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(Tom Sawyer's Comrade)




(Samuel L. Clemens)


PERSONS attempting to find a motive in this narra-

tive 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.


Per G.G., Chief of Ordnance.



IN this book a number of dialects are used, to wit:

the Missouri negro dialect; the extremest form of the

backwoods Southwestern dialect; the ordinary "Pike

County" dialect; and four modified varieties of this

last. The shadings have not been done in a hap-

hazard fashion, or by guesswork; but painstakingly,

and with the trustworthy guidance and support of

personal familiarity with these several forms of speech.

I make this explanation for the reason that without

it many readers would suppose that all these characters

were trying to talk alike and not succeeding.





Scene: The Mississippi Valley

Time: Forty to fifty years ago



YOU don't know about me without you have read a

book by the name of The Adventures of Tom

Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was

made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth,

mainly. There was things which he stretched, but

mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never

seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it

was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary. Aunt

Polly -- Tom's Aunt Polly, she is -- and Mary, and

the Widow Douglas is all told about in that book,

which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as

I said before.

Now the way that the book winds up is this: Tom

and me found the money that the robbers hid in the

cave, and it made us rich. We got six thousand dollars

apiece -- all gold. It was an awful sight of money

when it was piled up. Well, Judge Thatcher he took

it and put it out at interest, and it fetched us a dollar

a day apiece all the year round -- more than a body

could tell what to do with. The Widow Douglas she

took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize

me; but it was rough living in the house all the time,

considering how dismal regular and decent the widow

was in all her ways; and so when I couldn't stand it

no longer I lit out. I got into my old rags and my

sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied. But

Tom Sawyer he hunted me up and said he was going

to start a band of robbers, and I might join if I would

go back to the widow and be respectable. So I went


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 any-

body, being gone, you see, yet finding a power of

fault with me for doing a thing that had some good in

it. And she took snuff, too; of course that was all

right, because she done it herself.

Her sister, Miss Watson, a tolerable slim old maid,

with goggles on, had just come to live with her, and

took a set at me now with a spelling-book. She

worked me middling hard for about an hour, and then

the widow made her ease up. I couldn't stood it

much longer. Then for an hour it was deadly dull,

and I was fidgety. Miss Watson would say, "Don't

put your feet up there, Huckleberry;" and "Don't

scrunch up like that, Huckleberry -- set up straight;"

and pretty soon she would say, "Don't gap and stretch

like that, Huckleberry -- why don't you try to be-

have?" Then she told me all about the bad place,

and I said I wished I was there. She got mad then,

but I didn't mean no harm. All I wanted was to go

somewheres; all I wanted was a change, I warn't

particular. She said it was wicked to say what I said;

said she wouldn't say it for the whole world; she was

going to live so as to go to the good place. Well, I

couldn't see no advantage in going where she was

going, so I made up my mind I wouldn't try for it.

But I never said so, because it would only make

trouble, and wouldn't do no good.

Now she had got a start, and she went on and told

me all about the good place. She said all a body

would have to do there was to go around all day long

with a harp and sing, forever and ever. So I didn't

think much of it. But I never said so. I asked her if

she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she

said not by a considerable sight. I was glad about

that, because I wanted him and me to be together.

Miss Watson she kept pecking at me, and it got

tiresome and lonesome. By and by they fetched the

niggers in and had prayers, and then everybody was

off to bed. I went up to my room with a piece of

candle, and put it on the table. Then I set down in a

chair by the window and tried to think of something

cheerful, but it warn't no use. I felt so lonesome I

most wished I was dead. The stars were shining, and

the leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and

I heard an owl, away off, who-whooing about some-

body that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog cry-

ing about somebody that was going to die; and the

wind was trying to whisper something to me, and I

couldn't make out what it was, and so it made the cold

shivers run over me. Then away out in the woods I

heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it

wants to tell about something that's on its mind and

can't make itself understood, and so can't rest easy in

its grave, and has to go about that way every night

grieving. I got so down-hearted and scared I did wish

I had some company. Pretty soon a spider went

crawling up my shoulder, and I flipped it off and it lit

in the candle; and before I could budge it was all

shriveled up. I didn't need anybody to tell me that

that was an awful bad sign and would fetch me some

bad luck, so I was scared and most shook the clothes

off of me. I got up and turned around in my tracks

three times and crossed my breast every time; and

then I tied up a little lock of my hair with a thread to

keep witches away. But I hadn't no confidence.

You do that when you've lost a horseshoe that you've

found, instead of nailing it up over the door, but I

hadn't ever heard anybody say it was any way to keep

off bad luck when you'd killed a spider.

I set down again, a-shaking all over, and got out my

pipe for a smoke; for the house was all as still as

death now, and so the widow wouldn't know. Well,

after a long time I heard the clock away off in the

town go boom -- boom -- boom -- twelve licks; and

all still again -- stiller than ever. Pretty soon I heard

a twig snap down in the dark amongst the trees --

something was a stirring. I set still and listened.

Directly I could just barely hear a "me-yow! me-

yow!" down there. That was good! Says I, "me-

yow! me-yow!" as soft as I could, and then I put

out the light and scrambled out of the window on to

the shed. Then I slipped down to the ground and

crawled in among the trees, and, sure enough, there

was Tom Sawyer waiting for me.



WE went tiptoeing along a path amongst the trees

back towards the end of the widow's garden,

stooping down so as the branches wouldn't scrape our

heads. When we was passing by the kitchen I fell

over a root and made a noise. We scrouched down

and laid still. Miss Watson's big nigger, named Jim,

was setting in the kitchen door; we could see him

pretty clear, because there was a light behind him.

He got up and stretched his neck out about a minute,

listening. Then he says:

"Who dah?"

He listened some more; then he come tiptoeing

down and stood right between us; we could a touched

him, nearly. Well, likely it was minutes and minutes

that there warn't a sound, and we all there so close

together. There was a place on my ankle that got to

itching, but I dasn't scratch it; and then my ear begun

to itch; and next my back, right between my shoul-

ders. Seemed like I'd die if I couldn't scratch. Well,

I've noticed that thing plenty times since. If you are

with the quality, or at a funeral, or trying to go to

sleep when you ain't sleepy -- if you are anywheres

where it won't do for you to scratch, why you will itch

all over in upwards of a thousand places. Pretty soon

Jim says:

"Say, who is you? Whar is you? Dog my cats

ef I didn' hear sumf'n. Well, I know what I's gwyne

to do: I's gwyne to set down here and listen tell I

hears it agin."

So he set down on the ground betwixt me and Tom.

He leaned his back up against a tree, and stretched his

legs out till one of them most touched one of mine.

My nose begun to itch. It itched till the tears come

into my eyes. But I dasn't scratch. Then it begun

to itch on the inside. Next I got to itching under-

neath. I didn't know how I was going to set still.

This miserableness went on as much as six or seven

minutes; but it seemed a sight longer than that. I

was itching in eleven different places now. I reckoned

I couldn't stand it more'n a minute longer, but I set

my teeth hard and got ready to try. Just then Jim

begun to breathe heavy; next he begun to snore --

and then I was pretty soon comfortable again.

Tom he made a sign to me -- kind of a little noise

with his mouth -- and we went creeping away on our

hands and knees. When we was ten foot off Tom

whispered to me, and wanted to tie Jim to the tree for

fun. But I said no; he might wake and make a dis-

turbance, and then they'd find out I warn't in. Then

Tom said he hadn't got candles enough, and he would

slip in the kitchen and get some more. I didn't want

him to try. I said Jim might wake up and come.

But Tom wanted to resk it; so we slid in there and got

three candles, and Tom laid five cents on the table for

pay. Then we got out, and I was in a sweat to get

away; but nothing would do Tom but he must crawl

to where Jim was, on his hands and knees, and play

something on him. I waited, and it seemed a good

while, everything was so still and lonesome.

As soon as Tom was back we cut along the path,

around the garden fence, and by and by fetched up on

the steep top of the hill the other side of the house.

Tom said he slipped Jim's hat off of his head and hung

it on a limb right over him, and Jim stirred a little, but

he didn't wake. Afterwards Jim said the witches be-

witched him and put him in a trance, and rode him all

over the State, and then set him under the trees again,

and hung his hat on a limb to show who done it. And

next time Jim told it he said they rode him down to

New Orleans; and, after that, every time he told it he

spread it more and more, till by and by he said they

rode him all over the world, and tired him most to

death, and his back was all over saddle-boils. Jim

was monstrous proud about it, and he got so he

wouldn't hardly notice the other niggers. Niggers

would come miles to hear Jim tell about it, and he was

more looked up to than any nigger in that country.

Strange niggers would stand with their mouths open

and look him all over, same as if he was a wonder.

Niggers is always talking about witches in the dark by

the kitchen fire; but whenever one was talking and

letting on to know all about such things, Jim would

happen in and say, "Hm! What you know 'bout

witches?" and that nigger was corked up and had to

take a back seat. Jim always kept that five-center

piece round his neck with a string, and said it was a

charm the devil give to him with his own hands, and

told him he could cure anybody with it and fetch

witches whenever he wanted to just by saying some-

thing to it; but he never told what it was he said to it.

Niggers would come from all around there and give

Jim anything they had, just for a sight of that five-

center piece; but they wouldn't touch it, because the

devil had had his hands on it. Jim was most ruined

for a servant, because he got stuck up on account of

having seen the devil and been rode by witches.

Well, when Tom and me got to the edge of the hill-

top we looked away down into the village and could

see three or four lights twinkling, where there was sick

folks, maybe; and the stars over us was sparkling ever

so fine; and down by the village was the river, a whole

mile broad, and awful still and grand. We went down

the hill and found Jo Harper and Ben Rogers, and

two or three more of the boys, hid in the old tanyard.

So we unhitched a skiff and pulled down the river two

mile and a half, to the big scar on the hillside, and

went ashore.

We went to a clump of bushes, and Tom made

everybody swear to keep the secret, and then showed

them a hole in the hill, right in the thickest part of the

bushes. Then we lit the candles, and crawled in on

our hands and knees. We went about two hundred

yards, and then the cave opened up. Tom poked

about amongst the passages, and pretty soon ducked

under a wall where you wouldn't a noticed that there

was a hole. We went along a narrow place and got

into a kind of room, all damp and sweaty and cold,

and there we stopped. Tom says:

"Now, we'll start this band of robbers and call it

Tom Sawyer's Gang. Everybody that wants to join

has got to take an oath, and write his name in blood."

Everybody was willing. So Tom got out a sheet of

paper that he had wrote the oath on, and read it. It

swore every boy to stick to the band, and never tell

any of the secrets; and if anybody done anything to

any boy in the band, whichever boy was ordered to

kill that person and his family must do it, and he

mustn't eat and he mustn't sleep till he had killed them

and hacked a cross in their breasts, which was the sign

of the band. And nobody that didn't belong to the

band could use that mark, and if he did he must be

sued; and if he done it again he must be killed. And

if anybody that belonged to the band told the secrets,

he must have his throat cut, and then have his carcass

burnt up and the ashes scattered all around, and his

name blotted off of the list with blood and never men-

tioned again by the gang, but have a curse put on it

and be forgot forever.

Everybody said it was a real beautiful oath, and

asked Tom if he got it out of his own head. He said,

some of it, but the rest was out of pirate-books and

robber-books, and every gang that was high-toned

had it.

Some thought it would be good to kill the FAMILIES

of boys that told the secrets. Tom said it was a good

idea, so he took a pencil and wrote it in. Then Ben

Rogers says:

"Here's Huck Finn, he hain't got no family; what

you going to do 'bout him?"

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

"Yes, he's got a father, but you can't never find

him these days. He used to lay drunk with the hogs

in the tanyard, but he hain't been seen in these parts

for a year or more."

They talked it over, and they was going to rule me

out, because they said every boy must have a family

or somebody to kill, or else it wouldn't be fair and

square for the others. Well, nobody could think of

anything to do -- everybody was stumped, and set

still. I was most ready to cry; but all at once I

thought of a way, and so I offered them Miss Watson

-- they could kill her. Everybody said:

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


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 busi-

ness 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 rob-

bery; it's burglary," says Tom Sawyer. "We ain't

burglars. That ain't no sort of style. We are high-

waymen. We stop stages and carriages on the road,

with masks on, and kill the people and take their

watches and money."

"Must we always kill the people?"

"Oh, certainly. It's best. Some authorities think

different, but mostly it's considered best to kill them --

except some that you bring to the cave here, and keep

them till they're ransomed."

"Ransomed? What's that?"

"I don't know. But that's what they do. I've

seen it in books; and so of course that's what we've

got to do."

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

"Why, blame it all, we've GOT to do it. Don't I tell

you it's in the books? Do you want to go to doing

different from what's in the books, and get things all

muddled up?"

"Oh, that's all very fine to SAY, Tom Sawyer, but

how in the nation are these fellows going to be ran-

somed if we don't know how to do it to them? -- that's

the thing I want to get at. Now, what do you reckon

it is?"

"Well, I don't know. But per'aps if we keep them

till they're ransomed, it means that we keep them till

they're dead. "

"Now, that's something LIKE. That'll answer.

Why couldn't you said that before? We'll keep them

till they're ransomed to death; and a bothersome lot

they'll be, too -- eating up everything, and always

trying to get loose."

"How you talk, Ben Rogers. How can they get

loose when there's a guard over them, ready to shoot

them down if they move a peg?"

"A guard! Well, that IS good. So somebody's

got to set up all night and never get any sleep, just so

as to watch them. I think that's foolishness. Why

can't a body take a club and ransom them as soon as

they get here?"

"Because it ain't in the books so -- that's why.

Now, Ben Rogers, do you want to do things regular,

or don't you? -- that's the idea. Don't you reckon

that the people that made the books knows what's the

correct thing to do? Do you reckon YOU can learn

'em anything? Not by a good deal. No, sir, we'll

just go on and ransom them in the regular way."

"All right. I don't mind; but I say it's a fool

way, anyhow. Say, do we kill the women, too?"

"Well, Ben Rogers, if I was as ignorant as you I

wouldn't let on. Kill the women? No; nobody ever

saw anything in the books like that. You fetch them

to the cave, and you're always as polite as pie to them;

and by and by they fall in love with you, and never

want to go home any more."

"Well, if that's the way I'm agreed, but I don't

take no stock in it. Mighty soon we'll have the cave

so cluttered up with women, and fellows waiting to be

ransomed, that there won't be no place for the rob-

bers. But go ahead, I ain't got nothing to say."

Little Tommy Barnes was asleep now, and when

they waked him up he was scared, and cried, and said

he wanted to go home to his ma, and didn't want to

be a robber any more.

