 
five foot along the middle of the bottom log. Tom said we 
was right behind Jim's bed now, and we'd dig in under it, 
and when we got through there couldn't nobody in the cabin 
ever know there was any hole there, because Jim's counterpin 
hung down most to the ground, and you'd have to raise it up 
and look under to see the hole. So we dug and dug, with 
the case-knives, till most midnight; and then we was dog- 
tired, and oiar hands was blistered, and yet you couldn't see 
we'd done anything, hardly. At last I says: 

*'This ain't no thirty-seven year job, this is a thirty-eight 
year job, Tom Sawyer." 

He never said nothing. But he sighed, and pretty soon he 
stopped digging, and then for a good little while I knowed he 
was thinking. Then he says: 

" It ain't no use, Huck, it ain't agoing to work. If we 
was prisoners it would, because then we'd have as many 
years as we wanted, and no hurry; and we wouldn't get but 
a few minutes to dig, every day, while they was changing 
watches, and so our hands wouldn't get blistered, and we 
could keep it up right along, year in and year out, and do 
it right, and the way it ought to be done. But 7ve 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." 


^'- Noiv you're talking!'' I says; *' your head gets leveler 
and leveler all the time, Tom Sawyer," I says. "Picks is 
the thing, moral or no moral; and as for me, I don't care 
shucks for the morality of it, nohow. When I start in to steal 
a nigger, or a watermelon, or a Sunday-school book, I ain't 
no ways particular how it's done so it's done. What I want 
is my nigger; or what I want is my watermelon; or what I 
want is my Sunday-school book; and if a pick's the handiest 
thing, that's the thing I'm agoing to dig that nigger or that 
watermelon or that Sunday-school book out with; and I don't 
give a dead rat what the authorities thinks about it nuther." 

'■'■ Well," he says, " there's excuse for picks and letting-on in 
a case like this; if itwarn'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 {ox 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-knifed 

I didn't know just what to do — but then I thought. I 
scratched around amongst the old tools, and got a pick-ax 
and give it to him, and he took it and went to work, and never 
said a word. 

He was always just that particular. Full of principle. 

So then I got a shovel, and then we picked and shoveled, 
turn about, and made the fur fly. We stuck to it about 
a half an hour, which was as long as we could stand up; 
but we had a good deal of a hole to show for it. When I 
got up stairs, I looked out at the window and see Tom doing 
his level best with the lightning-rod, but he couldn't come it, 
his hands was so sore. At last he says: 

'' It ain't no use, it can't be done. What you reckon I bet- 
ter do ? Can't you think up no way ? " 

"Yes," I says, "but I reckon it ain't regular. Come up 
the stairs, and let on it's a lightning-rod." 

So he done it. 

Next day Tom stole a pewter spoon and a brass candlestick 
in the house, for to make some pens for Jim out of, and six 


tallow candles; and I hung around the nigger cabins, and laid 
for a chance, and stole three tin plates. Tom said it wasn't 
enough; but I said nobody wouldn't ever see the plates that 
Jim throwed out, because they'd fall in the dog-fennel and 
jimpson weeds under the window-hole — then we could tote 
them back and he could use them over again. So Tom was 
satisfied. Then he says: 

" Now, the thing to study out is, how to get the things to 

"Take them in through the hole," I says, ''when we get 
it done." 

He only just looked scornful, and said something about 
nobody ever heard of such an idiotic idea, and then he went 
to studying. By-and-by he said he had ciphered out two or 
three ways, but there warn't no need to decide on any of 
them yet. Said we'd got to post Jim first. 

That night we went down the lightning-rod a little after ten, 
and took one of the candles along, and listened under the 
window-hole, and heard Jim snoring; so we pitched it in, and 
it didn't wake him. Then we whirled in with the pick and 
shovel, and in about two hours and a half the job was done. 
We crept in under Jim's bed and into the cabin, and pawed 
around and found the candle and lit it, and stood over Jim 
a while, and found him looking hearty and healthy, and then 
we woke him up gentle and gradual. He was so glad to see 
us he most cried; and called us honey, and all the pet names 
he could think of; and was for having us hunt up a cold chisel 
to cut the chain off of his leg with, right away, and clearing 
out without losing any time. But Tom he showed him how 
unregular it would be, and set down and told him all about 
our plans, and how we could alter them in a minute any time 
there was an alarm; and not 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 a while, and then 
Tom asked a lot of questions, and when Jim told him Uncle 
Silas come in every day or two to pray with him, and Aunt 
Sally come in to see if he was comfortable and had plenty to 
eat, and both of them was kind as they could be, Tom says: 

"A^7£/ 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 

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 intel- 
lectural; 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 chil- 
dren 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 w^ay it could be strung out to as much as eighty year, 
and would be the best time on record. And he said it would 
make us all celebrated that had a hand in it. 

In the morning we went out to the wood-pile and chopped 
up the brass candle-stick 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 
Jim's pan, and we went along with Nat to see how it would 
work, and it just worked noble; when Jim bit into it it most 
mashed all his teeth out; and there warn't ever anything 
could a worked better. Tom said so himself. Jim he never let 
on but what it was only just a piece of rock or something like 
that that's always getting into bread, you know; but after 
that he never bit into nothing but what he jabbed his fork 
into it in three or four places, first. 



And whilst we was a standing there in the dimmish light, 
here comes a couple of the hounds bulging in, from under 
Jim's bed; and they kept on piling in till there was eleven of 
them, and there warn't hardly room in there to get your 
breath. By jings, we forgot to fasten that lean-to door. The 


nigger Nat he only just hollered '' witches! " once, and keeled 
over onto the floor amongst the dogs, and begun to groan 
like he was dying. Tom jerked the door open and flung out 
a slab of Jim's meat, and the dogs went for it, and in two 
seconds he was out himself and back again and shut the door, 



and I knowed he'd fixed the other door too. Then he went 
to work on the nigger, coaxing him and petting him, and ask- 
ing him if he'd been imagining he saw something again. He 
raised up, and bUnked 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, 
\felt um — \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 /'d ast. But mos'ly I wisht 
dey'd lemme 'lone, I does." 

Tom says: 

" Well, I tell you what / think. What makes them come 
here just at this runaway nigger's breakfast-time ? It's be- 
cause they're hungry; that's the reason. You make them a 
witch pie; that's the thing {ox you to do." 

'' But my Ian', 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 hafidle the witch-things." 

" Han7iel 'm Mars Sid ? What is you a talkin' 'bout ? I 
wouldn' lay de weight er my finger on um, notf'r ten hund'd 
thous'n* billion dollars, I wouldn't." 



THAT was all fixed. So then we went away and went to 
the rubbage-pile in the back yard where they keep the 
old boots, and rags, and pieces of bottles, and wore-out tin 
things, and all such truck, and scratched around and found 
an old tin wash-pan 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 w^asn't come yet, so we had to wait a little 

And when she come she was hot, and red, and cross, and 
couldn't hardly wait for the blessing; and then she went to 
sluicing out coffee with one hand and cracking the handiest 
child's head with her thimble with the other, and says: 

"I've hunted high, and I've hunted low, and it does beat 
all, what has become of your other shirt." 

My heart fell down amongst my lungs and livers and things, 
and a hard piece of corn-crust started down my throat after 
it and got met on the road with a cough and was shot across 
the table and took one of the children in the eye and curled 
him up like a fishing-worm, and let a cry out of him the size 
of a war-whoop, and Tom he turned kinder blue around the 
gills, and it all amounted to a considerable state of things 
for about a quarter of a minute or as much as that, and I 
would a sold out for half price if there was a bidder. But 
after that we was all right again — it was the sudden surprise 
of it that knocked us so kind of cold. Uncle Silas he says: 


" It's most uncommon curious, I can't understand it. I 
know perfectly well I took it off, because " 

" Because you hain't got but one 071. Just listen at the 
man! /know you took it off, and know it by a better way 
than your wool-gethering memory, too, because it was on the 
clo'es-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' 11 be the third I've made in two years; itjustkeeps 
a body on the jump to keep you in shirts; and whatever you 
do manage to do with 'm all, is more'n / can make out. A 
body'd think you 7voiild 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 ^^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 I " 

Whack comes the thimble, and the child snatches her claws 
out of the sugar-bowl without fooling around any. Just then, 
the nigger woman steps onto the passage, and says : 

" Missus, dey's a sheet gone.'' 

" A sheet gone! Well, for the land's sake! '* 

" I'll stop up them holes to-day," says Uncle Silas, looking 


"Oh, do shet up! — spose the rats took the sheet 1 Where' s 
it gone, Lize ? " 

" Clah to goodness I hain't no notion. Miss Sally. She wuz 
on de clo's-line yistiddy, but she done gone; she ain' dah no 
mo', now.'' 