So they all made fun of him, and called him cry-

baby, and that made him mad, and he said he would

go straight and tell all the secrets. But Tom give him

five cents to keep quiet, and said we would all go home

and meet next week, and rob somebody and kill some


Ben Rogers said he couldn't get out much, only

Sundays, and so he wanted to begin next Sunday; but

all the boys said it would be wicked to do it on Sunday,

and that settled the thing. They agreed to get to-

gether and fix a day as soon as they could, and then

we elected Tom Sawyer first captain and Jo Harper

second captain of the Gang, and so started home.

I clumb up the shed and crept into my window just

before day was breaking. My new clothes was all

greased up and clayey, and I was dog-tired.



WELL, I got a good going-over in the morning

from old Miss Watson on account of my

clothes; but the widow she didn't scold, but only

cleaned off the grease and clay, and looked so sorry

that I thought I would behave awhile if I could. Then

Miss Watson she took me in the closet and prayed, but

nothing come of it. She told me to pray every day,

and whatever I asked for I would get it. But it warn't

so. I tried it. Once I got a fish-line, but no hooks.

It warn't any good to me without hooks. I tried for

the hooks three or four times, but somehow I couldn't

make it work. By and by, one day, I asked Miss

Watson to try for me, but she said I was a fool. She

never told me why, and I couldn't make it out no way.

I set down one time back in the woods, and had a

long think about it. I says to myself, if a body can

get anything they pray for, why don't Deacon Winn

get back the money he lost on pork? Why can't the

widow get back her silver snuffbox that was stole?

Why can't Miss Watson fat up? No, says I to my

self, there ain't nothing in it. I went and told the

widow about it, and she said the thing a body could

get by praying for it was "spiritual gifts." This was

too many for me, but she told me what she meant -- I

must help other people, and do everything I could for

other people, and look out for them all the time, and

never think about myself. This was including Miss

Watson, as I took it. I went out in the woods and

turned it over in my mind a long time, but I couldn't

see no advantage about it -- except for the other 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 considerable

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 a-going to be any better off then than

what he was before, seeing I was so ignorant, and so

kind of low-down and ornery.

Pap he hadn't been seen for more than a year, and

that was comfortable for me; I didn't want to see him

no more. He used to always whale me when he was

sober and could get his hands on me; though I used

to take to the woods most of the time when he was

around. Well, about this time he was found in the

river drownded, about twelve mile above town, so

people said. They judged it was him, anyway; said

this drownded man was just his size, and was ragged,

and had uncommon long hair, which was all like pap;

but they couldn't make nothing out of the face, be-

cause it had been in the water so long it warn't much

like a face at all. They said he was floating on his

back in the water. They took him and buried him on

the bank. But I warn't comfortable long, because I

happened to think of something. I knowed mighty

well that a drownded man don't float on his back, but

on his face. So I knowed, then, that this warn't pap,

but a woman dressed up in a man's clothes. So I was

uncomfortable again. I judged the old man would

turn up again by and by, though I wished he wouldn't.

We played robber now and then about a month, and

then I resigned. All the boys did. We hadn't robbed

nobody, hadn't killed any people, but only just pre-

tended. We used to hop out of the woods and go

charging down on hog-drivers and women in carts

taking garden stuff to market, but we never hived any

of them. Tom Sawyer called the hogs "ingots," and

he called the turnips and stuff "julery," and we would

go to the cave and powwow over what we had done,

and how many people we had killed and marked. But

I couldn't see no profit in it. One time Tom sent a

boy to run about town with a blazing stick, which he

called a slogan (which was the sign for the Gang to

get together), and then he said he had got secret news

by his spies that next day a whole parcel of Spanish

merchants and rich A-rabs was going to camp in Cave

Hollow with two hundred elephants, and six hundred

camels, and over a thousand "sumter" mules, all

loaded down with di'monds, and they didn't have only

a guard of four hundred soldiers, and so we would lay

in ambuscade, as he called it, and kill the lot and

scoop the things. He said we must slick up our swords

and guns, and get ready. He never could go after

even a turnip-cart but he must have the swords and

guns all scoured up for it, though they was only lath

and broomsticks, and you might scour at them till you

rotted, and then they warn't worth a mouthful of ashes

more than what they was before. I didn't believe we

could lick such a crowd of Spaniards and A-rabs, but

I wanted to see the camels and elephants, so I was on

hand next day, Saturday, in the ambuscade; and when

we got the word we rushed out of the woods and down

the hill. But there warn't no Spaniards and A-rabs,

and there warn't no camels nor no elephants. It

warn't anything but a Sunday-school picnic, and only

a primer-class at that. We busted it up, and chased

the children up the hollow; but we never got anything

but some doughnuts and jam, though Ben Rogers got

a rag doll, and Jo Harper got a hymn-book and a

tract; and then the teacher charged in, and made us

drop everything and cut. I didn't see no di'monds,

and I told Tom Sawyer so. He said there was loads

of them there, anyway; and he said there was A-rabs

there, too, and elephants and things. I said, why

couldn't we see them, then? He said if I warn't so

ignorant, but had read a book called Don Quixote, I

would know without asking. He said it was all done

by enchantment. He said there was hundreds of

soldiers there, and elephants and treasure, and so on,

but we had enemies which he called magicians; and

they had turned the whole thing into an infant Sunday-

school, just out of spite. I said, all right; then the

thing for us to do was to go for the magicians. Tom

Sawyer said I was a numskull.

"Why," said he, "a magician could call up a lot

of genies, and they would hash you up like nothing

before you could say Jack Robinson. They are as tall

as a tree and as big around as a church."

"Well," I says, "s'pose we got some genies to

help US -- can't we lick the other crowd then?"

"How you going to get them?"

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

"Why, they rub an old tin lamp or an iron ring,

and then the genies come tearing in, with the thunder

and lightning a-ripping around and the smoke a-rolling,

and everything they're told to do they up and do it.

They don't think nothing of pulling a shot-tower up

by the roots, and belting a Sunday-school superinten-

dent over the head with it -- or any other man."

"Who makes them tear around so?"

"Why, whoever rubs the lamp or the ring. They

belong to whoever rubs the lamp or the ring, and

they've got to do whatever he says. If he tells them

to build a palace forty miles long out of di'monds, and

fill it full of chewing-gum, or whatever you want, and

fetch an emperor's daughter from China for you to

marry, they've got to do it -- and they've got to do it

before sun-up next morning, too. And more: they've

got to waltz that palace around over the country

wherever you want it, you understand."

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

heads for not keeping the palace themselves 'stead of

fooling them away like that. And what's more -- if I

was one of them I would see a man in Jericho before I

would drop my business and come to him for the rub-

bing 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


"What! and I as high as a tree and as big as a

church? All right, then; I WOULD come; but I lay

I'd make that man climb the highest tree there was in

the country."

"Shucks, it ain't no use to talk to you, Huck Finn.

You don't seem to know anything, somehow -- perfect


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, any-


At first I hated the school, but by and by I got so I

could stand it. Whenever I got uncommon tired I

played hookey, and the hiding I got next day done me

good and cheered me up. So the longer I went to

school the easier it got to be. I was getting sort of

used to the widow's ways, too, and they warn't so

raspy on me. Living in a house and sleeping in a bed

pulled on me pretty tight mostly, but before the cold

weather I used to slide out and sleep in the woods

sometimes, and so that was a rest to me. I liked the

old ways best, but I was getting so I liked the new

ones, too, a little bit. The widow said I was coming

along slow but sure, and doing very satisfactory. She

said she warn't ashamed of me.

One morning I happened to turn over the salt-cellar

at breakfast. I reached for some of it as quick as I

could to throw over my left shoulder and keep off the

bad luck, but Miss Watson was in ahead of me, and

crossed me off. She says, "Take your hands away,

Huckleberry; what a mess you are always making!"

The widow put in a good word for me, but that warn't

going to keep off the bad luck, I knowed that well

enough. I started out, after breakfast, feeling worried

and shaky, and wondering where it was going to fall

on me, and what it was going to be. There is ways to

keep off some kinds of bad luck, but this wasn't one

of them kind; so I never tried to do anything, but just

poked along low-spirited and on the watch-out.

I went down to the front garden and clumb over the

stile where you go through the high board fence.

There was an inch of new snow on the ground, and I

seen somebody's tracks. They had come up from the

quarry and stood around the stile a while, and then

went on around the garden fence. It was funny they

hadn't come in, after standing around so. I couldn't

make it out. It was very curious, somehow. I was

going to follow around, but I stooped down to look at

the tracks first. I didn't notice anything at first, but

next I did. There was a cross in the left boot-heel

made with big nails, to keep off the devil.

I was up in a second and shinning down the hill. I

looked over my shoulder every now and then, but I

didn't see nobody. I was at Judge Thatcher's as quick

as I could get there. He said:

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

you come for your interest?"

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

"Oh, yes, a half-yearly is in last night -- over a

hundred and fifty dollars. Quite a fortune for you.

You had better let me invest it along with your six

thousand, because if you take it you'll spend it."

"No, sir," I says, "I don't want to spend it. I

don't want it at all -- nor the six thousand, nuther.

I want you to take it; I want to give it to you -- the

six thousand and all."

He looked surprised. He couldn't seem to make

it out. He says:

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

I says, "Don't you ask me no questions about it,

please. You'll take it -- won't you?"

He says:

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

"Please take it," says I, "and don't ask me noth-

ing -- then I won't have to tell no lies."

He studied a while, and then he says:

"Oho-o! I think I see. You want to SELL all your

property to me -- not give it. That's the correct


Then he wrote something on a paper and read it

over, and says:

"There; you see it says 'for a consideration.' That

means I have bought it of you and paid you for it.

Here's a dollar for you. Now you sign it."

So I signed it, and left.

Miss Watson's nigger, Jim, had a hair-ball as big as

your fist, which had been took out of the fourth

stomach of an ox, and he used to do magic with it.

He said there was a spirit inside of it, and it knowed

everything. So I went to him that night and told him

pap was here again, for I found his tracks in the snow.

What I wanted to know was, what he was going to do,

and was he going to stay? Jim got out his hair-ball

and said something over it, and then he held it up and

dropped it on the floor. It fell pretty solid, and only

rolled about an inch. Jim tried it again, and then

another time, and it acted just the same. Jim got

down on his knees, and put his ear against it and

listened. But it warn't no use; he said it wouldn't

talk. He said sometimes it wouldn't talk without

money. I told him I had an old slick counterfeit

quarter that warn't no good because the brass showed

through the silver a little, and it wouldn't pass nohow,

even if the brass didn't show, because it was so slick

it felt greasy, and so that would tell on it every time.

(I reckoned I wouldn't say nothing about the dollar I

got from the judge.) I said it was pretty bad money,

but maybe the hair-ball would take it, because maybe

it wouldn't know the difference. Jim smelt it and bit

it and rubbed it, and said he would manage so the

hair-ball would think it was good. He said he would

split open a raw Irish potato and stick the quarter in

between and keep it there all night, and next morning

you couldn't see no brass, and it wouldn't feel greasy

no more, and so anybody in town would take it in a

minute, let alone a hair-ball. Well, I knowed a potato

would do that before, but I had forgot it.

Jim put the quarter under the hair-ball, and got

down and listened again. This time he said the hair-

ball was all right. He said it would tell my whole

fortune if I wanted it to. I says, go on. So the hair-

ball talked to Jim, and Jim told it to me. He says:

"Yo' ole father doan' know yit what he's a-gwyne

to do. Sometimes he spec he'll go 'way, en den agin

he spec he'll stay. De bes' way is to res' easy en let

de ole man take his own way. Dey's two angels

hoverin' roun' 'bout him. One uv 'em is white en

shiny, en t'other one is black. De white one gits him

to go right a little while, den de black one sail in en

bust it all up. A body can't tell yit which one gwyne

to fetch him at de las'. But you is all right. You

gwyne to have considable trouble in yo' life, en con-

sidable joy. Sometimes you gwyne to git hurt, en

sometimes you gwyne to git sick; but every time you's

gwyne to git well agin. Dey's two gals flyin' 'bout

you in yo' life. One uv 'em's light en t'other one is

dark. One is rich en t'other is po'. You's gwyne to

marry de po' one fust en de rich one by en by. You

wants to keep 'way fum de water as much as you kin,

en don't run no resk, 'kase it's down in de bills dat

you's gwyne to git hung."

When I lit my candle and went up to my room that

night there sat pap -- his own self!



I HAD shut the door to. Then I turned around.

and there he was. I used to be scared of him all

the time, he tanned me so much. I reckoned I was

scared now, too; but in a minute I see I was mistaken

-- that is, after the first jolt, as you may say, when

my breath sort of hitched, he being so unexpected;

but right away after I see I warn't scared of him worth

bothring about.

He was most fifty, and he looked it. His hair was

long and tangled and greasy, and hung down, and you

could see his eyes shining through like he was behind

vines. It was all black, no gray; so was his long,

mixed-up whiskers. There warn't no color in his face,

where his face showed; it was white; not like another

man's white, but a white to make a body sick, a white

to make a body's flesh crawl -- a tree-toad white, a

fish-belly white. As for his clothes -- just rags, that

was all. He had one ankle resting on t'other knee;

the boot on that foot was busted, and two of his toes

stuck through, and he worked them now and then.

His hat was laying on the floor -- an old black slouch

with the top caved in, like a lid.

I stood a-looking at him; he set there a-looking at

me, with his chair tilted back a little. I set the candle

down. I noticed the window was up; so he had clumb

in by the shed. He kept a-looking me all over. By

and by he says:

"Starchy clothes -- very. You think you're a good

deal of a big-bug, DON'T you?"

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

"Don't you give me none o' your lip," says he.

"You've put on considerable many frills since I been

away. I'll take you down a peg before I get done

with you. You're educated, too, they say -- can read

and write. You think you're better'n your father,

now, don't you, because he can't? I'LL take it out of

you. Who told you you might meddle with such

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

"The widow. She told me."

"The widow, hey? -- and who told the widow she

could put in her shovel about a thing that ain't none of

her business?"

"Nobody never told her."

"Well, I'll learn her how to meddle. And looky

here -- you drop that school, you hear? I'll learn

people to bring up a boy to put on airs over his own

father and let on to be better'n what HE is. You lemme

catch you fooling around that school again, you hear?

Your mother couldn't read, and she couldn't write,

nuther, before she died. None of the family couldn't

before THEY died. I can't; and here you're a-swelling

yourself up like this. I ain't the man to stand it --

you hear? Say, lemme hear you read."

I took up a book and begun something about Gen-

eral Washington and the wars. When I'd read about

a half a minute, he fetched the book a whack with his

hand and knocked it across the house. He says:

"It's so. You can do it. I had my doubts when

you told me. Now looky here; you stop that putting

on frills. I won't have it. I'll lay for you, my

smarty; and if I catch you about that school I'll tan

you good. First you know you'll get religion, too. I

never see such a son.

He took up a little blue and yaller picture of some

cows and a boy, and says:

"What's this?"

"It's something they give me for learning my

lessons good."

He tore it up, and says:

"I'll give you something better -- I'll give you a


He set there a-mumbling and a-growling a minute,

and then he says:

"AIN'T you a sweet-scented dandy, though? A

bed; and bedclothes; and a look'n'-glass; and a piece

of carpet on the floor -- and your own father got to

sleep with the hogs in the tanyard. I never see such a

son. I bet I'll take some o' these frills out o' you

before I'm done with you. Why, there ain't no end to

your airs -- they say you're rich. Hey? -- how's that?"

"They lie -- that's how."

"Looky here -- mind how you talk to me; I'm a-

standing about all I can stand now -- so don't gimme

no sass. I've been in town two days, and I hain't

heard nothing but about you bein' rich. I heard

about it away down the river, too. That's why I

come. You git me that money to-morrow -- I want


"I hain't got no money."

"It's a lie. Judge Thatcher's got it. You git it.

I want it."

"I hain't got no money, I tell you. You ask Judge

Thatcher; he'll tell you the same."

"All right. I'll ask him; and I'll make him pungle,

too, or I'll know the reason why. Say, how much

you got in your pocket? I want it."

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

"It don't make no difference what you want it for

-- you just shell it out."

He took it and bit it to see if it was good, and then

he said he was going down town to get some whisky;

said he hadn't had a drink all day. When he had got

out on the shed he put his head in again, and cussed

me for putting on frills and trying to be better than

him; and when I reckoned he was gone he come back

and put his head in again, and told me to mind about

that school, because he was going to lay for me and

lick me if I didn't drop that.

Next day he was drunk, and he went to Judge

Thatcher's and bullyragged him, and tried to make

him give up the money; but he couldn't, and then he

swore he'd make the law force him.

The judge and the widow went to law to get the

court to take me away from him and let one of them

be my guardian; but it was a new judge that had just

come, and he didn't know the old man; so he said

courts mustn't interfere and separate families if they

could help it; said he'd druther not take a child away

from its father. So Judge Thatcher and the widow

had to quit on the business.

That pleased the old man till he couldn't rest. He

said he'd cowhide me till I was black and blue if I

didn't raise some money for him. I borrowed three

dollars from Judge Thatcher, and pap took it and got

drunk, and went a-blowing around and cussing and

whooping and carrying on; and he kept it up all over

town, with a tin pan, till most midnight; then they

jailed him, and next day they had him before court,

and jailed him again for a week. But he said HE was

satisfied; said he was boss of his son, and he'd make

it warm for HIM.

When he got out the new judge said he was a-going

to make a man of him. So he took him to his

own house, and dressed him up clean and nice, and

had him to breakfast and dinner and supper with the

family, and was just old pie to him, so to speak. And

after supper he talked to him about temperance and

such things till the old man cried, and said he'd been a

fool, and fooled away his life; but now he was a-going

to turn over a new leaf and be a man nobody wouldn't

be ashamed of, and he hoped the judge would help

him and not look down on him. The judge said he

could hug him for them words; so he cried, and his

wife she cried again; pap said he'd been a man that had

always been misunderstood before, and the judge said

he believed it. The old man said that what a man

wanted that was down was sympathy, and the judge

said it was so; so they cried again. And when it was

bedtime the old man rose up and held out his hand,

and says:

"Look at it, gentlemen and ladies all; take a-hold

of it; shake it. There's a hand that was the hand of

a hog; but it ain't so no more; it's the hand of a man

that's started in on a new life, and'll die before he'll

go back. You mark them words -- don't forget I said

them. It's a clean hand now; shake it -- don't be


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 beauti-

ful room, which was the spare room, and in the night

some time he got powerful thirsty and clumb out on to

the porch-roof and slid down a stanchion and traded his

new coat for a jug of forty-rod, and clumb back again

and had a good old time; and towards daylight he

crawled out again, drunk as a fiddler, and rolled off

the porch and broke his left arm in two places, and

was most froze to death when somebody found him

after sun-up. And when they come to look at that

spare room they had to take soundings before they

could navigate it.

The judge he felt kind of sore. He said he reckoned

a body could reform the old man with a shotgun,

maybe, but he didn't know no other way.



WELL, pretty soon the old man was up and around

again, and then he went for Judge Thatcher in

the courts to make him give up that money, and he

went for me, too, for not stopping school. He catched

me a couple of times and thrashed me, but I went to

school just the same, and dodged him or outrun him

most of the time. I didn't want to go to school much

before, but I reckoned I'd go now to spite pap. That

law trial was a slow business -- appeared like they

warn't ever going to get started on it; so every now

and then I'd borrow two or three dollars off of the

judge for him, to keep from getting a cowhiding.

Every time he got money he got drunk; and every

time he got drunk he raised Cain around town; and

every time he raised Cain he got jailed. He was just

suited -- this kind of thing was right in his line.

He got to hanging around the widow's too much

and so she told him at last that if he didn't quit using

around there she would make trouble for him. Well,

WASN'T he mad? He said he would show who was

Huck Finn's boss. So he watched out for me one day

in the spring, and catched me, and took me up the

river about three mile in a skiff, and crossed over to

the Illinois shore where it was woody and there warn't

no houses but an old log hut in a place where the

timber was so thick you couldn't find it if you didn't

know where it was.

He kept me with him all the time, and I never got a

chance to run off. We lived in that old cabin, and he

always locked the door and put the key under his head

nights. He had a gun which he had stole, I reckon,

and we fished and hunted, and that was what we lived

on. Every little while he locked me in and went down

to the store, three miles, to the ferry, and traded fish

and game for whisky, and fetched it home and got

drunk and had a good time, and licked me. The

widow she found out where I was by and by, and she

sent a man over to try to get hold of me; but pap

drove him off with the gun, and it warn't long after

that till I was used to being where I was, and liked

it -- all but the cowhide part.

It was kind of lazy and jolly, laying off comfortable

all day, smoking and fishing, and no books nor study.

Two months or more run along, and my clothes got to

be all rags and dirt, and I didn't see how I'd ever got

to like it so well at the widow's, where you had to

wash, and eat on a plate, and comb up, and go to bed

and get up regular, and be forever bothering over a

book, and have old Miss Watson pecking at you all the

time. I didn't want to go back no more. I had

stopped cussing, because the widow didn't like it; but

now I took to it again because pap hadn't no objec-

tions. 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 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 every-

thing 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 walk off with the gun and some lines, and take

to the woods when I run away. I guessed I wouldn't

stay in one place, but just tramp right across the

country, mostly night times, and hunt and fish to keep

alive, and so get so far away that the old man nor the

widow couldn't ever find me any more. I judged I

would saw out and leave that night if pap got drunk

enough, and I reckoned he would. I got so full of it

I didn't notice how long I was staying till the old man

hollered and asked me whether I was asleep or


I got the things all up to the cabin, and then it was

about dark. While I was cooking supper the old man

took a swig or two and got sort of warmed up, and

went to ripping again. He had been drunk over in

town, and laid in the gutter all night, and he was a

sight to look at. A body would a thought he was

Adam -- he was just all mud. Whenever his liquor

begun to work he most always went for the govment.

his time he says:

"Call this a govment! why, just look at it and see

what it's like. Here's the law a-standing ready to take

a man's son away from him -- a man's own son, which

he has had all the trouble and all the anxiety and all

the expense of raising. Yes, just as that man has got

that son raised at last, and ready to go to work and

begin to do suthin' for HIM and give him a rest, the law

up and goes for him. And they call THAT govment!

That ain't all, nuther. The law backs that old Judge

Thatcher up and helps him to keep me out o' my

property. Here's what the law does: The law takes a

man worth six thousand dollars and up'ards, and jams

him into an old trap of a cabin like this, and lets him

go round in clothes that ain't fitten for a hog. They

call that govment! A man can't get his rights in a

govment like this. Sometimes I've a mighty notion to

just leave the country for good and all. Yes, and I

TOLD 'em so; I told old Thatcher so to his face. Lots

of 'em heard me, and can tell what I said. Says I,

for two cents I'd leave the blamed country and never

come a-near it agin. Them's the very words. I says

look at my hat -- if you call it a hat -- but the lid

raises up and the rest of it goes down till it's below

my chin, and then it ain't rightly a hat at all, but more

like my head was shoved up through a jint o' stove-

pipe. Look at it, says I -- such a hat for me to wear

-- one of the wealthiest men in this town if I could git

my rights.

"Oh, yes, this is a wonderful govment, wonderful.

Why, looky here. There was a free nigger there from

Ohio -- a mulatter, most as white as a white man. He

had the whitest shirt on you ever see, too, and the

shiniest hat; and there ain't a man in that town that's

got as fine clothes as what he had; and he had a gold

watch and chain, and a silver-headed cane -- the awful-

est old gray-headed nabob in the State. And what do

you think? They said he was a p'fessor in a college,

and could talk all kinds of languages, and knowed

everything. And that ain't the wust. They said he

could VOTE when he was at home. Well, that let me

out. Thinks I, what is the country a-coming to? It

was 'lection day, and I was just about to go and vote

myself if I warn't too drunk to get there; but when

they told me there was a State in this country where

they'd let that nigger vote, I drawed out. I says I'll

never vote agin. Them's the very words I said; they

all heard me; and the country may rot for all me --

I'll never vote agin as long as I live. And to see the

cool way of that nigger -- why, he wouldn't a give me

the road if I hadn't shoved him out o' the way. I

says to the people, why ain't this nigger put up at

auction and sold? -- that's what I want to know. And

what do you reckon they said? Why, they said he

couldn't be sold till he'd been in the State six months,

and he hadn't been there that long yet. There, now --

that's a specimen. They call that a govment that can't

sell a free nigger till he's been in the State six months.

Here's a govment that calls itself a govment, and lets

on to be a govment, and thinks it is a govment, and

yet's got to set stock-still for six whole months before

it can take a hold of a prowling, thieving, infernal,

white-shirted free nigger, and --"

Pap was agoing on so he never noticed where his

old limber legs was taking him to, so he went head over

heels over the tub of salt pork and barked both shins,

and the rest of his speech was all the hottest kind of

language -- mostly hove at the nigger and the gov-

ment, though he give the tub some, too, all along,

here and there. He hopped around the cabin con-

siderable, first on one leg and then on the other, hold-

ing first one shin and then the other one, and at last he

let out with his left foot all of a sudden and fetched

the tub a rattling kick. But it warn't good judgment,

because that was the boot that had a couple of his toes

leaking out of the front end of it; so now he raised a

howl that fairly made a body's hair raise, and down he

went in the dirt, and rolled there, and held his toes;

and the cussing he done then laid over anything he

had ever done previous. He said so his own self after-

wards. He had heard old Sowberry Hagan in his

best days, and he said it laid over him, too; but I

reckon that was sort of piling it on, maybe.

After supper pap took the jug, and said he had

enough whisky there for two drunks and one delirium

tremens. That was always his word. I judged he

would be blind drunk in about an hour, and then I

would steal the key, or saw myself out, one or t'other.

He drank and drank, and tumbled down on his

blankets by and by; but luck didn't run my way. He

didn't go sound asleep, but was uneasy. He groaned

and moaned and thrashed around this way and that for

a long time. At last I got so sleepy I couldn't keep

my eyes open all I could do, and so before I knowed

what I was about I was sound asleep, and the candle


I don't know how long I was asleep, but all of a

sudden there was an awful scream and I was up.

There was pap looking wild, and skipping around every

which way and yelling about snakes. He said they

was crawling up his legs; and then he would give a

jump and scream, and say one had bit him on the

cheek -- but I couldn't see no snakes. He started

and run round and round the cabin, hollering "Take

him off! take him off! he's biting me on the neck!"

I never see a man look so wild in the eyes. Pretty

soon he was all fagged out, and fell down panting;

then he rolled over and over wonderful fast, kicking

things every which way, and striking and grabbing at

the air with his hands, and screaming and saying there

was devils a-hold of him. He wore out by and by,

and laid still a while, moaning. Then he laid stiller,

and didn't make a sound. I could hear the owls and

the wolves away off in the woods, and it seemed terri-

ble still. He was laying over by the corner. By and

by he raised up part way and listened, with his head

to one side. He says, very low:

"Tramp -- tramp -- tramp; that's the dead; tramp

-- tramp -- tramp; they're coming after me; but I

won't go. Oh, they're here! don't touch me -- don't!

hands off -- they're cold; let go. Oh, let a poor devil


Then he went down on all fours and crawled off,

begging them to let him alone, and he rolled himself

up in his blanket and wallowed in under the old pine

table, still a-begging; and then he went to crying. I

could hear him through the blanket.

By and by he rolled out and jumped up on his feet

looking wild, and he see me and went for me. He

chased me round and round the place with a clasp-

knife, calling me the Angel of Death, and saying he

would kill me, and then I couldn't come for him no

more. I begged, and told him I was only Huck; but

he laughed SUCH a screechy laugh, and roared and

cussed, and kept on chasing me up. Once when I

turned short and dodged under his arm he made a

grab and got me by the jacket between my shoulders,

and I thought I was gone; but I slid out of the jacket

quick as lightning, and saved myself. Pretty soon he

was all tired out, and dropped down with his back

against the door, and said he would rest a minute and

then kill me. He put his knife under him, and said

he would sleep and get strong, and then he would see

who was who.

So he dozed off pretty soon. By and by I got the

old split-bottom chair and clumb up as easy as I could,

not to make any noise, and got down the gun. I

slipped the ramrod down it to make sure it was loaded,

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.



RGIT 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 sourQand 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


"Why didn't you roust me out?"

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


"Well, all right. Don't stand there palavering all

day, but out with you and see if there's a fish on the

lines for breakfast. I'll be along in a minute."

He unlocked the door, and I cleared out up the

river-bank. I noticed some pieces of limbs and such

things floating down, and a sprinkling of bark; so I

knowed the river had begun to rise. I reckoned I

would have great times now if I was over at the town.

The June rise used to be always luck for me; because

as soon as that rise begins here comes cordwood float-

ing down, and pieces of log rafts -- sometimes a dozen

logs together; so all you have to do is to catch them

and sell them to the wood-yards and the sawmill.