" I reckon the world is coming to an end. I never see the 
beat of it, in all my born days. A shirt, and a sheet, and a 
spoon, and six 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: 

" \\!'=, 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 Tve 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- 

There was a noble good lot of them, down cellar, and it 
took us a whole hour, but we done the job tight and good, 
and ship-shape. Then we heard steps on the stairs, and 
blowed out our light, and hid; and here comes the old man, 
with a candle in one hand and a bundle of stuff in t'other, 
looking as absent-minded as year before last. He went a 
mooning around, first to one rat-hole and then another, till 
he'd been to them all. Then he stood about five minutes, 
picking tallow-drip off of his candle and thinking. Then he 
turns off slow and dreamy towards the stairs, saying: 

" Well, for the life of me I can't remember when I done it. 
I could show her now that I warn't to blame on account of 
the rats. But never mind — let it go. I reckon it wouldn't 
do no good." 

And so he went on a mumbling up stairs, and then we left. 
He was a mighty nice old man. And always is. 

Tom was a good deal bothered about what to do for a 
spoon, but he said we'd got to have it ; so he took a think. 
When he 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 aint but nine spoons, yety 

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 /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' «/;// 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, /don't think there's ten," 

" You numskull, didn't you see me count 'm ? " 

" I know, but " 

'' Well, I'll count 'm again:' 

So I smouched one, and they come out nine same as the 
other time. Well, she was in a tearing way — just a trembling 


all over, she was so mad. But she counted and counted, till 
she got that addled she'd start to count-in the basket for a 
spoon, sometimes; and so, three times they come out right, 
and three times they come out wrong. Then she grabbed 
up the basket and slammed it across the house and knocked 
the cat galley-west; and she said cle'r out and let her have 
some peace, and if we come bothering around her again be- 


twixt 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 satis- 
fied 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 any- 
body 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 steal- 
ing it again, for a couple of days, till she didn't know how 
many sheets she had, any more, and said she didn't care^ and 
warn^t agoing to bullyrag the rest of her soul out about it, 
and wouldn't count them again not to save her life, she 
druther die first. 

So we was all right now, as to the shirt and the sheet and 
the spoon and the candles, by the help of the calf and the rats 
and the mixed-up counting; and as to the candlestick, it 
warn't no consequence, it would blow over by-and-by. 

But that pie was a job; we had no end of trouble with that 
pie. We fixed it up away down in the woods, and cooked it 
there; and we got it done at last, and very satisfactory, too; 
but not all in one day; and we had to use up three 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. 


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 Mayflowei- 
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, 

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. 



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 go^ to; there warn't no case of a state pris- 
oner not scrabbling his inscription to leave behind, and his 
coat of arms. 

"Look at Lady Jane Grey," he says; "look at Gilford 
Dudley; look at old Northumberland! Why, Huck, spose 
it is considerble trouble ? — what you going to do ? — how you 
going to get around it ? Jim's gof 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 

" Well," I says, "■ Jim's right, anyway, when he says he 
hain't got no coat of arms, because he hain't." 

'' I reckon / knowed that," Tom says, <' but you bet he'll 
have one before he goes out of this — because he's going out 
rig/ifj 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 com- 
mon 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 ram- 
pant on a dancette indented; crest, a runaway nigger, sable, 
with his bundle over his shoulder on a bar sinister: and a cou- 
ple of gules for supporters, which is you and me; motto, 
Maggiore fretta, mi?iore atto. Got it out of a book — means, 
the more haste, the less speed." 

jim's coat of arms. 

"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 

" A fess — a fess is — yoii 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, /don't know. But he's got to have it. All the no- 
bility does." 

That was just his way. If it didn't suit him to explain a 
thing to you, he wouldn't do it. You might pump at him a 
week, it wouldn't make no difference. 

He'd got all that coat of arms business fixed, so now he 
started in to finish up the rest of that part of the work, which 
was to plan out a mournful inscription — said Jim got to have 
one, like they all done. He made up a lot, and wrote them 
out on a paper, and read them off, so : 

1 . Here a captive heart busted. 

2. Here a poor prisoner^ forsook by the world and friends^ 
fretted out his sorrowful life. 

3. Here a lonely heart broke., a?id a worn spirit went to its 
rest., after thirty-seven years of solitary captivity. 

4. Here^ ho?neless and friendless., after thirty-seven years of 
bitter captivity., perished a noble stranger., natural son of Louis 

Tom's voice trembled, whilst he was reading them, and he 
most broke down. When he got done, he couldn't no way 
make up his mind which one for Jim to scrabble onto the 
wall, they was all so good; but at last he allowed he would 
let him scrabble them all on. Jim said it would take him a 
year to scrabble such a lot of truck onto the logs with a nail, 
and he didn^t know how to make letters, besides; but Tom 
said he would block them out for him, and then he wouldn't 
have nothing to do but just follow the lines. Then pretty 
soon he says: 

" Come to think, the logs ain't agoing to do; they don't 
have log walls in a dungeon: we got to dig the inscriptions 
into a rock. We'll fetch a rock." 

Jim said the rock was worse than the logs; he said it would 
take him such a pison long time to dig them into a rock, he 
wouldn't ever get out. But Tom said he would let me help 


him do it. Then he took^a look to see how me and Tim was 
getting along with the pens. It was most pesky tedious hard 
work and slow, and didn't give my hands no show to get 
well of the sores, and we didn't seem to make no headway, 
hardly, so Tom says: 

" I know how to fix it. We got to have a rock for the coat 
of arms and mournful inscriptions, and we can kill two birds 
with that same rock. There's a gaudy big grindstone down 
at the mill, and we'll smouch it, and carve the things on it, 
and file out the pens and the saw on it, too." 

It warn't no slouch of an idea; and it warn't no slouch of 
a grindstone nuther; but we allowed we'd tackle it. It warn't 
quite midnight, yet, so we cleared out for the mill, leaving 
Jim at work. We smouched the grindstone, and set out to 
roll her home, but it was a most nation tough job. Some- 
times, 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 play- 
ed 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 can- 
dle 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 kind- 
ness 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 

" Please, Mars Tom — doan talk so ! I can't staji 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' wa?it no sich glory. Snake 
take 'n bite Jim's chin off, den lahah 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 buUheaded 



about it. We can get you some garter-snakes and you can 
tie some buttons on their tails, and let on they're rattlesnakes, 
and I reckon that'll have to do." 

*' I k'n Stan' dem. Mars Tom, but blame' 'f I couldn' get 
along widout um, I tell you dat. I never knowed b*fo', 't was 
so much bother and trouble to be a prisoner." 

" Well, it always is, when it's done right. You got any rats 
around 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 dad- 


blamedest 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 niiffn but a coase comb en a piece o' paper, en 
a juice-harp; but I reck'n dey wouldn' take no stock in a 

<* 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 doat 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 spi- 
ders, 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 
h Ji?ft havin' ? Blest if I kin see de pint. But I'll do it ef I 
got to. I reck'n I better keep de animals satisfied, en not 
have no trouble in de house." 

Tom waited to think over, and see if there wasn't nothing 
else; and pretty soon he says: 

'' Oh — there's one thing I forgot. Could you raise Vflower 
here, do you reckon ? " 

*'I doan' know but maybe T could, Mars Tom; but it's 
tolable dark in heah, en I ain' got no use fr no flower, no- 
how, 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 7ua/it 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 starfn 
one wid tears." 

'^ That ain't the idea. You got to do it with tears." 
"She'll die on my han's, Mars Tom, she sholy will; kase 
I doan' skasely ever cry." 

So Tom was stumped. But he studied it over, and then 
said Jim would have to worry along the best he could with 
an onion. He promised he would go to the nigger cabins 
and drop one, private, in Jim's coffee-pot, in the morning. 
Jim said he would '* jis' 's soon have tobacker in his coffee;" 
and found so much fault with it, and with the work and bothe: 
of raising the mullen, and jews-harping the rats, and petting 
and flattering up the snakes and spiders and things, on top 
of all the other work he had to do on pens, and inscriptions, 
and journals, and things, which made it more trouble and 
worry and responsibility to be a prisoner than anything he 
ever undertook, that Tom most lost all patience with him; and 
said he was just loadened down with more gaudier chances 
than a prisoner ever had in the world to make a name for 
himself, and yet he didn't know enough to appreciate them, 
and they was just about wasted on him. So Jim he was sorry, 
and said he wouldn't behave so no more, and then me and 
Tom shoved for bed. 