I went along up the bank with one eye out for pap

and t'other one out for what the rise might fetch

along. Well, all at once here comes a canoe; just a

beauty, too, about thirteen or fourteen foot long,

riding high like a duck. I shot head-first off of the

bank like a frog, clothes and all on, and struck out for

the canoe. I just expected there'd be somebody lay-

ing down in it, because people often done that to fool

folks, and when a chap had pulled a skiff out most to

it they'd raise up and laugh at him. But it warn't so

this time. It was a drift-canoe sure enough, and I

clumb in and paddled her ashore. Thinks I, the old

man will be glad when he sees this -- she's worth ten

dollars. But when I got to shore pap wasn't in sight

yet, and as I was running her into a little creek like a

gully, all hung over with vines and willows, I struck

another idea: I judged I'd hide her good, and then,

'stead of taking to the woods when I run off, I'd go

down the river about fifty mile and camp in one place

for good, and not have such a rough time tramping on


It was pretty close to the shanty, and I thought I

heard the old man coming all the time; but I got her

hid; and then I out and looked around a bunch of

willows, and there was the old man down the path

a piece just drawing a bead on a bird with his gun. So

he hadn't seen anything.

When he got along I was hard at it taking up a

"trot" line. He abused me a little for being so slow;

but I told him I fell in the river, and that was what

made me so long. I knowed he would see I was wet,

and then he would be asking questions. We got five

catfish off the lines and went home.

While we laid off after breakfast to sleep up, both of

us being about wore out, I got to thinking that if I could

fix up some way to keep pap and the widow from trying

to follow me, it would be a certainer thing than trust-

ing to luck to get far enough off before they missed

me; you see, all kinds of things might happen. Well,

I didn't see no way for a while, but by and by pap

raised up a minute to drink another barrel of water,

and he says:

"Another time a man comes a-prowling round here

you roust me out, you hear? That man warn't here

for no good. I'd a shot him. Next time you roust

me out, you hear?"

Then he dropped down and went to sleep again; but

what he had been saying give me the very idea I

wanted. I says to myself, I can fix it now so nobody

won't think of following me.

About twelve o'clock we turned out and went along

up the bank. The river was coming up pretty fast,

and lots of driftwood going by on the rise. By and

by along comes part of a log raft -- nine logs fast

together. We went out with the skiff and towed it

ashore. Then we had dinner. Anybody but pap

would a waited and seen the day through, so as to

catch more stuff; but that warn't pap's style. Nine

logs was enough for one time; he must shove right

over to town and sell. So he locked me in and took

the skiff, and started off towing the raft about half-

past three. I judged he wouldn't come back that

night. I waited till I reckoned he had got a good

start; then I out with my saw, and went to work on

that log again. Before he was t'other side of the river

I was out of the hole; him and his raft was just a

speck on the water away off yonder.

I took the sack of corn meal and took it to where

the canoe was hid, and shoved the vines and branches

apart and put it in; then I done the same with the

side of bacon; then the whisky-jug. I took all the

coffee and sugar there was, and all the ammunition; I

took the wadding; I took the bucket and gourd; I

took a dipper and a tin cup, and my old saw and two

blankets, and the skillet and the coffee-pot. I took

fish-lines and matches and other things -- everything

that was worth a cent. I cleaned out the place. I

wanted an axe, but there wasn't any, only the one out

at the woodpile, and I knowed why I was going to leave

that. I fetched out the gun, and now I was done.

I had wore the ground a good deal crawling out of

the hole and dragging out so many things. So I

fixed that as good as I could from the outside by

scattering dust on the place, which covered up the

smoothness and the sawdust. Then I fixed the piece

of log back into its place, and put two rocks under it

and one against it to hold it there, for it was bent up

at that place and didn't quite touch ground. If you

stood four or five foot away and didn't know it was

sawed, you wouldn't never notice it; and besides, this

was the back of the cabin, and it warn't likely anybody

would go fooling around there.

It was all grass clear to the canoe, so I hadn't left a

track. I followed around to see. I stood on the

bank and looked out over the river. All safe. So I

took the gun and went up a piece into the woods, and

was hunting around for some birds when I see a wild

pig; hogs soon went wild in them bottoms after they

had got away from the prairie farms. I shot this fel-

low and took him into camp.

I took the axe and smashed in the door. I beat it

and hacked it considerable a-doing it. I fetched the

pig in, and took him back nearly to the table and

hacked into his throat with the axe, and laid him down

on the ground to bleed; I say ground because it was

ground -- hard packed, and no boards. Well, next I

took an old sack and put a lot of big rocks in it -- all I

could drag -- and I started it from the pig, and dragged

it to the door and through the woods down to the river

and dumped it in, and down it sunk, out of sight.

You could easy see that something had been dragged

over the ground. I did wish Tom Sawyer was there;

I knowed he would take an interest in this kind of

business, and throw in the fancy touches. Nobody

could spread himself like Tom Sawyer in such a thing

as that.

Well, last I pulled out some of my hair, and blooded

the axe good, and stuck it on the back side, and slung

the axe in the corner. Then I took up the pig and held

him to my breast with my jacket (so he couldn't drip)

till I got a good piece below the house and then

dumped him into the river. Now I thought of some-

thing else. So I went and got the bag of meal

and my old saw out of the canoe, and fetched

them to the house. I took the bag to where it

used to stand, and ripped a hole in the bottom of it

with the saw, for there warn't no knives and forks on

the place -- pap done everything with his clasp-knife

about the cooking. Then I carried the sack about a

hundred yards across the grass and through the willows

east of the house, to a shallow lake that was five mile

wide and full of rushes -- and ducks too, you might

say, in the season. There was a slough or a creek

leading out of it on the other side that went miles away,

I don't know where, but it didn't go to the river. The

meal sifted out and made a little track all the way to

the lake. I dropped pap's whetstone there too, so as

to look like it had been done by accident. Then I tied

up the rip in the meal sack with a string, so it wouldn't

leak no more, and took it and my saw to the canoe


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 sack-

ful of rocks to the shore and then drag the river for

me. And they'll follow that meal track to the lake

and go browsing down the creek that leads out of it to

find the robbers that killed me and took the things.

They won't ever hunt the river for anything but my

dead carcass. They'll soon get tired of that, and

won't bother no more about me. All right; I can

stop anywhere I want to. Jackson's Island is good

enough for me; I know that island pretty well, and

nobody ever comes there. And then I can paddle

over to town nights, and slink around and pick up

things I want. Jackson's Island's the place.

I was pretty tired, and the first thing I knowed I

was asleep. When I woke up I didn't know where I

was for a minute. I set up and looked around, a little

scared. Then I remembered. The river looked miles

and miles across. The moon was so bright I could a

counted the drift logs that went a-slipping along, black

and still, hundreds of yards out from shore. Every-

thing was dead quiet, and it looked late, and SMELT

late. You know what I mean -- I don't know the

words to put it in.

I took a good gap and a stretch, and was just going

to unhitch and start when I heard a sound away over

the water. I listened. Pretty soon I made it out. It

was that dull kind of a regular sound that comes from

oars working in rowlocks when it's a still night. I

peeped out through the willow branches, and there it

was -- a skiff, away across the water. I couldn't tell

how many was in it. It kept a-coming, and when it

was abreast of me I see there warn't but one man in it.

Think's I, maybe it's pap, though I warn't expecting

him. He dropped below me with the current, and

by and by he came a-swinging up shore in the easy

water, and he went by so close I could a reached out

the gun and touched him. Well, it WAS pap, sure

enough -- and sober, too, by the way he laid his oars.

I didn't lose no time. The next minute I was a-

spinning down stream soft but quick in the shade of

the bank. I made two mile and a half, and then

struck out a quarter of a mile or more towards the

middle of the river, because pretty soon I would be

passing the ferry landing, and people might see me

and hail me. I got out amongst the driftwood, and

then laid down in the bottom of the canoe and let her

float. I laid there, and had a good rest and a smoke

out of my pipe, looking away into the sky; not a

cloud in it. The sky looks ever so deep when you lay

down on your back in the moonshine; I never knowed

it before. And how far a body can hear on the water

such nights! I heard people talking at the ferry land-

ing. I heard what they said, too -- every word of it.

One man said it was getting towards the long days and

the short nights now. T'other one said THIS warn't

one of the short ones, he reckoned -- and then they

laughed, and he said it over again, and they laughed

again; then they waked up another fellow and told

him, and laughed, but he didn't laugh; he ripped out

something brisk, and said let him alone. The first

fellow said he 'lowed to tell it to his old woman -- she

would think it was pretty good; but he said that

warn't nothing to some things he had said in his time.

I heard one man say it was nearly three o'clock, and

he hoped daylight wouldn't wait more than about a

week longer. After that the talk got further and

further away, and I couldn't make out the words any

more; but I could hear the mumble, and now and then

a laugh, too, but it seemed a long ways off.

I was away below the ferry now. I rose up, and

there was Jackson's Island, about two mile and a half

down stream, heavy timbered and standing up out of

the middle of the river, big and dark and solid, like a

steamboat without any lights. There warn't any signs

of the bar at the head -- it was all under water now.

It didn't take me long to get there. I shot past the

head at a ripping rate, the current was so swift, and

then I got into the dead water and landed on the side

towards the Illinois shore. I run the canoe into a deep

dent in the bank that I knowed about; I had to part

the willow branches to get in; and when I made fast

nobody could a seen the canoe from the outside.

I went up and set down on a log at the head of the

island, and looked out on the big river and the black

driftwood and away over to the town, three mile

away, where there was three or four lights twinkling.

A monstrous big lumber-raft was about a mile up

stream, coming along down, with a lantern in the

middle of it. I watched it come creeping down, and

when it was most abreast of where I stood I heard a

man say, "Stern oars, there! heave her head to stab-

board!" 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 break-




THE sun was up so high when I waked that I judged

it was after eight o'clock. I laid there in the

grass and the cool shade thinking about things, and

feeling rested and ruther comfortable and satisfied. I

could see the sun out at one or two holes, but mostly

it was big trees all about, and gloomy in there amongst

them. There was freckled places on the ground where

the light sifted down through the leaves, and the

freckled places swapped about a little, showing there

was a little breeze up there. A couple of squirrels set

on a limb and jabbered at me very friendly.

I was powerful lazy and comfortable -- didn't want

to get up and cook breakfast. Well, I was dozing off

again when I thinks I hears a deep sound of "boom!"

away up the river. I rouses up, and rests on my elbow

and listens; pretty soon I hears it again. I hopped

up, and went and looked out at a hole in the leaves,

and I see a bunch of smoke laying on the water a long

ways up -- about abreast the ferry. And there was

the ferryboat full of people floating along down. I

knowed what was the matter now. "Boom!" I see

the white smoke squirt out of the ferryboat's side.

You see, they was firing cannon over the water, trying

to make my carcass come to the top.

I was pretty hungry, but it warn't going to do for

me to start a fire, because they might see the smoke.

So I set there and watched the cannon-smoke and

listened to the boom. The river was a mile wide there,

and it always looks pretty on a summer morning -- so

I was having a good enough time seeing them hunt for

my remainders if I only had a bite to eat. Well, then

I happened to think how they always put quicksilver

in loaves of bread and float them off, because they

always go right to the drownded carcass and stop

there. So, says I, I'll keep a lookout, and if any of

them's floating around after me I'll give them a show.

I changed to the Illinois edge of the island to see what

luck I could have, and I warn't disappointed. A big

double loaf come along, and I most got it with a long

stick, but my foot slipped and she floated out further.

Of course I was where the current set in the closest to

the shore -- I knowed enough for that. But by and

by along comes another one, and this time I won. I

took out the plug and shook out the little dab of quick-

silver, and set my teeth in. It was "baker's bread"

-- what the quality eat; none of your low-down


I got a good place amongst the leaves, and set there

on a log, munching the bread and watching the ferry-

boat, and very well satisfied. And then something

struck me. I says, now I reckon the widow or the

parson or somebody prayed that this bread would find

me, and here it has gone and done it. So there ain't

no doubt but there is something in that thing -- that is,

there's something in it when a body like the widow or

the parson prays, but it don't work for me, and I

reckon it don't work for only just the right kind.

I lit a pipe and had a good long smoke, and went

on watching. The ferryboat was floating with the

current, and I allowed I'd have a chance to see who

was aboard when she come along, because she would

come in close, where the bread did. When she'd got

pretty well along down towards me, I put out my pipe

and went to where I fished out the bread, and laid

down behind a log on the bank in a little open place.

Where the log forked I could peep through.

By and by she come along, and she drifted in so

close that they could a run out a plank and walked

ashore. Most everybody was on the boat. Pap, and

Judge Thatcher, and Bessie Thatcher, and Jo Harper,

and Tom Sawyer, and his old Aunt Polly, and Sid and

Mary, and plenty more. Everybody was talking about

the murder, but the captain broke in and says:

"Look sharp, now; the current sets in the closest

here, and maybe he's washed ashore and got tangled

amongst the brush at the water's edge. I hope so,


"I didn't hope so. They all crowded up and leaned

over the rails, nearly in my face, and kept still, watch-

ing with all their might. I could see them first-rate,

but they couldn't see me. Then the captain sung out:

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

right before me that it made me deef with the noise and

pretty near blind with the smoke, and I judged I was

gone. If they'd a had some bullets in, I reckon

they'd a got the corpse they was after. Well, I see I

warn't hurt, thanks to goodness. The boat floated on

and went out of sight around the shoulder of the island.

I could hear the booming now and then, further and

further off, and by and by, after an hour, I didn't hear

it no more. The island was three mile long. I judged

they had got to the foot, and was giving it up. But

they didn't yet a while. They turned around the foot

of the island and started up the channel on the Mis-

souri side, under steam, and booming once in a while

as they went. I crossed over to that side and watched

them. When they got abreast the head of the island

they quit shooting and dropped over to the Missouri

shore and went home to the town.

I knowed I was all right now. Nobody else would

come a-hunting after me. I got my traps out of the

canoe and made me a nice camp in the thick woods. I

made a kind of a tent out of my blankets to put my

things under so the rain couldn't get at them. I

catched a catfish and haggled him open with my saw,

and towards sundown I started my camp fire and had

supper. Then I set out a line to catch some fish for


When it was dark I set by my camp fire smoking,

and feeling pretty well satisfied; but by and by it got

sort of lonesome, and so I went and set on the bank

and listened to the current swashing along, and counted

the stars and drift logs and rafts that come down, and

then went to bed; there ain't no better way to put in

time when you are lonesome; you can't stay so, you

soon get over it.

And so for three days and nights. No difference --

just the same thing. But the next day I went explor-

ing around down through the island. I was boss of it;

it all belonged to me, so to say, and I wanted to know

all about it; but mainly I wanted to put in the time.

I found plenty strawberries, ripe and prime; and green

summer grapes, and green razberries; and the green

blackberries was just beginning to show. They would

all come handy by and by, I judged.

Well, I went fooling along in the deep woods till I

judged I warn't far from the foot of the island. I had

my gun along, but I hadn't shot nothing; it was for

protection; thought I would kill some game nigh

home. About this time I mighty near stepped on a

good-sized snake, and it went sliding off through the

grass and flowers, and I after it, trying to get a shot at

it. I clipped along, and all of a sudden I bounded

right on to the ashes of a camp fire that was still


My heart jumped up amongst my lungs. I never

waited for to look further, but uncocked my gun and

went sneaking back on my tiptoes as fast as ever I

could. Every now and then I stopped a second amongst

the thick leaves and listened, but my breath come so

hard I couldn't hear nothing else. I slunk along an-

other piece further, then listened again; and so on,

and so on. If I see a stump, I took it for a man; if I

trod on a stick and broke it, it made me feel like a

person had cut one of my breaths in two and I only

got half, and the short half, too.

When I got to camp I warn't feeling very brash,

there warn't much sand in my craw; but I says, this

ain't no time to be fooling around. So I got all my

traps into my canoe again so as to have them out of

sight, and I put out the fire and scattered the ashes

around to look like an old last year's camp, and then

clumb a tree.

I reckon I was up in the tree two hours; but I

didn't see nothing, I didn't hear nothing -- I only

THOUGHT I heard and seen as much as a thousand

things. Well, I couldn't stay up there forever; so at

last I got down, but I kept in the thick woods and on

the lookout all the time. All I could get to eat was

berries and what was left over from breakfast.

By the time it was night I was pretty hungry. So

when it was good and dark I slid out from shore before

moonrise and paddled over to the Illinois bank -- about

a quarter of a mile. I went out in the woods and

cooked a supper, and I had about made up my mind

I would stay there all night when I hear a PLUNKETY-

PLUNK, PLUNKETY-PLUNK, and says to myself, horses

coming; and next I hear people's voices. I got

everything into the canoe as quick as I could, and then

went creeping through the woods to see what I could

find out. I hadn't got far when I hear a man say:

"We better camp here if we can find a good place;

the horses is about beat out. Let's look around."

I didn't wait, but shoved out and paddled away

easy. I tied up in the old place, and reckoned I would

sleep in the canoe.

I didn't sleep much. I couldn't, somehow, for

thinking. And every time I waked up I thought

somebody had me by the neck. So the sleep didn't

do me no good. By and by I says to myself, I can't

live this way; I'm a-going to find out who it is that's

here on the island with me; I'll find it out or bust.

Well, I felt better right off.

So I took my paddle and slid out from shore just a

step or two, and then let the canoe drop along down

amongst the shadows. The moon was shining, and out-

side of the shadows it made it most as light as day. I

poked along well on to an hour, everything still as

rocks and sound asleep. Well, by this time I was

most down to the foot of the island. A little ripply,

cool breeze begun to blow, and that was as good as

saying the night was about done. I give her a turn

with the paddle and brung her nose to shore; then I

got my gun and slipped out and into the edge of the

woods. I sat down there on a log, and looked out

through the leaves. I see the moon go off watch, and

the darkness begin to blanket the river. But in a little

while I see a pale streak over the treetops, and knowed

the day was coming. So I took my gun and slipped

off towards where I had run across that camp fire,

stopping every minute or two to listen. But I hadn't

no luck somehow; I couldn't seem to find the place.

But by and by, sure enough, I catched a glimpse of

fire away through the trees. I went for it, cautious

and slow. By and by I was close enough to have a

look, and there laid a man on the ground. It most

give me the fantods. He had a blanket around his

head, and his head was nearly in the fire. I set there

behind a clump of bushes in about six foot of him,

and kept my eyes on him steady. It was getting gray

daylight now. Pretty soon he gapped and stretched

himself and hove off the blanket, and it was Miss

Watson's Jim! I bet I was glad to see him. I says:

"Hello, Jim!" and skipped out.

He bounced up and stared at me wild. Then he

drops down on his knees, and puts his hands together

and says:

"Doan' hurt me -- don't! I hain't ever done no

harm to a ghos'. I alwuz liked dead people, en done

all I could for 'em. You go en git in de river 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 lone-

some now. I told him I warn't afraid of HIM telling

the people where I was. I talked along, but he only

set there and looked at me; never said nothing. Then

I says:

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

your camp fire good."

"What's de use er makin' up de camp fire to cook

strawbries en sich truck? But you got a gun, hain't

you? Den we kin git sumfn better den strawbries."

"Strawberries and such truck," I says. "Is that

what you live on?"

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

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

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

"What, all that time?"

"Yes -- indeedy."

"And ain't you had nothing but that kind of rub-

bage to eat?"

"No, sah -- nuffn else."

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

"I reck'n I could eat a hoss. I think I could.

How long you ben on de islan'?"

"Since the night I got killed."

"No! W'y, what has you lived on? But you got

a gun. Oh, yes, you got a gun. Dat's good. Now

you kill sumfn en I'll make up de fire."

So we went over to where the canoe was, and while

he built a fire in a grassy open place amongst the trees,

I fetched meal and bacon and coffee, and coffee-pot

and frying-pan, and sugar and tin cups, and the nigger

was set back considerable, because he reckoned it was

all done with witchcraft. I catched a good big catfish,

too, and Jim cleaned him with his knife, and fried


When breakfast was ready we lolled on the grass and

eat it smoking hot. Jim laid it in with all his might,

for he was most about starved. Then when we had

got pretty well stuffed, we laid off and lazied.

By and by Jim says:

"But looky here, Huck, who wuz it dat 'uz killed

in dat shanty ef it warn't you?"

Then I told him the whole thing, and he said it was

smart. He said Tom Sawyer couldn't get up no better

plan than what I had. Then I says:

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

get here?"

He looked pretty uneasy, and didn't say nothing for

a minute. Then he says:

"Maybe I better not tell."

"Why, Jim?"

"Well, dey's reasons. But you wouldn' tell on me

ef I uz to tell you, would you, Huck?"

"Blamed if I would, Jim."

"Well, I b'lieve you, Huck. I -- I RUN OFF."


"But mind, you said you wouldn' tell -- you know

you said you wouldn' tell, Huck."

"Well, I did. I said I wouldn't, and I'll stick to it.

Honest INJUN, I will. People would call me a low-

down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum --

but that don't make no difference. I ain't a-going to

tell, and I ain't a-going back there, anyways. So,

now, le's know all about it."

"Well, you see, it 'uz dis way. Ole missus -- dat's

Miss Watson -- she pecks on me all de time, en treats

me pooty rough, but she awluz said she wouldn' sell

me down to Orleans. But I noticed dey wuz a nigger

trader roun' de place considable lately, en I begin to

git oneasy. Well, one night I creeps to de do' pooty

late, en de do' warn't quite shet, en I hear old missus

tell de widder she gwyne to sell me down to Orleans,

but she didn' want to, but she could git eight hund'd

dollars for me, en it 'uz sich a big stack o' money she

couldn' resis'. De widder she try to git her to say

she wouldn' do it, but I never waited to hear de res'.

I lit out mighty quick, I tell you.

"I tuck out en shin down de hill, en 'spec to steal a

skift 'long de sho' som'ers 'bove de town, but dey wuz

people a-stirring yit, so I hid in de ole tumble-down

cooper-shop on de bank to wait for everybody to go

'way. Well, I wuz dah all night. Dey wuz somebody

roun' all de time. 'Long 'bout six in de mawnin'

skifts begin to go by, en 'bout eight er nine every

skift dat went 'long wuz talkin' 'bout how yo' pap

come over to de town en say you's killed. Dese las'

skifts wuz full o' ladies en genlmen a-goin' over for to

see de place. Sometimes dey'd pull up at de sho' en

take a res' b'fo' dey started acrost, so by de talk I got

to know all 'bout de killin'. I 'uz powerful sorry

you's killed, Huck, but I ain't no mo' now.

"I laid dah under de shavin's all day. I 'uz

hungry, but I warn't afeard; bekase I knowed ole

missus en de widder wuz goin' to start to de camp-

meet'n' right arter breakfas' en be gone all day, en

dey knows I goes off wid de cattle 'bout daylight, so

dey wouldn' 'spec to see me roun' de place, en so dey

wouldn' miss me tell arter dark in de evenin'. De

yuther servants wouldn' miss me, kase dey'd shin out

en take holiday soon as de ole folks 'uz out'n de way.

"Well, when it come dark I tuck out up de river

road, en went 'bout two mile er more to whah dey

warn't no houses. I'd made up my mine 'bout what

I's agwyne to do. You see, ef I kep' on tryin' to git

away afoot, de dogs 'ud track me; ef I stole a skift to

cross over, dey'd miss dat skift, you see, en dey'd

know 'bout whah I'd lan' on de yuther side, en whah

to pick up my track. So I says, a raff is what I's

arter; it doan' MAKE no track.

"I see a light a-comin' roun' de p'int bymeby, so I

wade' in en shove' a log ahead o' me en swum more'n

half way acrost de river, en got in 'mongst de drift-

wood, en kep' my head down low, en kinder swum

agin de current tell de raff come along. Den I swum

to de stern uv it en tuck a-holt. It clouded up en 'uz

pooty dark for a little while. So I clumb up en laid

down on de planks. De men 'uz all 'way yonder in

de middle, whah de lantern wuz. De river wuz a-

risin', en dey wuz a good current; so I reck'n'd 'at

by fo' in de mawnin' I'd be twenty-five mile down de

river, en den I'd slip in jis b'fo' daylight en swim

asho', en take to de woods on de Illinois side.

"But I didn' have no luck. When we 'uz mos'

down to de head er de islan' a man begin to come aft

wid de lantern, I see it warn't no use fer to wait, so I

slid overboard en struck out fer de islan'. Well, I had

a notion I could lan' mos' anywhers, but I couldn't --

bank too bluff. I 'uz mos' to de foot er de islan'

b'fo' I found' a good place. I went into de woods en

jedged I wouldn' fool wid raffs no mo', long as dey

move de lantern roun' so. I had my pipe en a plug er

dog-leg, en some matches in my cap, en dey warn't

wet, so I 'uz all right."

"And so you ain't had no meat nor bread to eat all

this time? Why didn't you get mud-turkles?"

"How you gwyne to git 'm? You can't slip up on

um en grab um; en how's a body gwyne to hit um

wid a rock? How could a body do it in de night?

En I warn't gwyne to show mysef on de bank in de


"Well, that's so. You've had to keep in the woods

all the time, of course. Did you hear 'em shooting

the cannon?"

"Oh, yes. I knowed dey was arter you. I see um

go by heah -- watched um thoo de bushes."

Some young birds come along, flying a yard or two

at a time and lighting. Jim said it was a sign it was

going to rain. He said it was a sign when young

chickens flew that way, and so he reckoned it was the

same way when young birds done it. I was going to

catch some of them, but Jim wouldn't let me. He

said it was death. He said his father laid mighty sick

once, and some of them catched a bird, and his old

granny said his father would die, and he did.

And Jim said you mustn't count the things you are

going to cook for dinner, because that would bring

bad luck. The same if you shook the table-cloth after

sundown. And he said if a man owned a beehive and

that man died, the bees must be told about it before

sun-up next morning, or else the bees would all

weaken down and quit work and die. Jim said bees

wouldn't sting idiots; but I didn't believe that, be-

cause 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


"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,


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

see I has?"

"Well, are you rich?"

"No, but I ben rich wunst, and gwyne to be rich

agin. Wunst I had foteen dollars, but I tuck to

specalat'n', en got busted out."

"What did you speculate in, Jim?"

"Well, fust I tackled stock."

"What kind of stock?"

"Why, live stock -- cattle, you know. I put ten

dollars in a cow. But I ain' gwyne to resk no mo'

money in stock. De cow up 'n' died on my han's."

"So you lost the ten dollars."

"No, I didn't lose it all. I on'y los' 'bout nine of

it. I sole de hide en taller for a dollar en ten cents."

"You had five dollars and ten cents left. Did you

speculate any more?"

"Yes. You know that one-laigged nigger dat

b'longs to old Misto Bradish? Well, he sot up a

bank, en say anybody dat put in a dollar would git fo'

dollars mo' at de en' er de year. Well, all de niggers

went in, but dey didn't have much. I wuz de on'y

one dat had much. So I stuck out for mo' dan fo'

dollars, en I said 'f I didn' git it I'd start a bank my-

sef. Well, o' course dat nigger want' to keep me out

er de business, bekase he says dey warn't business

'nough for two banks, so he say I could put in my five

dollars en he pay me thirty-five at de en' er de year.

"So I done it. Den I reck'n'd I'd inves' de

thirty-five dollars right off en keep things a-movin'.

Dey wuz a nigger name' Bob, dat had ketched a wood-

flat, en his marster didn' know it; en I bought it off'n

him en told him to take de thirty-five dollars when de

en' er de year come; but somebody stole de wood-flat

dat night, en nex day de one-laigged nigger say de

bank's busted. So dey didn' none uv us git no


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

"Well, I 'uz gwyne to spen' it, but I had a dream,

en de dream tole me to give it to a nigger name'

Balum -- Balum's Ass dey call him for short; he's

one er dem chuckleheads, you know. But he's lucky,

dey say, en I see I warn't lucky. De dream say let

Balum inves' de ten cents en he'd make a raise for me.

Well, Balum he tuck de money, en when he wuz in

church he hear de preacher say dat whoever give to de

po' len' to de Lord, en boun' to git his money back a

hund'd times. So Balum he tuck en give de ten cents

to de po', en laid low to see what wuz gwyne to come

of it."

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

"Nuffn never come of it. I couldn' manage to

k'leck dat money no way; en Balum he couldn'. I

ain' gwyne to len' no mo' money 'dout I see de

security. Boun' to git yo' money back a hund'd

times, de preacher says! Ef I could git de ten CENTS

back, I'd call it squah, en be glad er de chanst."

"Well, it's all right anyway, Jim, long as you're

going to be rich again some time or other."

"Yes; en I's rich now, come to look at it. I owns

mysef, en I's wuth eight hund'd dollars. I wisht I

had de money, I wouldn' want no mo'."