IN the morning we went up to the village and bought a wire 
rat trap and fetched it down, and unstopped the best rat 
hole, and in about an hour we had fifteen of the buUiest 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 rais- 
ing 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 spi ders, 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 staid with them as long 
as we could; because we allowed we'd tire them out or they'd 
got to tire us out, and they done it. Then we got allycum- 
pain 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 hon- 
est day's work; and hungry? — oh, no, I reckon not! And 
there warn't a blessed snake up there, when we went back — 
we didn't half tie the sack, and they worked out, somehow, 
and left. But it didn't matter much, because they was still 
on the premises somewheres. So we judged we could get 
some of them again. No, there warn't no real scarcity of 


snakes about the house for a considerable spell. You'd see 
them dripping from the rafters and places, every now and then; 
and they generly landed in your plate, or down the back of 
your neck, and most of the time where you didn't want them. 
Well, they was handsome, and striped, and there warn't no 
harm in a million of them; but that never made no difference 
to Aunt Sally, she despised snakes, be the breed what they 
might, and she couldn't stand them no way you could fix it; 
and every time one of them flopped down on her, it didn't 
make no difference what she was doing, she would just lay 
that work down and light out. I never see such a woman. 
And you could hear her whoop to Jericho. You couldn't get 
her to take aholt of one of them with the tongs. And if she 
turned over and found one in bed, she would scramble out 
and lift a howl that you would think the house was afire. She 
disturbed the old man so, that he said he could most wish 
there hadn't ever been no snakes created. AVhy, 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 cu- 
rious. 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 w^hilst the ink was fresh; the pens was made, the in- 
scriptions 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 undigest- 
ible sawdust I ever see; and Tom said the same. But as I 
was saying, we'd got all the work done, now, at last; and we 
was all pretty much fagged out, too, but mainly Jim. The 
old man had wrote a couple of times to the plantation below 
Orleans to come and get their runaway nigger, but hadn't got 
no answer, because there warn't no such plantation; so he 
allowed he would advertise Jim in the St. Louis and New Or- 
leans 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. Some- 
times 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 any- 
body 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 every- 
thing. 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 v/ork and trouble this escape '11 


go off perfectly fiat: 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. Anyway that 
suits you suits me. What you going to do about the servant- 

"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 

"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 ///tv/, would you ?" 

"No, but there won't be nobody to see what I look like, 
anyway y 

" 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 '11 
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 es- 
capes, f'rinstance. And the same with a king's son; it don't 
make no difference whether he's a natural one or an un- 
natural one." 

So Tom he wrote the nonnamous letter, and I smouched the 
yaller wench's frock, that night, and put it on, and shoved it 
under the front door, the way Tom told me to. It said: 

Beware. Trouble is brewing. Keep a sharp lookout. 

Unknown Friend. 


Next night we stuck a picture which Tom drawed in 
blood, of a skull and crossbones, on the front door; and 
next night another one of a coffin, on the back door. I never 
see a family in such a sweat. They couldn't a been worse 
scared if the place had a been full of ghosts laying for them 
behind everything and under the beds and shivering through 
the air. If a door banged. Aunt Sally she jumped, and said 
"ouch! " if anything fell, she jumped and said "ouch! " if 
you happened to touch her, when she warn't noticing, she 
done the same; she couldn't face noway and be satisfied, be- 
cause she allowed there was something behind her every 
time — so she was always a whirling around, sudden, and say- 
ing "ouch," and before she'd get two-thirds around, she'd 
whirl back again, and say it again; and she was afraid to go 
to bed, but she dasn't set' up. So the thing was working very 
well, Tom said; he said he never see a thing work more 
satisfactory. He said it showed it was done right. 

So he said, now for the grand bulge! So the very next 
morning at the streak of dawn we got another letter ready, 
and was wondering what we better do with it, because we 
heard them say at supper they was going to have a nigger on 
watch at both doors all night. Tom he went down the light- 
ning-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: 

DonH betray jue, I wish to be yotir friend. There is a desprate gang 
of cutthroats frofn over in the Jngean Territory going to steal your run- 
away nigger to-night, aiid they have been trying to scare you so as you will 
stay in the house and not bother them. I am one of the gang, but have 
got religgion and wish to quit it and lead a honest life again, and zuill be- 
tray the helish design. They will sneak down from northards, along the 
fence, at midnight exact, with a false key, a7id go in the nigger's cabin to get 
him. I a?n to be off' a piece and blow a tin hot'n if I see any danger; but 
stead of that, I will BA like a sheep soon as they get in and not blow at all; 
then whilst they are getting his chains loose, you slip there and lock them 
in, and can kill them at your leasure. Don't do anything but just the 
way I am telling you, if you do they will suspicion something and raise 
whoopjafnboreehoo. I do not wish any reward but to know I have done 
the right thing. 

Unknown Friend. 



WE was feeling pretty good, after breakfast, and took 
my canoe and went over the river a fishing, with 
a lunch, and had a good time, and took a look at the raft and 
found her all right, and got home late to supper, and found 
them in such a sweat and worry they didn't know which end 
they was standing on, and made us go right off to bed the 
minute we was done supper, and wouldn't tell us what the 
trouble was, and never let on a word about the new letter, 
but didn't need to, because we knowed as much about it as 
anybody did, and as soon as we was half up stairs and her 
back was turned, we slid for the cellar cubboard and loaded 
up a good lunch and took it up to our room and went to bed, 
and got up about half-past eleven, and Tom put on Aunt 
Sally's dress that he stole and was going to start with the 
lunch, but says: 

''Where's the butter?" 

" I laid out a hunk of it," I says, '' on a piece of a corn- 

" Well, you left it laid out, then — it ain't here." 

" We can get along without it," I says. 

'* We can get along with it, too," he says; *' just you slide 
down cellar and fetch it. And then mosey right down the 
lightning-rod and come along. I'll go and stuff the straw 
into Jim's clothes to represent his mother in disguise, and be 
ready to ba like a sheep and shove soon as you get there." 

So out he went, and down cellar went I. The hunk of but- 
ter, big as a person's fist, was where I had left it, so I took 
up the slab of corn-pone with it on, and blowed out my light, 
and started up stairs, very stealthy, and got up to the main 
floor all right, but here comes Aunt Sally with a candle, and 
I clapped the truck in my hat, and clapped my hat on my 
head, and the next second she see me; and she says: 

" You been down cellar ? " 



" What you been doing down there ? " 

" Noth'n." 

'' NotJin!'' 


" Well, then, what possessed you to go down there, this 
time of night ? " 

" I don't know 'm." 

" You don't know ? Don't answer me that way, Tom, I 
want to know what you been domg down there ? " 

<< I hain't been doing a single thing, Aunt Sally, I hope to 
gracious if I have." 

I reckoned she'd let me go, now, and as a generl thing she 
would; but I spose there was so many strange things going 
on she was just in a sweat about every little thing that warn't 
yard-stick straight; so she says, very decided: 

*'You just march into that setting-room and stay there till 
I come. You been up to something you no business to, and 
I lay I'll find out what it is before I'm done with you." 

So she went away as I opened the door and walked into 
the setting-room. My, but there was a crowd there! Fifteen 
farmers, and every one of them had a gun. I was most 
powerful sick, and slunk to a chair and set down. They was 
setting around, some of them talking a little, in a low voice, 
and all of them fidgety and uneasy, but trying to look like 
they warn't; but I knowed they was, because they was always 
taking off their hats, and putting them on, and scratching 
their heads, and changing their seats, and fumbling with their 
buttons. I warn't easy myself, but I didn't take my hat off, 
all the same. 

I did wish Aunt Sajly would come, and get done with me, 
and lick me, if she wanted to, and let me get away and tell 
Tom how we'd overdone this thing, and what a thundering 
hornet's nest we'd got ourselves into, so we could stop fool- 
ing around, straight off, and clear out with Jim before these 
rips got out of patience and come for us. 

At last she come, and begun to ask me questions, but I 
couldn't answer them straight, I didn't know which end of me 
was up; because these men was in such a fidget now, that 
some was wanting to start right ?iow and lay for them desper- 
adoes, and saying it warn't but a few minutes to midnight; 


and others was trying to get them to hold on and wait for the 
sheep-signal; and here was aunty pegging away at the ques- 
tions, and me a shaking all over and ready to sink down in my 
tracks I was that scared; and the place getting hotter and hot- 
ter, and the butter beginning to melt and run down my neck 
and behind my ears; and pretty soon, when one of them says, 
'' Fill for going and getting in the (z^\\\ first and right noiv^ and 
catching them whem when they come," I most dropped; and 
a streak of butter come a trickling down my forehead, and 
Aunt Sally she see it, and turns white as a sheet, and says: 

" For the land's sake what is the matter with the child! — 
he's got the brain fever as shore as you're born, and they're 
oozing out! " 

And everybody runs to see, and she snatches off my hat, 
and out comes the bread, and what was left of the butter, and 
she grabbed me, and hugged me, and says: 

'' Oh, what a turn you did give me! and how glad and 
grateful I am it ain't no worse; for luck's against us, and it 
never rains but it pours, and when I see that truck I thought 
we'd lost you, for I knowed by the color and all, it was just 
like your brains would be if — Dear, dear, whyd'nt you tell me 
that was what you'd been down there for, / wouldn't a cared. 
Now cler out to bed, and don't lemme see no more of you 
till morning! " 

I was up stairs in a second, and down the lightning-rod in 
another one, and shinning through the dark for the lean-to. 
I couldn't hardly get my words out, I was so anxious; but I 
told Tom as quick as I could, we must jump for it, now, and 
not a minute to lose — the house full of men, yonder, with 

His eyes just blazed; and he says: 

"No!— is that so ? Aint it bully! Why, Huck, if it was 
to do over again, I bet I could fetch two hundred! If we 
could put it off till " 

''Hurry! hurry!'' I says. ''Where's Jim ? " 

" Right at your elbow; if you reach out your arm you can 
touch him. He's dressed, and everything's ready. Now we'll 
slide out and give the sheep-signal." 