I WANTED to go and look at a place right about the

middle of the island that I'd found when I was

exploring; so we started and soon got to it, because

the island was only three miles long and a quarter of a

mile wide.

This place was a tolerable long, steep hill or ridge

about forty foot high. We had a rough time getting

to the top, the sides was so steep and the bushes so

thick. We tramped and clumb around all over it, and

by and by found a good big cavern in the rock, most

up to the top on the side towards Illinois. The cavern

was as big as two or three rooms bunched together,

and Jim could stand up straight in it. It was cool in

there. Jim was for putting our traps in there right

away, but I said we didn't want to be climbing up and

down there all the time.

Jim said if we had the canoe hid in a good place,

and had all the traps in the cavern, we could rush there

if anybody was to come to the island, and they would

never find us without dogs. And, besides, he said

them little birds had said it was going to rain, and did

I want the things to get wet?

So we went back and got the canoe, and paddled up

abreast the cavern, and lugged all the traps up there.

Then we hunted up a place close by to hide the canoe

in, amongst the thick willows. We took some fish off

of the lines and set them again, and begun to get ready

for dinner.

The door of the cavern was big enough to roll a

hogshead in, and on one side of the door the floor

stuck out a little bit, and was flat and a good place to

build a fire on. So we built it there and cooked


We spread the blankets inside for a carpet, and eat

our dinner in there. We put all the other things handy

at the back of the cavern. Pretty soon it darkened up,

and begun to thunder and lighten; so the birds was

right about it. Directly it begun to rain, and it rained

like all fury, too, and I never see the wind blow so.

It was one of these regular summer storms. It would

get so dark that it looked all blue-black outside, and

lovely; and the rain would thrash along by so thick

that the trees off a little ways looked dim and spider-

webby; and here would come a blast of wind that

would bend the trees down and turn up the pale under-

side 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 rum-

bling, grumbling, tumbling, down the sky towards the

under side of the world, like rolling empty barrels

down stairs -- where it's long stairs and they bounce a

good deal, you know.

"Jim, this is nice," I says. "I wouldn't want to

be nowhere else but here. Pass me along another

hunk of fish and some hot corn-bread."

"Well, you wouldn't a ben here 'f it hadn't a ben

for Jim. You'd a ben down dah in de woods widout

any dinner, en gittn' mos' drownded, too; dat you

would, honey. Chickens knows when it's gwyne to

rain, en so do de birds, chile."

The river went on raising and raising for ten or

twelve days, till at last it was over the banks. The

water was three or four foot deep on the island in the

low places and on the Illinois bottom. On that side it

was a good many miles wide, but on the Missouri side

it was the same old distance across -- a half a mile --

because the Missouri shore was just a wall of high


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 some-

times, but we let them go; we didn't show ourselves

in daylight.

Another night when we was up at the head of the

island, just before daylight, here comes a frame-house

down, on the west side. She was a two-story, and

tilted over considerable. We paddled out and got

aboard -- clumb in at an upstairs window. But it was

too dark to see yet, so we made the canoe fast and set

in her to wait for daylight.

The light begun to come before we got to the foot

of the island. Then we looked in at the window. We

could make out a bed, and a table, and two old chairs,

and lots of things around about on the floor, and there

was clothes hanging against the wall. There was

something laying on the floor in the far corner that

looked like a man. So Jim says:

"Hello, you!"

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

Jim says:

"De man ain't asleep -- he's dead. You hold still

-- I'll go en see."

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

"It's a dead man. Yes, indeedy; naked, too.

He's ben shot in de back. I reck'n he's ben dead

two er three days. Come in, Huck, but doan' look at

his face -- it's too gashly."

I didn't look at him at all. Jim throwed some old

rags over him, but he needn't done it; I didn't want

to see him. There was heaps of old greasy cards

scattered around over the floor, and old whisky bottles,

and a couple of masks made out of black cloth; and

all over the walls was the ignorantest kind of words

and pictures made with charcoal. There was two old

dirty calico dresses, and a sun-bonnet, and some

women's underclothes hanging against the wall, and

some men's clothing, too. We put the lot into the

canoe -- it might come good. There was a boy's old

speckled straw hat on the floor; I took that, too.

And there was a bottle that had had milk in it, and it

had a rag stopper for a baby to suck. We would a

took the bottle, but it was broke. There was a seedy

old chest, and an old hair trunk with the hinges broke.

They stood open, but there warn't nothing left in them

that was any account. The way things was scattered

about we reckoned the people left in a hurry, and

warn't fixed so as to carry off most of their stuff.

We got an old tin lantern, and a butcher-knife with-

out any handle, and a bran-new Barlow knife worth

two bits in any store, and a lot of tallow candles, and a

tin candlestick, and a gourd, and a tin cup, and a ratty

old bedquilt off the bed, and a reticule with needles

and pins and beeswax and buttons and thread and all

such truck in it, and a hatchet and some nails, and a

fishline as thick as my little finger with some mon-

strous hooks on it, and a roll of buckskin, and a

leather dog-collar, and a horseshoe, and some vials of

medicine that didn't have no label on them; and just

as we was leaving I found a tolerable good curry-comb,

and Jim he found a ratty old fiddle-bow, and a wooden

leg. The straps was broke off of it, but, barring that,

it was a good enough leg, though it was too long for

me and not long enough for Jim, and we couldn't find

the other one, though we hunted all around.

And so, take it all around, we made a good haul.

When we was ready to shove off we was a quarter of a

mile below the island, and it was pretty broad day; so

I made Jim lay down in the canoe and cover up with

the quilt, because if he set up people could tell he was

a nigger a good ways off. I paddled over to the

Illinois shore, and drifted down most a half a mile

doing it. I crept up the dead water under the bank,

and hadn't no accidents and didn't see nobody. We

got home all safe.



AFTER breakfast I wanted to talk about the dead

man and guess out how he come to be killed, but

Jim didn't want to. He said it would fetch bad luck;

and besides, he said, he might come and ha'nt us; he

said a man that warn't buried was more likely to go a-

ha'nting around than one that was planted and com-

fortable. That sounded pretty reasonable, so I didn't

say no more; but I couldn't keep from studying over

it and wishing I knowed who shot the man, and what

they done it for.

We rummaged the clothes we'd got, and found eight

dollars in silver sewed up in the lining of an old blanket

overcoat. Jim said he reckoned the people in that

house stole the coat, because if they'd a knowed the

money was there they wouldn't a left it. I said I

reckoned they killed him, too; but Jim didn't want to

talk about that. I says:

"Now you think it's bad luck; but what did you

say when I fetched in the snake-skin that I found on

the top of the ridge day before yesterday? You said

it was the worst bad luck in the world to touch a

snake-skin with my hands. Well, here's your bad

luck! We've raked in all this truck and eight dollars

besides. I wish we could have some bad luck like this

every day, Jim."

"Never you mind, honey, never you mind. Don't

you git too peart. It's a-comin'. Mind I tell you,

it's a-comin'."

It did come, too. It was a Tuesday that we had

that talk. Well, after dinner Friday we was laying

around in the grass at the upper end of the ridge, and

got out of tobacco. I went to the cavern to get some,

and found a rattlesnake in there. I killed him, and

curled him up on the foot of Jim's blanket, ever so

natural, thinking there'd be some fun when Jim found

him there. Well, by night I forgot all about the

snake, and when Jim flung himself down on the blanket

while I struck a light the snake's mate was there, and

bit him.

He jumped up yelling, and the first thing the light

showed was the varmint curled up and ready for

another spring. I laid him out in a second with a

stick, and Jim grabbed pap's whisky-jug and begun to

pour it down.

He was barefooted, and the snake bit him right on

the heel. That all comes of my being such a fool as

to not remember that wherever you leave a dead snake

its mate always comes there and curls around it. Jim

told me to chop off the snake's head and throw it

away, and then skin the body and roast a piece of it.

I done it, and he eat it and said it would help cure

him. He made me take off the rattles and tie them

around his wrist, too. He said that that would help.

Then I slid out quiet and throwed the snakes clear

away amongst the bushes; for I warn't going to let

Jim find out it was all my fault, not if I could help it.

Jim sucked and sucked at the jug, and now and then

he got out of his head and pitched around and yelled;

but every time he come to himself he went to sucking

at the jug again. His foot swelled up pretty big, and

so did his leg; but by and by the drunk begun to

come, and so I judged he was all right; but I'd

druther been bit with a snake than pap's whisky.

Jim was laid up for four days and nights. Then

the swelling was all gone and he was around again. I

made up my mind I wouldn't ever take a-holt of a

snake-skin again with my hands, now that I see what

had come of it. Jim said he reckoned I would believe

him next time. And he said that handling a snake-

skin was such awful bad luck that maybe we hadn't

got to the end of it yet. He said he druther see the

new moon over his left shoulder as much as a thousand

times than take up a snake-skin in his hand. Well, I

was getting to feel that way myself, though I've always

reckoned that looking at the new moon over your left

shoulder is one of the carelessest and foolishest things

a body can do. Old Hank Bunker done it once, and

bragged about it; and in less than two years he got

drunk and fell off of the shot-tower, and spread him-

self out so that he was just a kind of a layer, as you

may say; and they slid him edgeways between two

barn doors for a coffin, and buried him so, so they

say, but I didn't see it. Pap told me. But anyway

it all come of looking at the moon that way, like a


Well, the days went along, and the river went down

between its banks again; and about the first thing we

done was to bait one of the big hooks with a skinned

rabbit and set it and catch a catfish that was as big as

a man, being six foot two inches long, and weighed

over two hundred pounds. We couldn't handle him,

of course; he would a flung us into Illinois. We just

set there and watched him rip and tear around till he

drownded. We found a brass button in his stomach

and a round ball, and lots of rubbage. We split the

ball open with the hatchet, and there was a spool in it.

Jim said he'd had it there a long time, to coat it over

so and make a ball of it. It was as big a fish as was

ever catched in the Mississippi, I reckon. Jim said he

hadn't ever seen a bigger one. He would a been

worth a good deal over at the village. They peddle

out such a fish as that by the pound in the market-

house there; everybody buys some of him; his meat's

as white as snow and makes a good fry.

Next morning I said it was getting slow and dull,

and I wanted to get a stirring up some way. I said I

reckoned I would slip over the river and find out what

was going on. Jim liked that notion; but he said I

must go in the dark and look sharp. Then he studied

it over and said, couldn't I put on some of them old

things and dress up like a girl? That was a good

notion, too. So we shortened up one of the calico

gowns, and I turned up my trouser-legs to my knees

and got into it. Jim hitched it behind with the hooks,

and it was a fair fit. I put on the sun-bonnet and tied

it under my chin, and then for a body to look in and

see my face was like looking down a joint of stove-

pipe. Jim said nobody would know me, even in the

daytime, hardly. I practiced around all day to get

the hang of the things, and by and by I could do

pretty well in them, only Jim said I didn't walk like a

girl; and he said I must quit pulling up my gown to

get at my britches-pocket. I took notice, and done


I started up the Illinois shore in the canoe just after


I started across to the town from a little below the

ferry-landing, and the drift of the current fetched me

in at the bottom of the town. I tied up and started

along the bank. There was a light burning in a little

shanty that hadn't been lived in for a long time, and I

wondered who had took up quarters there. I slipped

up and peeped in at the window. There was a woman

about forty year old in there knitting by a candle that

was on a pine table. I didn't know her face; she was

a stranger, for you couldn't start a face in that town

that I didn't know. Now this was lucky, because I

was weakening; I was getting afraid I had come;

people might know my voice and find me out. But if

this woman had been in such a little town two days

she could tell me all I wanted to know; so I knocked

at the door, and made up my mind I wouldn't forget I

was a girl.



"COME in," says the woman, and I did. She

says: "Take a cheer."

I done it. She looked me all over with her little

shiny eyes, and says:

"What might your name be?"

"Sarah Williams."

"Where 'bouts do you live? In this neighbor-


"No'm. In Hookerville, seven mile below. I've

walked all the way and I'm all tired out."

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

"No'm, I ain't hungry. I was so hungry I had to

stop two miles below here at a farm; so I ain't hungry

no more. It's what makes me so late. My mother's

down sick, and out of money and everything, and I

come to tell my uncle Abner Moore. He lives at the

upper end of the town, she says. I hain't ever been

here before. Do you know him?"

"No; but I don't know everybody yet. I haven't

lived here quite two weeks. It's a considerable ways

to the upper end of the town. You better stay here

all night. Take off your bonnet."

"No," I says; "I'll rest a while, I reckon, and go

on. I ain't afeared of the dark."

She said she wouldn't let me go by myself, but her

husband would be in by and by, maybe in a hour and

a half, and she'd send him along with me. Then she

got to talking about her husband, and about her rela-

tions up the river, and her relations down the river,

and about how much better off they used to was, and

how they didn't know but they'd made a mistake

coming to our town, instead of letting well alone --

and so on and so on, till I was afeard I had made a

mistake coming to her to find out what was going on

in the town; but by and by she dropped on to pap

and the murder, and then I was pretty willing to let

her clatter right along. She told about me and Tom

Sawyer finding the six thousand dollars (only she got

it ten) and all about pap and what a hard lot he was,

and what a hard lot I was, and at last she got down to

where I was murdered. I says:

"Who done it? We've heard considerable about

these goings on down in Hookerville, but we don't

know who 'twas that killed Huck Finn."

"Well, I reckon there's a right smart chance of

people HERE that'd like to know who killed him. Some

think old Finn done it himself."

"No -- is that so?"

"Most everybody thought it at first. He'll never

know how nigh he come to getting lynched. But

before night they changed around and judged it was

done by a runaway nigger named Jim."

"Why HE --"

I stopped. I reckoned I better keep still. She run

on, and never noticed I had put in at all:

"The nigger run off the very night Huck Finn was

killed. So there's a reward out for him -- three hun-

dred dollars. And there's a reward out for old Finn,

too -- two hundred dollars. You see, he come to town

the morning after the murder, and told about it, and

was out with 'em on the ferryboat hunt, and right

away after he up and left. Before night they wanted

to lynch him, but he was gone, you see. Well, next

day they found out the nigger was gone; they found

out he hadn't ben seen sence ten o'clock the night the

murder was done. So then they put it on him, you

see; and while they was full of it, next day, back

comes old Finn, and went boo-hooing to Judge

Thatcher to get money to hunt for the nigger all over

Illinois with. The judge gave him some, and that

evening he got drunk, and was around till after mid-

night with a couple of mighty hard-looking strangers,

and then went off with them. Well, he hain't come

back sence, and they ain't looking for him back till

this thing blows over a little, for people thinks now

that he killed his boy and fixed things so folks would

think robbers done it, and then he'd get Huck's money

without having to bother a long time with a lawsuit.

People do say he warn't any too good to do it. Oh,

he's sly, I reckon. If he don't come back for a year

he'll be all right. You can't prove anything on him,

you know; everything will be quieted down then, and

he'll walk in Huck's money as easy as nothing."

"Yes, I reckon so, 'm. I don't see nothing in the

way of it. Has everybody guit thinking the nigger

done it?"

"Oh, no, not everybody. A good many thinks he

done it. But they'll get the nigger pretty soon now,

and maybe they can scare it out of him."

"Why, are they after him yet?"

"Well, you're innocent, ain't you! Does three

hundred dollars lay around every day for people to

pick up? Some folks think the nigger ain't far from

here. I'm one of them -- but I hain't talked it around.

A few days ago I was talking with an old couple that

lives next door in the log shanty, and they happened

to say hardly anybody ever goes to that island over

yonder that they call Jackson's Island. Don't any-

body live there? says I. No, nobody, says they. I

didn't say any more, but I done some thinking. I

was pretty near certain I'd seen smoke over there,

about the head of the island, a day or two before that,

so I says to myself, like as not that nigger's hiding

over there; anyway, says I, it's worth the trouble to

give the place a hunt. I hain't seen any smoke sence,

so I reckon maybe he's gone, if it was him; but

husband's going over to see -- him and another man.

He was gone up the river; but he got back to-day,

and I told him as soon as he got here two hours ago."

I had got so uneasy I couldn't set still. I had to do

something with my hands; so I took up a needle off of

the table and went to threading it. My hands shook,

and I was making a bad job of it. When the woman

stopped talking I looked up, and she was looking at

me pretty curious and smiling a little. I put down the

needle and thread, and let on to be interested -- and I

was, too -- and says:

"Three hundred dollars is a power of money. I

wish my mother could get it. Is your husband going

over there to-night?"

"Oh, yes. He went up-town with the man I was

telling you of, to get a boat and see if they could

borrow another gun. They'll go over after midnight."

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


"Yes. And couldn't the nigger see better, too?

After midnight he'll likely be asleep, and they can slip

around through the woods and hunt up his camp fire

all the better for the dark, if he's got one."

"I didn't think of that."

The woman kept looking at me pretty curious, and

I didn't feel a bit comfortable. Pretty soon she says"

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

"M -- Mary Williams."

Somehow it didn't seem to me that I said it was

Mary before, so I didn't look up -- seemed to me I

said it was Sarah; so I felt sort of cornered, and was

afeared maybe I was looking it, too. I wished the

woman would say something more; the longer she set

still the uneasier I was. But now she says:

"Honey, I thought you said it was Sarah when

you first come in?"

"Oh, yes'm, I did. Sarah Mary Williams. Sarah's

my first name. Some calls me Sarah, some calls me


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


I was feeling better then, but I wished I was out of

there, anyway. I couldn't look up yet.

Well, the woman fell to talking about how hard

times was, and how poor they had to live, and how the

rats was as free as if they owned the place, and so

forth and so on, and then I got easy again. She was

right about the rats. You'd see one stick his nose out

of a hole in the corner every little while. She said she

had to have things handy to throw at them when she

was alone, or they wouldn't give her no peace. She

showed me a bar of lead twisted up into a knot, and

said she was a good shot with it generly, but she'd

wrenched her arm a day or two ago, and didn't know

whether she could throw true now. But she watched

for a chance, and directly banged away at a rat; but

she missed him wide, and said "Ouch!" it hurt her

arm so. Then she told me to try for the next one. I

wanted to be getting away before the old man got

back, but of course I didn't let on. I got the thing,

and the first rat that showed his nose I let drive, and

if he'd a stayed where he was he'd a been a tolerable

sick rat. She said that was first-rate, and she reckoned

I would hive the next one. She went and got the

lump of lead and fetched it back, and brought along a

hank of yarn which she wanted me to help her with.

I held up my two hands and she put the hank over

them, and went on talking about her and her husband's

matters. But she broke off to say:

"Keep your eye on the rats. You better have the

lead in your lap, handy."

So she dropped the lump into my lap just at that

moment, and I clapped my legs together on it and she

went on talking. But only about a minute. Then

she took off the hank and looked me straight in the

face, and very pleasant, and says:

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

"Wh -- what, mum?"

"What's your real name? Is it Bill, or Tom, or

Bob? -- or what is it?"

I reckon I shook like a leaf, and I didn't know

hardly what to do. But I says:

"Please to don't poke fun at a poor girl like me,

mum. If I'm in the way here, I'll --"

"No, you won't. Set down and stay where you

are. I ain't going to hurt you, and I ain't going to

tell on you, nuther. You just tell me your secret, and

trust me. I'll keep it; and, what's more, I'll help

you. So'll my old man if you want him to. You

see, you're a runaway 'prentice, that's all. It ain't

anything. There ain't no harm in it. You've been

treated bad, and you made up your mind to cut.

Bless you, child, I wouldn't tell on you. Tell me all

about it now, that's a good boy."

So I said it wouldn't be no use to try to play it any

longer, and I would just make a clean breast and tell

her everything, but she musn't go back on her promise.

Then I told her my father and mother was dead, and

the law had bound me out to a mean old farmer in the

country thirty mile back from the river, and he treated

me so bad I couldn't stand it no longer; he went away

to be gone a couple of days, and so I took my chance

and stole some of his daughter's old clothes and

cleared out, and I had been three nights coming the

thirty miles. I traveled nights, and hid daytimes and

slept, and the bag of bread and meat I carried from

home lasted me all the way, and I had a-plenty. I

said I believed my uncle Abner Moore would take care

of me, and so that was why I struck out for this town

of Goshen.

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

Petersburg. Goshen's ten mile further up the river.

Who told you this was Goshen?"

"Why, a man I met at daybreak this morning, just

as I was going to turn into the woods for my regular

sleep. He told me when the roads forked I must take

the right hand, and five mile would fetch me to


"He was drunk, I reckon. He told you just ex-

actly wrong."

"Well,,he did act like he was drunk, but it ain't no

matter now. I got to be moving along. I'll fetch

Goshen before daylight."

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

You might want it."

So she put me up a snack, and says:

"Say, when a cow's laying down, which end of her

gets up first? Answer up prompt now -- don't stop

to study over it. Which end gets up first?"

"The hind end, mum."

"Well, then, a horse?"

"The for'rard end, mum."

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

"North side."

"If fifteen cows is browsing on a hillside, how

many of them eats with their heads pointed the same


"The whole fifteen, mum."

"Well, I reckon you HAVE lived in the country. I

thought maybe you was trying to hocus me again.

What's your real name, now?"

"George Peters, mum."

"Well, try to remember it, George. Don't forget

and tell me it's Elexander before you go, and then get

out by saying it's George Elexander when I catch you.

And don't go about women in that old calico. You

do a girl tolerable poor, but you might fool men,

maybe. Bless you, child, when you set out to thread

a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle

up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at

it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a

man always does t'other way. And when you throw

at a rat or anything, hitch yourself up a tiptoe and

fetch your hand up over your head as awkward as you

can, and miss your rat about six or seven foot. Throw

stiff-armed from the shoulder, like there was a pivot

there for it to turn on, like a girl; not from the wrist

and elbow, with your arm out to one side, like a boy.

And, mind you, when a girl tries to catch anything in

her lap she throws her knees apart; she don't clap

them together, the way you did when you catched the

lump of lead. Why, I spotted you for a boy when

you was threading the needle; and I contrived the

other things just to make certain. Now trot along to

your uncle, Sarah Mary Williams George Elexander

Peters, and if you get into trouble you send word to

Mrs. Judith Loftus, which is me, and I'll do what I

can to get you out of it. Keep the river road all the

way, and next time you tramp take shoes and socks

with you. The river road's a rocky one, and your

feet'll be in a condition when you get to Goshen, I


I went up the bank about fifty yards, and then I

doubled on my tracks and slipped back to where my

canoe was, a good piece below the house. I jumped

in, and was off in a hurry. I went up-stream far

enough to make the head of the island, and then

started across. I took off the sun-bonnet, for I didn't

want no blinders on then. When I was about the

middle I heard the clock begin to strike, so I stops

and listens; the sound come faint over the water but

clear -- eleven. When I struck the head of the island

I never waited to blow, though I was most winded, but

I shoved right into the timber where my old camp used

to be, and started a good fire there on a high and dry


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 every-

thing we had in the world was on our raft, and she was

ready to be shoved out from the willow cove where she

was hid. We put out the camp fire at the cavern the

first thing, and didn't show a candle outside after that.

I took the canoe out from the shore a little piece,

and took a look; but if there was a boat around I

couldn't see it, for stars and shadows ain't good to see

by. Then we got out the raft and slipped along down

in the shade, past the foot of the island dead still --

never saying a word.



IT must a been close on to one o'clock when we

got below the island at last, and the raft did seem

to go mighty slow. If a boat was to come along we

was going to take to the canoe and break for the

Illinois shore; and it was well a boat didn't come, for

we hadn't ever thought to put the gun in the canoe,

or a fishing-line, or anything to eat. We was in

ruther too much of a sweat to think of so many things.

It warn't good judgment to put EVERYTHING on the raft.

If the men went to the island I just expect they

found the camp fire I built, and watched it all night for

Jim to come. Anyways, they stayed away from us,

and if my building the fire never fooled them it warn't

no fault of mine. I played it as low down on them as

I could.

When the first streak of day began to show we tied

up to a towhead in a big bend on the Illinois side, and

hacked off cottonwood branches with the hatchet,

and covered up the raft with them so she looked like

there had been a cave-in in the bank there. A tow-

head is a sandbar that has cottonwoods on it as thick

as harrow-teeth.

We had mountains on the Missouri shore and heavy

timber on the Illinois side, and the channel was down

the Missouri shore at that place, so we warn't afraid of

anybody running across us. We laid there all day,

and watched the rafts and steamboats spin down the

Missouri shore, and up-bound steamboats fight the big

river in the middle. I told Jim all about the time I

had jabbering with that woman; and Jim said she was

a smart one, and if she was to start after us herself she

wouldn't set down and watch a camp fire -- no, sir,

she'd fetch a dog. Well, then, I said, why couldn't

she tell her husband to fetch a dog? Jim said he bet

she did think of it by the time the men was ready to

start, and he believed they must a gone up-town to get

a dog and so they lost all that time, or else we

wouldn't be here on a towhead sixteen or seventeen

mile below the village -- no, indeedy, we would be in

that same old town again. So I said I didn't care

what was the reason they didn't get us as long as they


When it was beginning to come on dark we poked

our heads out of the cottonwood thicket, and looked

up and down and across; nothing in sight; so Jim

took up some of the top planks of the raft and built a

snug wigwam to get under in blazing weather and

rainy, and to keep the things dry. Jim made a floor

for the wigwam, and raised it a foot or more above the

level of the raft, so now the blankets and all the traps

was out of reach of steamboat waves. Right in the

middle of the wigwam we made a layer of dirt about

five or six inches deep with a frame around it for to

hold it to its place; this was to build a fire on in

sloppy weather or chilly; the wigwam would keep it

from being seen. We made an extra steering-oar,

too, because one of the others might get broke on a

snag or something. We fixed up a short forked stick

to hang the old lantern on, because we must always

light the lantern whenever we see a steamboat coming

down-stream, to keep from getting run over; but we

wouldn't have to light it for up-stream boats unless we

see we was in what they call a "crossing"; for the

river was pretty high yet, very low banks being still a

little under water; so up-bound boats didn't always

run the channel, but hunted easy water.

This second night we run between seven and eight

hours, with a current that was making over four mile

an hour. We catched fish and talked, and we took a

swim now and then to keep off sleepiness. It was

kind of solemn, drifting down the big, still river, lay-

ing 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 noth-

ing ever happened to us at all -- that night, nor the

next, nor the next.

Every night we passed towns, some of them away

up on black hillsides, nothing but just a shiny bed of

lights; not a house could you see. The fifth night we

passed St. Louis, and it was like the whole world lit

up. In St. Petersburg they used to say there was

twenty or thirty thousand people in St. Louis, but I

never believed it till I see that wonderful spread of

lights at two o'clock that still night. There warn't a

sound there; everybody was asleep.

Every night now I used to slip ashore towards ten

o'clock at some little village, and buy ten or fifteen

cents' worth of meal or bacon or other stuff to eat;

and sometimes I lifted a chicken that warn't roosting

comfortable, and took him along. Pap always said,

take a chicken when you get a chance, because if you

don't want him yourself you can easy find somebody

that does, and a good deed ain't ever forgot. I never

see pap when he didn't want the chicken himself, but

that is what he used to say, anyway.

Mornings before daylight I slipped into cornfields

and borrowed a watermelon, or a mushmelon, or a

punkin, or some new corn, or things of that kind.

Pap always said it warn't no harm to borrow things if

you was meaning to pay them back some time; but

the widow said it warn't anything but a soft name for

stealing, and no decent body would do it. Jim said he

reckoned the widow was partly right and pap was partly

right; so the best way would be for us to pick out two

or three things from the list and say we wouldn't borrow

them any more -- then he reckoned it wouldn't be no

harm to borrow the others. So we talked it over all

one night, drifting along down the river, trying to

make up our minds whether to drop the watermelons,

or the cantelopes, or the mushmelons, or what. But

towards daylight we got it all settled satisfactory, and

concluded to drop crabapples and p'simmons. We

warn't feeling just right before that, but it was all

comfortable now. I was glad the way it come out,

too, because crabapples ain't ever good, and the

p'simmons wouldn't be ripe for two or three months


We shot a water-fowl now and then that got up too

early in the morning or didn't go to bed early enough

in the evening. Take it all round, we lived pretty high.

The fifth night below St. Louis we had a big storm

after midnight, with a power of thunder and lightning,

and the rain poured down in a solid sheet. We stayed

in the wigwam and let the raft take care of itself.

When the lightning glared out we could see a big

straight river ahead, and high, rocky bluffs on both

sides. By and by says I, "Hel-LO, Jim, looky 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 upper deck above water, and

you could see every little chimbly-guy clean and clear,

and a chair by the big bell, with an old slouch hat

hanging on the back of it, when the flashes come.

Well, it being away in the night and stormy, and all

so mysterious-like, I felt just the way any other boy

would a felt when I see that wreck laying there so

mournful and lonesome in the middle of the river. I

wanted to get aboard of her and slink around a little,

and see what there was there. So I says:

"Le's land on her, Jim."