But then we heard the tramp of men, coming to the door, 
and heard them begin to fumble with the padlock; and heard 
a man say: 


^^ I told you we'd be too soon; they haven't come — the 
door is locked. Here, I'll lock some of you into the cabin 
and you lay for 'em in the dark and kill 'em when they come; 
and the rest scatter around a piece, and listen if you can hear 
*em coming." 

So in they come, but couldn't see us in the dark, and 
most trod on us whilst we was hustling to get under the bed. 
But we got under all right, and out through the hole, swift 
but soft — Jim first, me next, and Tom last, which was ac- 
cording to Tom's orders. Now we was in the lean-to, and 
heard trampings close by outside. So we crept to the door, 
and Tom stopped us there and put his eye to the crack, but 
couldn't make out nothing, it was so dark; and whispered and 
said he would listen for the steps to get further, and when he 
nudged us Jim must glide out first, and him last. So he set 
his ear to the crack and listened, and listened, and listened, 
and the steps a scraping around, out there, all the time; and 
at last he nudged us, and we slid out, and stooped down, not 
breathing, and not making the least noise, and slipped stealthy 
towards the fence, in Injun file, and got to it, all right, and 
me and Jim over it; but Tom's britches catched fast on a 
splinter on the top rail, and then he hear the steps coming, 
so he had to pull loose, which snapped the splinter and made 
a noise; and as he dropped in our tracks and started, some- 
body sings out: 

" Who's that ? Answer, or I'll shoot! " 

But we didn't answer; we just unfurled our heels and 
shoved. Then there was a rush, and a bang, bang, bang! and 
the bullets fairly whizzed around us! We heard them sing 

''Here they are! They've broke for the river! after 'em, 
boys! And turn loose the dogs! " 

So here they come, full tilt. We could hear them, because 
they wore boots, and yelled, but we didn't wear no boots, and 
didn't yell. We was in the path to the mill; and when they 
got pretty close onto us, we dodged into the bush and let 
them go by, and then dropped in behind them. They'd had 
all the dogs shut up; so they wouldn't scare off the robbers; 
but by this time somebody had let them loose, and here they 
come, making pow-wow enough for a million; but they was 
our dogs; so we stopped in our tracks till they catched up; 


and when they see it warn't nobody but us, and no excite- 
ment to offer them, they only just said howdy, and tore right 
ahead towards the shouting and clattering; and then we up 
steam again and whizzed along after them till we was nearly 
to the mill, and then struck up through the bush to where 
my canoe was tied, and hopped in and pulled for dear life 
towards the middle of the river, but didn't make no more 
noise than we was obleeged to. Then we struck out, easy 
and comfortable, for the island where my raft was; and we 
could hear them yelling and barking at each other all up and 
down the bank, till we was so far away the sounds got dim 
and died out. And when we stepped onto the raft, I says: 

^^ JVow, old Jim, you're a free man again, and I bet you 
won't ever be a slave no more." 

*'En a mighty good job it wuz, too, Huck. It 'uz plan- 
ned beautiful, en it 'uz do?ze beautiful; en dey ain't nobody 
kin git up a plan dat's mo' mixed-up en splendid den what 
dat one wuz." 

We was all glad as'we could be, but Tom was the gladdest 
of all, because^he had a bullet in the calf of his leg. 

When me and Jim heard that, we didn't feel so brash as 
what we did before. It was hurting him considerable, and 
bleeding; so we laid him in the wigwam and tore up one of 
the duke's shirts for to bandage him, but he says: 

'* Gimme the rags, I can do It myself. Don't stop, now; 
don't fool around here, and the evasion booming along so 
handsome; man the sweeps, and set her loose! Boys, we 
done it elegant! — 'deed we did. I wish 7t'(?'^ahad the hand- 
ling of Louis XVI., there wouldn't a been no ' Son of Saint 
Louis, ascend to heaven!' wrote down in his biography: no, 
sir, we'd a whooped him over the border- — that's what we'd 
a done with him — and done it just as slick as nothing at all, 
too. Man the sweeps — man the sweeps! " 

But me and Jim was consulting — and thinking. And after 
we'd thought a minute, I says: 

"Say it, Jim." 

So he says: 

'' Well, den, dis is de way it look to me, Huck. Ef it wuz 
him dat 'uz bein' sot free, en one er de boys wuz to git shot, 
would he say, * Go on en save me, nemmine 'bout a doctor 
fr to save dis one ?^ Is dat like Mars Tom Sawyer ? Would 


he say dat? You bet he wouldn't I Well, den, is Jwi gwyne 
to say it? No, sah — I doan' budge a step out'n dis place, 
'dout a doctor; not if it's forty year! " 

I knowed he was white inside, and I reckoned he'd say 
what he did say — so it was all right, now, and I told Tom I 
was agoing for a doctor. He raised considerble row about 
it, but me and Jim stuck to it and wouldn't budge; so he was 
for crawling out and setting the raft loose himself; but we 
wouldn't let him. Then he give us a piece of his mind — but 
it didn't do no good. 

So when he see me getting the canoe ready, he says: 

"■ Well, then, if you're bound to go, I'll tell you the way to 
do, when you get to the village. Shut the door, and blind- 
fold the doctor tight and fast, and make him swear to be 
silent as the grave, and put a purse full of gold in his hand, 
and then take and lead him all around the back alleys and 
everywheres, in the dark, and then fetch him here in the 
canoe, in a roundabout way amongst the islands, and search 
him and take his chalk away from him, and don't give it 
back to him till you get him back to the village, or else he 
will chalk this raft so he can find it again. It's the way they 
all do." 

So I said I would, and left, and Jim was to hide in the 
woods when he see the doctor coming, till he was gone again. 



THE doctor was an old man; a very nice, kind-looking 
old man, when I got him up. I told him me and my 
brother was over on Spanish Island hunting, yesterday after- 
noon, and camped on a piece of a raft we found, and about 
midnight he must a kicked his gun in his dreams, for it went 
off and shot him in the leg, and we wanted him to go over 
there and fix it and not say nothing about it, nor let anybody 
know, because we wanted to come home this evening, and 
surprise the folks. 

'' Who is your folks ? " he says. 

"The Phelpses, down yonder." 

** Oh," he says. And after a minute, he says: '' How'd 
you say he got shot ? " 

" He had a dream," I says, *' and it shot him." 

" Singular dream," he says. 

So he lit up his lantern, and got his saddle-bags, and we 
started. But when he see the canoe, he didn't like the look 
of her — said she was big enough for one, but didn't look 
pretty safe for two. I says: 

" Oh, you needn't be afeard, sir, she carried the three of us, 
easy enough." 

"What three?" 

" Why, me and Sid, and — and — and the gunsj that's what 
I mean." 

"Oh," he says. 

But he put his foot on the gunnel, and rocked her; and 
shook his head; and said he reckoned he'd look around for a 
bigger one. But they was all locked and chained; so he took 
my canoe, and said for me to wait till he come back, or I 
could hunt around further, or maybe I better go down home 
and get them ready for the surprise, if I wanted to. But I 
said I didn't; so I told him just how to find the raft, and then 
he started. 

I struck an idea, pretty soon. I says to myself, spos'n he 


can't fix that leg just in three shakes of a sheep's tail, as the 
saying is ? spos'n it takes him three or four days ? What are 
we are going to do ? — lay around there till he lets the cat out 
of the bag ? No, sir, I know what Til do. I'll wait, and 
when he conies back, if he says he's got to go any more, I'll 
get down there, too, if I swim; and we'll take and tie him, 
and keep him, and shove out down the river; and when 
Tom's done with him, we'll give him what it's worth, or all 
we got, and then let him get shore. 

So then I crept into a lumber pile to get some sleep; and 
next time I waked up the sun was away up over my head! I 
shot out and went for the doctor's house, but they told me 
he'd gone away in the night, some time or other, and warn't 
back yet. Well, thinks I, that looks powerful bad for Tom, and 
I'll dig out for the island, right oft. So away I shoved, and 
turned the corner, and nearly rammed my head into Uncle 
Silas's stomach! He says: 

" Why, To77i ! Where vou been, all this time, you ras- 
cal ? " 

"/hain't been nowheres," I says, '' only just hunting for 
the runaway nigger — me and Sid." 

"Why, where ever did you go?" he says. "Your aunt's 
been mighty uneasy." 

" She needn't," I says, " because we was all right. We fol- 
lowed the men and the dogs, but they out-run us, and we lost 
them; but we thought we heard them on the water, so we got 
a canoe and took out after them, and crossed over but could- 
n't find nothing of them; so we cruised along up-shore till 
we got kind of tired and beat out; and tied up the canoe and 
went to sleep, and never waked up till about an hour ago, 
then we paddled over here to hear the news, and Sid's at the 
post-office to see what he can hear, and I'm a branching out 
to get something to eat for us, and then we're going home." 

So then we went to the post-office to get " Sid ; " but just as I 
suspicioned, he warn't there; so the old man he got a letter 
out of the office, and we waited a while longer but Sid didn't 
come; so the old man said come along, let Sid foot it home, 
or canoe-it, when he got done fooling around — but we would 
ride. I couldn't get him to let me stay and wait for Sid; and 
he said there warn't no use in it, and I must come along, 
and let Aunt Sally see we was all right. 


When we got home, Aunt Sally was that glad to see me she 
laughed and cried both, and hugged me, and give me one of 
them lickings of hern that don't amount to shucks, and said 
she'd serve Sid the same when he come. 

And the place was plumb full of farmers and farmers' 
wives, to dinner; and such another clack a body never heard. 
Old Mrs. Hotchkiss was the worst; her tongue was agoing 
all the time. She says: 

" Well, Sister Phelps, I've ransacked that-air cabin over an* 
I b'lieve the nigger was crazy. I says to Sister Damrell — 
didn't I, Sister Damrell? — s'l, he's crazy, s'l — them's the 
very words I said. You all hearn me: he's crazy, s'l; every- 
thing shows it, s'l. Look at that-air grindstone, s'l; want 
to tell met any cretur 'ts in his right mind 's agoin' to scrab- 
ble all them crazy things onto a grindstone, s'l ? Here sich 'n' 
sich a person busted his heart; 'n* here so 'n' so pegged along 
for thirty-seven year, 'n' all that — natcherl son o' Louis some- 
body, 'n' sich everlast'n rubbage. He's plumb crazy, s'l; it's 
what I says in the fust place, it's what I says in the middle, 
'n' it's what I says last 'n' all the time — the nigger's crazy — 
crazy 's Nebokoodneezer, s'l." 

" An' look at that-air ladder made out'n rags. Sister Hotch- 
kiss," says old Mrs. Damrell, " what in the name o' goodness 
could he ever want of -" 

" The very words I was a-sayin' no longer ago th'n this 
minute to Sister Utterback, *n' she'll tell you so herself. 
Sh-she, look at that-air rag ladder, sh-she; *n' s'l, yes, look at 
it, s'l — what could he a wanted of it, s'l. Sh-she, Sister 
Hotchkiss, sh-she " 

'* But how in the nation'd they ever^// that grindstone in 
there, anyv^dij ? 'n' who dug that-air hole ? 'n* who " 

"My very words^ Brer Penrod! I was a-sayin' — pass that- 
air sasser o' m'lasses, won't ye ? — I was a-sayin' to Sister 
Dunlap, jist this minute, how did they git that grindstone in 
there, s'l. Without help, mind you — 'thout help! Thar's 
wher' 'tis. Don't tell //z^, s'l; there wuz help, s'l; 'n' ther' 
wuz 2i ple?ify help, too, s'l; ther's ben a dozen a-helpin' that 
nigger, 'n' I lay I'd skin every last nigger on this place, but 
Pd find out who done it, s'l; 'n' moreover, s'l " 

"A dozen says you! — forty couldn't a done everything 
that's been done. Look at them case-knife saws and things, 


how tedious they've been made; look at that bed-leg sawed 
off with 'm, a week's work for six men; look at that nigger 
made out'n straw on the bed; and look at '* 

"You may ?<:'<?// say it, Brer Hightower! It's jist as I was 
a-sayin' to Brer Phelps, his own self. S'e, what do yoti think 
of it, Sister Hotchkiss, s'e ? think o' what, Brer Phelps, s'l ? 
think o' that bed-leg sawed off that a w^ay, s'e? ^Mnk of it, 
s'l ? I lay it never sawed itself oH^ s'l — somebody smvedxX.^ 
s'l; that's my opinion, take it or leave it, it mayn't be no 
'count, s'l, but sich as 't is, it's my opinion, s'l, 'n' if any- 
body k'n start a better one, s'l, let him do it, s'l, that's all. 
I says to Sister Dunlap, s'l " 

*' Why, dog my cats, they must a ben a house-full o' nig- 
gers in there every night for four weeks, to a done all that 
work, Sister Phelps. Look at that shirt — every last inch of 
it kivered over with secret African writ'n done with blood! 
Must a ben a raft uv 'm at it right along, all the time, amost. 
Why, I'd give two dollars to have it read to me; 'n' as 
for the niggers that wrote it, I 'low I'd take 'n' lash 'm 
t'll " 

"People to help him. Brother Marples! Well, I reckon 
you'd think so, if you'd a been in this house for awhile back. 
Why, they've stole everything they could lay their hands on 
— and we a watching, all the time, mind you. They stole 
that shirt right off o' the line! and as for that sheet they 
made the rag ladder out of ther' ain't no telling how many 
times they didnH steal that; and flour, and candles, and 
candlesticks, and spoons, and the old warming-pan, and most 
a thousand things that I disremember, now, and my new 
calico dress; and me, and Silas, and my Sid and Tom on the 
constant watch day and night, as I was a telling you, and not 
a one of us could catch hide nor ha:r, nor sight nor sound of 
them: and here at the last minute, lo and behold you, they 
slides right in under our noses, and fools us, and not only 
fools us but the Injun Territory robbers too, and actuly gets 
mvay with that nigger, safe and sound, and that with sixteen 
men and twenty-two dogs right on their very heels at that 
very time! I tell you, it just bangs anything I ever heard oi. 
Why, sperits couldn't a done better, and been no smarter. 
And I reckon they must a been sperits — because, you know 
our dogs, and ther' ain't no better; well, them dogs never 


even got on the track of 'm, once! You explain that to me, 
if you can! — any of yoa! " 

'<Well, it does beat " 

'' Laws alive, I never " 

" So help me, I wouldn't a be- 
" ZTf^wj-^- thieves as well as 

'•' Goodnessgracioussakes, I'd a ben afeard to live in sich 

" 'Fraid to live! — why, I was that scared I das'nt hardly go 
to bed, or get up, or lay down, or set down, Sister Ridgeway. 
Why, they'd steal the very — why, goodness sakes, you can 
guess what kind of a fluster / was in by the time midnight 
come, last night. I hope to gracious if I warn't afraid they'd 
steal some o' the family! I was just to that pass, I didn't 
have no reasoning faculties no more. It looks foolish enough, 
no7V^ in the day-time; but I says to myself, there's my two 
poor boys asleep, 'way up stairs in that lonesome room, and 
I declare to goodness I was that uneasy 't I crep' up there 
and locked 'em in! I did. And anybody would. Because, 
you know, when you get scared, that way, and it keeps run- 
ning on, and getting worse and worse, all the time, and your 
wits gets to addling, and you get to doing all sorts o' wild 
things, and by-and-by you think to yourself, spos'n /was a 
boy, and was away up there, and the door ain't locked, and 

you " She stopped, looking kind of wondering, and then 

she turned her head around slow, and when her eye lit on me 
— I got up and took a walk. 

Says I to myself, I can explain better how we come to not 
be in that room this morning, if I go out to one side and 
study over it a little. So I done it. But I dasn't go fur, or 
she'd a sent for me. And when it was late in the day, the 
people all went, and then I come in and told her the noise 
and shooting waked up me and "Sid," and the door was 
locked, and we wanted to see the fun, so we went down the 
lightning-rod, and both of us got hurt a little, and we didn't 
never want to try that no more. And then I went on and 
told her all what I told Uncle Silas before; and then she said 
she'd forgive us, and maybe it was all right enough anyway, 
and about what a body might expect of boys, for all boys 
was a pretty harum-scarum lot, as fur as she could see; and 
so, as long as no harm hadn't come of it, she judged she 



better put in her time being grateful we was alive and well 
and she had us still, stead of fretting over what was past and 
done. So then she kissed me, and patted me on the head, 
and dropped into a kind of a brown study; and pretty soon 
jumps up, and says: 

" Why, lawsamercy, it's most night, and Sid not come yet! 
What has become of that boy ? " 

I see my chance; so I skips up and says: 

" I'll run right up to town and get him, " I says, 


''No you won't," she says. "You'll stay right wher' you 
are; one's enough to be lost at a time. If he ain't here to 
supper, your uncle '11 go." 

Well, he warn't there to supper; so right after supper 
uncle went. 

He come back about ten, a little bit uneasy ; hadn't run across 
Tom's track. Aunt Sally was a good deal uneasy; but Uncle 
Silas he said there warn't no occasion to be — boys will be 


boys, he said, and you'll see this one turn up in the morn- 
ing, all sound and right. So she had to be satisfied. But 
she said she'd set up for him a while, anyway, and keep a light 
burning, so he could see it. 

And then when I went up to bed she come up with me and 
fetched her candle, and tucked me in, and mothered me so 
good I felt mean, and like I couldn't look her in the face; and 
she set down on the bed and talked with me a long time, and 
said what a splendid boy Sid was, and didn't seem to want 
to ever stop talking about him; and kept asking me every 
now and then, if I reckoned he could a got lost, or hurt, or 
maybe drownded, and might be laying at this minute, some- 
wheres, suffering or dead, and she not by him to help him, 
and so the tears would drip down, silent, and I would tell her 
that Sid was all right, and would be home in the morning, 
sure; and she would squeeze my hand, or maybe kiss me, and 
tell me to say it again, and keep on saying it, because it done 
her good, and she was in so much trouble. And when she 
was going away, she looked down in my eyes, so steady and 
gentle, and says: 

" The door ain't going to be locked, Tom; and there's the 
window and the rod; but you'll be good, won't you ? And 
you won't go ? For my sake." 

Laws knows I wajited to go, bad enough, to see about Tom, 
and was all intending to go; but after that, I wouldn't a 
went, not for kingdoms. 

But she was on my mind, and Tom was on my mind; so I 
slept very restless. And twice I went down the rod, away 
in the night, and slipped around front, and see her setting 
there by her candle in the window with her eyes towards the 
road and the tears in them; and I wished I could do some- 
thing for her, but I couldn't, only to swear that I wouldn't 
never do nothing to grieve her any more. And the third 
time, I waked up at dawn, and slid down, and she was there 
yet, and her candle was most out, and her old gray head 
was resting on her hand, and she was asleep. 



THE old man was up town again, before breakfast, but 
couldn't get no track of Tom; and both of them set 
at the table, thinking, and not saying nothing, and looking 
mournful, and their coffee getting cold, and not eating any- 
thing. And by-and- by the old man says: 

'' Did I give you the letter? " 

<'What letter?" 

"The one I got yesterday out of the post-office." 

*' No, you didn't give me no letter." 

*'Well, I must a forgot it." 

So he rummaged his pockets, and then went off somewheres 
where he had laid it down, and fetched it, and give it to her. 
She says: 

''Why, it's from St. Petersburg — it's from Sis." 

I allowed another walk would do me good; but I couldn't 
stir. But before she could break it open, she dropped it and 
run — for she see something. And so did I. It was Tom 
Sawyer on a mattress; and that old doctor; and Jim, in /ler 
calico dress, with his hands tied behind him; and a lot of 
people. I hid the letter behind the first thing that come 
handy, and rushed. She flung herself at Tom, crying, and 

"Oh, he's dead, he's dead, I know he's dead!" 

And Tom he turned his head a little, and muttered some- 
thing or other, which showed he warn't in his right mind; then 
she flung up her hands, and says: 

''He's alive, thank God! And that's enough! " and she 
snatched a kiss of him, and flew for the house to get the bed 
ready, and scattering orders right and left at the niggers and 
everybody else, as fast as her tongue could go, every jump of 
the way. 

I followed the men to see what they was going to do with 
Jim; and the old doctor and Uncle Silas followed after Tom 



into the house. The men was very huffy, and some of them 
wanted to hang Jim, for an example to all the other niggers 
around there, so they wouldn't be trying to run away, like 
Jim done, and making such a raft of trouble, and keeping a 
whole family scared most to death for days and nights. But 
the others said, don't do it, it wouldn't answer at all, he ain't 


our nigger, and his owner would turn up and make us pay for 
him, sure. So that cooled them down a little, because the 
people that's always the most anxious for to hang a nigger 
that hain't done just right, is always the very ones that ain't 
the most anxious to pay for him when they've got their satis- 
faction out of him. 

They cussed Jim considerble, though, and give him a cuff 


or two, side the head, once in a while, but Jim never said 
nothing, and he never let on to know me, and they took him 
to the same cabin, and put his own clothes on him, and 
chained him again, and not to no bed-leg, this time, but to a 
big staple drove into the bottom log, and chained his hands, 
too, and both legs, and said he warn't to have nothing but 
bread and water to eat, after this, till his owner come or he 
was sold at auction, because he didn't come in a certain 
length of time, and filled up our hole; and said a couple of 
farmers with guns must stand watch around about the cabin 
every night, and a bull-dog tied to the door in the day-time; 
and about this time they was through with the job and was 
tapering off with a kind of generl good-bye cussing, and then 
the old doctor comes and takes a look, and says: 

" Don't be no rougher on him than you're obleeged to, be- 
cause he ain't a bad nigger. When I got to where I found the 
boy, I see I couldn't cut the bullet out without some help, and 
he warn't in no condition for me to leave, to go and get help; 
and he got a little worse and a little worse, and after a long 
time he went out of his head, and wouldn't let me come anigh 
him, any more, and said if I chalked his raft he'd kill me, and 
no end of wild foolishness like that, and I see I couldn't do any- 
thing at all with him; so I says, I got to have help, somehow; 
and the minute I says it, out crawls this nigger from some- 
wheres, and says he'll help, and he done it, too, and done 
it very well. Of course I judged he must be a runaway nigger, 
and there I was! and there I had to stick, right straight along 
all the rest of the day, and all night. It was a fix, I tell you! 
I had a couple of patients with the chills, and of course I'd 
of liked to run up to town and see them, but I dasn't, because 
the nigger might get away, and then I'd be to blame; and yet 
never a skiff come close enough for me to hail. So there I 
had to stick, plumb till daylight this morning; and I never 
see a nigger that was a better nuss or faithfuller, and yet 
he was risking his freedom to do it, and was all tired out, 
too, and I see plain enough he'd been worked main hard, late- 
ly. I liked the nigger for that; I tell you, gentlemen, a 
nigger like that is worth a thousand dollars — and kind treat- 
ment, too. I had everything I needed, and the boy was doing 
as well there as he would a done at home — better, maybe, 
because it was so quiet; but there I was, with both of'm on 


my hands; and there I had to stick, till about dawn this morn- 
ing; then some men in a skiff come by, and as good luck 
would have it, the nigger was setting by the pallet with his 
head propped on his knees, sound asleep; so I motioned them 
in, quiet, and they slipped up on him and grabbed him and 
tied him before he knowed what he was about, and we never 
had no trouble. And the boy being in a kind of a flighty sleep, 
too, we muffled the oars and hitched the raft on, and towed 
her over very nice and quiet, and the nigger never made the 
least row nor said a word, from the start. He ain't no bad 
nigger, gentlemen; that's what I think about him." 

Somebody says: 

*'Well, it sounds very good, doctor, I'm obleeged to say. " 

Then the others softened up a little, too, and I was mighty 
thankful to that old doctor for doing Jim that good turn; and 
I was glad it was according to my judgment of him, too; be- 
cause I thought he had a good heart in him and was a good 
man, the first time I see him. Then they all agreed that Jim 
had acted very well, and was deserving to have some notice 
took of it, and reward. So every one of them promised, right 
out and hearty, that they wouldn't cuss him no more. 

Then they com.e out and locked him up. I hoped they was 
going to say he could have one or two of the chains took off, 
because they was rotten heavy, or could have meat and greens 
with his bread and water, but they didn't think of it, and I 
reckoned it warn't best for me to mix in, but I judged I'd get 
the doctor's yarn to Aunt Sally, somehow or other, as soon 
as I'd got through the breakers that was laying just ahead of 
me. Explanations, I mean, of how I forgot to mention about 
Sid being shot, when I was telling how him and me put in that 
dratted night paddling around hunting the runaway nigger. 

But I had plenty time. Aunt Sally she stuck to the sick- 
room all day and all night; and every time I see Uncle Silas 
mooning around, I dodged him. 

Next morning I heard Tom was a good deal better, and 
they said Aunt Sally was gone to get a nap. So I slips to the 
sick-room, and if I found him awake I reckoned we could put 
up a yarn for the family that would wash. But he was sleep- 
ing, and sleeping very peaceful, too; and pale, not fire-faced 
the way he was when he come. So I set down and laid for 
him to wake. In about a half an hour. Aunt Sally comes glid- 


ing in, and there I was, up a stump again ! She motioned 
me to be still, and set down by me, and begun to whisper, 
and said we could all be joyful now, because all the symptoms 
was first rate, and he'd been sleeping like that for ever so 
long, and looking better and peacefuUer all the time, and ten 
to one he'd wake up in his right mind. 

So we set there watching, and by-and-by he stirs a bit, and 
opened his eyes very natural, and takes a look, and says : 

"Hello, why I'm at /io;;ie ! How's that ? Where's the raft ? " 

"It's all right," I says. 

"And //w .?" 

" The same, " I says, but couldn't say it pretty brash. But 
he never noticed, but says: 

"Good ! Splendid ! Noiv we're all right and safe! Did 
you tell Aunty?" I was going to say yes; but she chipped 
in and says : 

'' About what, Sid?" 

"Why, about the way the whole thing was done. " 

"What whole thing?" 

** Why, the whole thing. There ain't but one; how we set 
the runaway nigger free — me and Tom. " 

"Good land! Set the run — What z> the child talking 
about! Dear, dear, out of his head again! " 

"iV^, I ain't out of my head; I know all what I'm talking 
about. We did set him free — me and Tom. We laid out to 
do it, and we done it. And w^e done it elegant, too. " He'd 
got a start, and she never checked him up, just set and stared 
and stared, and let him clip along, and I see it warn't no use 
for 7ne to put in. " Why, Aunty, it cost us a power of work — 
weeks of it — hours and hours, every night, whilst you was all 
asleep. And we had to steal candles, and the sheet, and the 
shirt, and your dress, and spoons, and tin plates, and case- 
knives, and the warming-pan, and the grindstone, and flour, 
and just no end of things, and you can't think what work it 
was to make the saws, and pens, and inscriptions, and one 
thing or another, and you can't think half tht fun it was. And 
we had to make up the pictures of coffins and things, and 
nonnamous letters from the robbers, and get up and down the 
lightning-rod, and dig the hole into the cabin, and make the 
rope-ladder and send it in cooked up in a pie, and send in 
spoons and things to work with, in your apron pocket " 


Mercy sakes ! " 
-" and load up the cabin with rats and snakes and so on, 

for company for Jim; and then you kept Tom here so long 
with the butter in his hat that you come near spiling the whole 
business, because the men come before we was out of the cabin, 
and we had to rush, and they heard us and let drive at us, and 
I got my share, and we dodged out of the path and let them 
go by, and when the dogs come they warn't interested in us, 
but went for the most noise, and we got our canoe, and made 
for the raft, and was all safe, and Jim was a free man, and we 
done it all by ourselves, and wasnt it bully. Aunty ! " 

''Well, I never heard the likes of it in all my born days ! 
So it was j<??/, you little rapscallions, that's been maknig all 
this trouble, and turned everybody's wits clean inside out and 
scared us all most to death. I've as good a notion as ever I 
had in my life, to take it out o' you this very minute. To 
think, here I've been, night after night, a — yotc just get well 
once, you young scamp, and I lay I'll tan the Old Harry out 
o' both o' ye ! " 

But Tom, he was so proud and joyful, he just couldn't hold 
in, and his tongue just went it — she a-chipping in, and spitting 
fire all along, and both of them going it at once, like a cat- 
convention; and she says: 

" Well, you get all the enjoyment you can out of it now, 
for mind I tell you if I catch you meddling with him again " 

"Meddling with who?'' Tom says, dropping his smile and 
looking surprised. 

" With who ? Why, the runaway nigger, of course. Who'd 
you reckon ? " 

Tom looks at me very grave, and says: 

** Tom, didn't you just tell me he was all right? Hasn't he 
got away ? " 

"j^y/;;/.?" says Aunt Sally; "the runaway nigger? 'Deed he 
hasn't. They've got him back, safe and sound, and he's in 
that cabin again, on bread and water, and loaded down with 
chains, till he's claimed or sold ! " 

Tom rose square up in bed, with his eye hot, and his nos- 
trils opening and shutting like gills, and sings out to me : 

" They hain't no right to shut him up ! Shove! — and don't 
you lose a minute. Turn him loose! he ain't no slave; he's 
as free as any cretur that walks this earth! " 


"What does the child mean ? " 

*'I mean every word I say\ Aunt Sally, and if somebody 
don't go, /'// go. I've knowed him all his life, and so has 
Tom, there. Old Miss Watson died two months ago, and 
she was ashamed she ever was going to sell him down the 
river, and said so; and she set him free in her will." 

" Then what on earth Ci\A you want to set him free for, see- 
ing he was already free ? " 

" Well, that is a question, I must say; and just like women! 
Why, I wanted the adventure of it; and I'd a waded neck- 
deep in blood to — goodness alive. Aunt Polly! " 

If she warn't standing right there, just inside the door, 
looking as sweet and contented as an angel half-full of pie, I 
wish I may never! 

Aunt Sally jumped for^her, and most hugged the head off 
of her, and cried over her, and I found a good enough place 
for me under the bed, for it was getting pretty sultry for us^ 
seemed to me. And I peeped out, and in a little while Tom's 
Aunt Polly shook herself loose and stood there looking across 
at Tom over her spectacles — kind of grinding him into the 
earth, you know. And then she says: 

** Yes, you better turn y'r head away — I would if I was you, 

"Oh, deary me!" says Aunt Sally; "/j-he changed so? 
Why, that ain't Tom it's Sid; Tom's — Tom's — why, where is 
Tom ? He was here a minute ago.' ' 

"You mean where's Huck Fifiii — that's what you mean! 
I reckon I hain't raised such a scamp as my Tom all these 
years, not to know him when I see him. That would be a 
pretty howdy-do. Come out from under that bed, Huck 

So I done it. But not feeling brash. 

Aunt Sally she was one of the mixed-upest looking persons 
I ever see; except one, and that was Uncle Silas, when he 
come in, and they told it all to him. It kind of made him 
drunk, as you may say, and he didn't know nothing at all the 
rest of the day, and preached a prayer-meeting sermon that 
night that give him a rattling ruputation, because the oldest 
man in the world couldn't a understood it. So Tom's Aunt 
Polly, she told all about who 1 was, and what; and I had to 
up and tell how I was in such a tight place that when Mrs. 



Phelps took me for Tom Sawyer — she chipped in and says, 
'- Oh, go on and call me Aunt Sally, I'm used to it, now, and 
'tain't no need to change " — that when Aunt Sally took me 
for Tom Sawyer, I had to stand it — there warn't no other 
way, and I knowed he wouldn't mind, because it would be 
nuts for him, being a mystery, and he'd make an adventure 
out of it and be perfectly satisfied. And so it turned out, 
and he let on to be Sid, and made things as soft as he could 
for me. 


And his Aunt Polly she said Tom was right about old Miss 
Watson setting Jim free in her will; and so, sure enough, 
Tom Sawyer had gone and took all that trouble and bother 
to set a free nigger free! and I couldn't ever understand, be- 
fore, until that minute and that talk, how he coti/d help a body 
set a nigger free, with his bringing-up. 

Well, Aunt Polly she said that when Aunt Sally wrote to 
her that Tom and Sid had come, all right and safe, she says 
to herself: 


♦* Look at that, now! I might have expected it, letting 
him go off that way without anybody to watch him. So now 
I got to go and trapse all the way down the river, eleven 
hundred mile, and find out what that creetur's up to, this 
time; as long as I couldn't seem to get any answer out of 
you about it." 

"Why, I never heard nothing from you," says Aunt Sally. 

" Well, I wonder! Why, I wrote to you twice, to ask you 
what you could mean by Sid being here." 

" Well, I never got 'em, Sis." 

Aunt Polly, she turns around slow and severe, and says: 

''You, Tom!" 

" Well — what? " he says, kind of pettish. 

" Don't you what me, you impudent thing — hand out them 

" What letters ? " 

" Them letters. I be bound, if I have to take aholt of 
you I'll " 

" They're in the trunk. There, now. And they're just the 
same as they was when I got them out of the office. I hain't 
looked into them, I hain't touched them. But I knowed 
they'd make trouble, and I thought if you warn't in no hurry, 
I'd " 

"Well, you do need skinning, there ain't no mistake about 
it. And I wTote another one to tell you I was coming; and 
I spose he " 

"No, it come yesterday; I hain't read it yet, but ifs all 
right, I've got that one." 

I wanted to offer to bet two dollars she hadn't, but I reckon- 
ed maybe it was just as safe to not to. So I never said 



THE first time I catched Tom, private, I asked him what 
was his idea, time of the evasion ? — what it was he'd 
planned to do if the evasion worked all right and he managed 
to set a nigger free that was already free before ? And he 
said, what he had planned in his head, from the start, if we got 
Jim out all safe, was for us to run him down the river, on the 
raft, and have adventures plumb to the mouth of the river, 
and then tell him about his being free, and take him back up 
home on a steamboat, in style, and pay him for his lost time, 
and write word ahead and get out all the niggers around, and 
have them waltz him into town with a torchlight procession 
and a brass band, and then he would be a hero, and so would 
we. But I reckoned it was about as well the way it was. 

We had Jim out of the chains in no time, and when Aunt 
Polly and Uncle Silas and Aunt Sally found out how good 
he helped the doctor nurse Tom, they made a heap of fuss 
over him, and fixed him up prime, and give him all he want- 
ed to eat, and a good time, and nothing to do. And we had him 
up to the sick-room; and had a high talk; and Tom give Jim 
forty dollars for being prisoner for us so patient, and doing 
it up so good, and Jim was pleased most to death, and bust- 
ed out, and says: 

^^ Dah^ now, Huck, what I tell you ? — what I tell you updah 
on Jackson islan' ? I tole you I got a hairy breas', en what's de 
sign un it; en I tole you I ben rich wunst, en gwineter to be 
rich agin J en it's come true; en heah she is ! Dah, now! doan' 
talk to me — signs is signs , mine I tell you; en I knowed jis' 
's well 'at I 'uz gwineter be rich agin as I's a stannin' heah dis 
minute! " 

And then Tom he talked along, and talked along, and says, 
le's all three slide out of here, one of these nights, and get 
an outfi.t, and go for howling adventures amongst the Injuns, 
over in the Territory, for a couple of weeks or two; and I 
says, all right, that suits me, but I aint got no money for to 
buy the outfit, and I reckon I couldn't get none from home, 
because it's likely pap's been back before now, and got it all 
away from Judge Thatcher and drunk it up. 

'' No, he hain't," Tom says; *' it's all there, yet — six thou- 



sand dollars and more; and your pap hain't ever been back 
since. Hadn't when I come away, anyhow." 

Jim says, kind of solemn: 

" He ain't a comin' back no mo', Huck." 

I says: 

"Why, Jim?" 

"Nemmine why, Huck — but he ain't comin' back no mo*," 

But I kept at him; so at last he says: 

" Doan' you 'member de house dat was float'n down de 
river, en dey wuz a man in dah, kivered up, en I went in en 
unkivered him and didn' let you come in ? Well, den, you 
k'n git yo' money when you wants it; kase dat wuz him." 

Tom's most well, now, and got his bullet around his neck 
on a watch-guard for a watch, and is always seeing what time 
it is, and so there ain't nothing more to write about, and I am 
rotten glad of it, because if I'd a knowed what a trouble it 
was to make a book I wouldn't a tackled it and ain't agoing 
to no more. But I reckon I got to light out for the Terri- 
tory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to 
adopt me and sivilize me and I can't stand it. I been there 

ye III' . 






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It is both a pleasure and a privilege to taste of this literary feast, a mental feast unparal- 
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From John Greenleaf Whittier. 

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The plan and execution seem to me deserving of unqualified praise. A breath of the 
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In their brief introduction they give us at once the right point of view, and then they 
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which could hardly have been more complete. 

From John Bigelovv, Ex-United States Minister to France. 

21 Gramercv Park, Nov. 22, i88g. 
This library is one thing at least we may exhibit at the Great Fair of 1892, without the 
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John Bigelow. 
From Mark Twain. 
If one would think or laugh or cry, or feed his pity or love or charity, or lash himself 
into a fury, he may choose his emotion and turn to the things that will lift it to an ecstasy 
every time. 

With it on the shelf, one may say to anybody — Name your mood, and I will satisfy its 
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From Professor John Fiske, of Harvard University 

Cambridge, Jan. 25, 1889. 
The book will be of great service to the student of American history and American lit- 
erature. Very sincerely yours, John Fiske. 

From Dr. W. T. Harris, United States Commissioner of Education. 

Department of the Interior, \ 
Bureau of EdiUCation. ) 
Washington, Dec. 20, 2889. 
1 do not see how any school in America can spare this work from its reference library 
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' am sure that every private individual will purchase it for his own library, if he has to 
cut oflf for a time his purchase of other literature. Very respectfully, W. T. Harris. 
From Professor Moses Coit Tyler, 

Cornell University, May 23, 1888. 
I can truthfully say that I am much impressed by the tact and felicity of the choice 
which has been made of these specimens of our literature. Faithfully yours, 

Moses Coit Taylor. 
From Hiram Orcutt, LL. D., Manager Bureau of Education, Boston. 

Boston, March 10, 1890. 
The editors of this great work are to be congratulated upon their success, and the gen- 
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:^;;^<t,^^^^f ^ .;-^'' 


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LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. An octavo volume of 

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Among his native scenes, he here describes his own early- 
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i mm mmm of mligis mm%i, 


MOUNT CARMEL, with the village of Haifa and the mouth of the Kishon. 

Large Octavo, i,ooo Double Column Pages, Beautifully Il- 
lustrated by Wood-cuts, and Plain and Colored Maps. 
Edited by Rev. Elias Benjamin Sanford, M. A., as- 
sisted by over thirty of the most eminefit religions scholars 
in the cou7ttry, a7nofig whom are Rev. Thomas Armitage, 
D. D.^ Rev. David D. Demarest, D. D., Rev. Edward 
Everett Hale., D. D., Rev. Euge/te Russell Hendricks, D. 
D., LL. D., Rev. William Stevens Ferry, D. £>., LL. D.y 
Rev. Chas. S. Robinson, JD. />., LL. D., Rev. David 
Steele, D. D., Rev. John H. Vincent, D. D., LL. D., 
Rev. Edmund Jacob Wolf, D. D., and Rev Selah Mer- 
rill, D. D., LL. D. 
The work is absolutely unsectarian, as this partial list of 
contributors will show. There have been Bible Dictionaries, 
Religious Encyclopedias, etc., but the good ones are too ex- 
pensive for many who desire them, and the cheap ones too 
condensed, and often unreliable. // has been our object to 
offer to the public an exhaustive aiid accurate work of reference, 
covering all religious kuoiuledge, at a price far below that of 
any other works worthy of comparison with it. 

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Yale I,ectures on Pfeaching, and Other Wfitinpi 


Edited by Richard E. Burton. An Octavo Volume of 640 Pages, 
with Steel-Portrait Frontispiece. 

Twelve of the twenty lectures were given in the Lyman 
Beecher course, the remaining eight as special lectures sub- 
sequently. Some of the topics treated are: '' The Call to the 
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ing;" " Imagination in Sermons; " '' Short Sermons; " "Ex- 
tra Parishional Faithfulness;" "Parish Inconveniences;" 
"Ceremonial Occasions;" "The Right Conduct of Public 
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vice of Art in Religion; " "' Order in Sermon Topics; " " As- 
similation of Sermon Material;" " Veracity in Ministers;" 
" High-Heartedness in the Ministry; " "Routine: Its Perils 
and its Values." In addition to these are nine sermons and 
eight addresses, including a notable one on Agnosticism, and 
a selection from foreign letters. The work opens with 
memorial addresses by President Dwight, Dr. Bacon, and 
Rev. J. H. Twitchell. 

/^^ ^/^^^, $3 75 

To clergymen^ - - - - - -3 00 

The Yale Lectures of Dr. Burton are extremely rich, fresh, and brilliant; full of his 
charming and fascinating personal force. I read them, as well as the sermons and ad- 
dresses which are joined with them in the volume, . . . with a glow of enjoyment 
which the remembrance of them still brings back. — Rev. Dr. R. S. Storrs, Brooklyn. 

It is a rare book in thought and in style, and ought to be widely circulated. Ministers 
will prize it highly, but all intelligent readers will be deeply interested, and will wonder 
that they had. not earlier received something from so fertile a mind, and from a pen so 
captivating. — Rev. Dr. Patten, President Howard University, Washington, D. C, 

AReplf to Professor fiiiffis's Inaupial Address, 


No one interested in the controversy of which Professor 
Briggs is the central figure can afford to leave unread this 
brilliant and learned reply. 

Pamphlet for??i^ - - - - - $025 



In two Octavo Volumes. Two Steel-Portraits by Marshall and by 

Ritchie. Two Etchings, Numerous Maps, Plans, and Fac-Sim- 

iles of Handwriting. 

This is a standard work, and all future American historians will 

consult its pages in compiling their histories. It will find a place in 

every cultured home, and in every public library in the land. It is 

as great and enduring as the wonderful man who wrote it. 

He has succeeded in achieving a literary style which is a model of directness, force, and 
lucidity. . . . His story b one of unflagging interest. . . . His crisp, plain sentences show 
the habit of sharp, well-defined thought. — New York Critic. 

A work rich in reminiscences. . . . Jtis destined to become memorable, and to hold a 
prominent place among the literature of military autobiography. . . . It is full of vivid in- 
terest. ... It has a literary quality of its own which immediately recommends it to the 
delighted reader. — New York Herald. 

It is a model of simplicity and directness. . . . There is not a d till page in the vol- 
titne. ... It will be an essential authority for all future histories of the war. — New York 

General Grant's autobiography is among the rare works which combine historic value 
with the keenest personal interest. — The Times, London, England. 

The narrative has, from beginning to end, an absorbing interest. — Boston Journal. 

It is a most delightful work, one of the world's greatest biographies. —Bostcm Transcript. 

A book that will find readers wherever there are men and women. — Picayune, New 

The volumes are having a wonderful sale. Everybody who makes any pretensions to 
a library wants them. — Savannah Mortting News. 


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