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

"I doan' want to go fool'n 'long er no wrack.

We's doin' blame' well, en we better let blame' well

alone, as de good book says. Like as not dey's a

watchman on dat wrack."

"Watchman your grandmother," I says; "there

ain't nothing to watch but the texas and the pilot-

house; and do you reckon anybody's going to resk his

life for a texas and a pilot-house such a night as this,

when it's likely to break up and wash off down the

river any minute?" Jim couldn't say nothing to that,

so he didn't try. "And besides," I says, "we might

borrow something worth having out of the captain's

stateroom. Seegars, I bet you -- and cost five cents

apiece, solid cash. Steamboat captains is always rich,

and get sixty dollars a month, and THEY don't care a

cent what a thing costs, you know, long as they want

it. Stick a candle in your pocket; I can't rest, Jim,

till we give her a rummaging. Do you reckon Tom

Sawyer would ever go by this thing? Not for pie, he

wouldn't. He'd call it an adventure -- that's what

he'd call it; and he'd land on that wreck if it was his

last act. And wouldn't he throw style into it? --

wouldn't he spread himself, nor nothing? Why,

you'd think it was Christopher C'lumbus discovering

Kingdom-Come. I wish Tom Sawyer WAS here."

Jim he grumbled a little, but give in. He said we

mustn't talk any more than we could help, and then

talk mighty low. The lightning showed us the wreck

again just in time, and we fetched the stabboard

derrick, and made fast there.

The deck was high out here. We went sneaking down

the slope of it to labboard, in the dark, towards the

texas, feeling our way slow with our feet, and spreading

our hands out to fend off the guys, for it was so dark

we couldn't see no sign of them. Pretty soon we

struck the forward end of the skylight, and clumb on

to it; and the next step fetched us in front of the

captain's door, which was open, and by Jimminy,

away down through the texas-hall we see a light! and

all in the same second we seem to hear low voices in


Jim whispered and said he was feeling powerful

sick, and told me to come along. I says, all right,

and was going to start for the raft; but just then I

heard a voice wail out and say:

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


Another voice said, pretty loud:

"It's a lie, Jim Turner. You've acted this way

before. You always want more'n your share of the

truck, and you've always got it, too, because you've

swore 't if you didn't you'd tell. But this time you've

said it jest one time too many. You're the meanest,

treacherousest hound in this country."

By this time Jim was gone for the raft. I was just

a-biling with curiosity; and I says to myself, Tom

Sawyer wouldn't back out now, and so I won't either;

I'm a-going to see what's going on here. So I

dropped on my hands and knees in the little passage,

and crept aft in the dark till there warn't but one

stateroom betwixt me and the cross-hall of the texas.

Then in there I see a man stretched on the floor and

tied hand and foot, and two men standing over him,

and one of them had a dim lantern in his hand, and

the other one had a pistol. This one kept pointing

the pistol at the man's head on the floor, and saying:

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

The man on the floor would shrivel up and say,

"Oh, please don't, Bill; I hain't ever goin' to tell."

And every time he said that the man with the lantern

would laugh and say:

"'Deed you AIN'T! You never said no truer thing

'n that, you bet you." And once he said: "Hear

him beg! and yit if we hadn't got the best of him and

tied him he'd a killed us both. And what FOR? Jist

for noth'n. Jist because we stood on our RIGHTS --

that's what for. But I lay you ain't a-goin' to threaten

nobody any more, Jim Turner. Put UP that pistol,


Bill says:

"I don't want to, Jake Packard. I'm for killin'

him -- and didn't he kill old Hatfield jist the same

way -- and don't he deserve it?"

"But I don't WANT him killed, and I've got my

reasons for it."

"Bless yo' heart for them words, Jake Packard!

I'll never forgit you long's I live!" says the man on

the floor, sort of blubbering.

Packard didn't take no notice of that, but hung up

his lantern on a nail and started towards where I was

there in the dark, and motioned Bill to come. I

crawfished as fast as I could about two yards, but the

boat slanted so that I couldn't make very good time;

so to keep from getting run over and catched I crawled

into a stateroom on the upper side. The man came a-

pawing along in the dark, and when Packard got to

my stateroom, he says:

"Here -- come in here."

And in he come, and Bill after him. But before

they got in I was up in the upper berth, cornered, and

sorry I come. Then they stood there, with their hands

on the ledge of the berth, and talked. I couldn't see

them, but I could tell where they was by the whisky

they'd been having. I was glad I didn't drink whisky;

but it wouldn't made much difference anyway, because

most of the time they couldn't a treed me because I

didn't breathe. I was too scared. And, besides, a

body COULDN'T breathe and hear such talk. They

talked low and earnest. Bill wanted to kill Turner.

He says:

"He's said he'll tell, and he will. If we was to

give both our shares to him NOW it wouldn't make no

difference after the row and the way we've served him.

Shore's you're born, he'll turn State's evidence; now

you hear ME. I'm for putting him out of his troubles."

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

"Blame it, I'd sorter begun to think you wasnUt.

Well, then, that's all right. Le's go and do it."

"Hold on a minute; I hain't had my say yit. You

listen to me. Shooting's good, but there's quieter

ways if the thing's GOT to be done. But what I say is

this: it ain't good sense to go court'n around after a

halter if you can git at what you're up to in some

way that's jist as good and at the same time don't

bring you into no resks. Ain't that so?"

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

this time?"

"Well, my idea is this: we'll rustle around and gather

up whatever pickins we've overlooked in the state-

rooms, and shove for shore and hide the truck. Then

we'll wait. Now I say it ain't a-goin' to be more'n

two hours befo' this wrack breaks up and washes off

down the river. See? He'll be drownded, and won't

have nobody to blame for it but his own self. I

reckon that's a considerble sight better 'n killin' of

him. I'm unfavorable to killin' a man as long as you

can git aroun' it; it ain't good sense, it ain't good

morals. Ain't I right?"

"Yes, I reck'n you are. But s'pose she DON'T

break up and wash off?"

"Well, we can wait the two hours anyway and see,

can't we?"

"All right, then; come along."

So they started, and I lit out, all in a cold sweat,

and scrambled forward. It was dark as pitch there;

but I said, in a kind of a coarse whisper, "Jim !" and

he answered up, right at my elbow, with a sort of a

moan, and I says:

"Quick, Jim, it ain't no time for fooling around

and moaning; there's a gang of murderers in yonder,

and if we don't hunt up their boat and set her drifting

down the river so these fellows can't get away from the

wreck there's one of 'em going to be in a bad fix.

But if we find their boat we can put ALL of 'em in a

bad fix -- for the sheriff 'll get 'em. Quick -- hurry!

I'll hunt the labboard side, you hunt the stabboard.

You start at the raft, and --"

"Oh, my lordy, lordy! RAF'? Dey ain' no raf'

no mo'; she done broke loose en gone I -- en here

we is!"



WELL, I catched my breath and most fainted.

Shut up on a wreck with such a gang as that!

But it warn't no time to be sentimentering. We'd GOT

to find that boat now -- had to have it for ourselves.

So we went a-quaking and shaking down the stabboard

side, and slow work it was, too -- seemed a week be-

fore we got to the stern. No sign of a boat. Jim

said he didn't believe he could go any further -- so

scared he hadn't hardly any strength left, he said.

But I said, come on, if we get left on this wreck we

are in a fix, sure. So on we prowled again. We

struck for the stern of the texas, and found it, and

then scrabbled along forwards on the skylight, hanging

on from shutter to shutter, for the edge of the skylight

was in the water. When we got pretty close to the

cross-hall door there was the skiff, sure enough! I

could just barely see her. I felt ever so thankful. In

another second I would a been aboard of her, but just

then the door opened. One of the men stuck his head

out only about a couple of foot from me, and I thought

I was gone; but he jerked it in again, and says:

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

He flung a bag of something into the boat, and then

got in himself and set down. It was Packard. Then

Bill HE come out and got in. Packard says, in a low


"All ready -- shove off!"

I couldn't hardly hang on to the shutters, I was so

weak. But Bill says:

"Hold on -- 'd you go through him?"

"No. Didn't you?"

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

"Well, then, come along; no use to take truck and

leave money."

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

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

Come along."

So they got out and went in.

The door slammed to because it was on the careened

side; and in a half second I was in the boat, and Jim

come tumbling after me. I out with my knife and cut

the rope, and away we went!

We didn't touch an oar, and we didn't speak nor

whisper, nor hardly even breathe. We went gliding

swift along, dead silent, past the tip of the paddle-

box, and past the stern; then in a second or two more

we was a hundred yards below the wreck, and the

darkness soaked her up, every last sign of her, and we

was safe, and knowed it.

When we was three or four hundred yards down-

stream we see the lantern show like a little spark at the

texas door for a second, and we knowed by that that

the rascals had missed their boat, and was beginning

to understand that they was in just as much trouble now

as Jim Turner was.

Then Jim manned the oars, and we took out after

our raft. Now was the first time that I begun to worry

about the men -- I reckon I hadn't had time to before.

I begun to think how dreadful it was, even for mur-

derers, to be in such a fix. I says to myself, there

ain't no telling but I might come to be a murderer

myself yet, and then how would I like it? So says I

to Jim:

"The first light we see we'll land a hundred yards

below it or above it, in a place where it's a good

hiding-place for you and the skiff, and then I'll go and

fix up some kind of a yarn, and get somebody to go

for that gang and get them out of their scrape, so they

can be hung when their time comes."

But that idea was a failure; for pretty soon it begun

to storm again, and this time worse than ever. The

rain poured down, and never a light showed; every-

body in bed, I reckon. We boomed along down the

river, watching for lights and watching for our raft.

After a long time the rain let up, but the clouds

stayed, and the lightning kept whimpering, and by and

by a flash showed us a black thing ahead, floating, and

we made for it.

It was the raft, and mighty glad was we to get

aboard of it again. We seen a light now away down

to the right, on shore. So I said I would go for it.

The skiff was half full of plunder which that gang had

stole there on the wreck. We hustled it on to the raft

in a pile, and I told Jim to float along down, and show

a light when he judged he had gone about two mile,

and keep it burning till I come; then I manned my

oars and shoved for the light. As I got down towards

it three or four more showed -- up on a hillside. It

was a village. I closed in above the shore light, and

laid on my oars and floated. As I went by I see it

was a lantern hanging on the jackstaff of a double-hull

ferryboat. I skimmed around for the watchman, a-

wondering whereabouts he slept; and by and by I

found him roosting on the bitts forward, with his head

down between his knees. I gave his shoulder two or

three little shoves, and begun to cry.

He stirred up in a kind of a startlish way; but when

he see it was only me he took a good gap and stretch,

and then he says:

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


I says:

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

Then I broke down. He says:

"Oh, dang it now, DON'T take on so; we all has to

have our troubles, and this 'n 'll come out all right.

What's the matter with 'em?"

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


"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 some-

times I'm the freight and passengers. I ain't as rich

as old Jim Hornback, and I can't be so blame' gener-

ous and good to Tom, Dick, and Harry as what he is,

and slam around money the way he does; but I've

told him a many a time 't I wouldn't trade places with

him; for, says I, a sailor's life's the life for me, and

I'm derned if I'D live two mile out o' town, where

there ain't nothing ever goin' on, not for all his spon-

dulicks and as much more on top of it. Says I --"

I broke in and says:

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

"WHO is?"

"Why, pap and mam and sis and Miss Hooker;

and if you'd take your ferryboat and go up there --"

"Up where? Where are they?"

"On the wreck."

"What wreck?"

"Why, there ain't but one."

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


"Good land! what are they doin' THERE, for gracious


"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-herQI

disremember her name -- and they lost their steering-

oar, and swung around and went a-floating down,

stern first, about two mile, and saddle-baggsed on the

wreck, and the ferryman and the nigger woman and

the horses was all lost, but Miss Hooker she made a

grab and got aboard the wreck. Well, about an hour

after dark we come along down in our trading-scow,

and it was so dark we didn't notice the wreck till we

was right on it; and so WE saddle-baggsed; but all of

us was saved but Bill Whipple -- and oh, he WAS the

best cretur ! -- I most wish 't it had been me, I do."

"My George! It's the beatenest thing I ever

struck. And THEN what did you all do?"

"Well, we hollered and took on, but it's so wide

there we couldn't make nobody hear. So pap said

somebody got to get ashore and get help somehow. I

was the only one that could swim, so I made a dash

for it, and Miss Hooker she said if I didn't strike help

sooner, come here and hunt up her uncle, and he'd

fix the thing. I made the land about a mile below,

and been fooling along ever since, trying to get people

to do something, but they said, 'What, in such a night

and such a current? There ain't no sense in it; go

for the steam ferry.' Now if you'll go and --"

"By Jackson, I'd LIKE to, and, blame it, I don't

know but I will; but who in the dingnation's a-going'

to PAY for it? Do you reckon your pap --"

"Why THAT'S all right. Miss Hooker she tole me,

PARTICULAR, that her uncle Hornback --"

"Great guns! is HE her uncle? Looky here, you

break for that light over yonder-way, and turn out

west when you git there, and about a quarter of a mile

out you'll come to the tavern; tell 'em to dart you

out to Jim Hornback's, and he'll foot the bill. And

don't you fool around any, because he'll want to know

the news. Tell him I'll have his niece all safe before

he can get to town. Hump yourself, now; I'm a-

going up around the corner here to roust out my


I struck for the light, but as soon as he turned the

corner I went back and got into my skiff and bailed her

out, and then pulled up shore in the easy water about

six hundred yards, and tucked myself in among some

woodboats; for I couldn't rest easy till I could see

the ferryboat start. But take it all around, I was feel-

ing ruther comfortable on accounts of taking all this

trouble for that gang, for not many would a done it.

I wished the widow knowed about it. I judged she

would be proud of me for helping these rapscallions,

because rapscallions and dead beats is the kind the

widow and good people takes the most interest in.

Well, before long here comes the wreck, dim and

dusky, sliding along down! A kind of cold shiver

went through me, and then I struck out for her. She

was very deep, and I see in a minute there warn't much

chance for anybody being alive in her. I pulled all

around her and hollered a little, but there wasn't any

answer; all dead still. I felt a little bit heavy-hearted

about the gang, but not much, for I reckoned if they

could stand it I could.

Then here comes the ferryboat; so I shoved for the

middle of the river on a long down-stream slant; and

when I judged I was out of eye-reach I laid on my

oars, and looked back and see her go and smell around

the wreck for Miss Hooker's remainders, because the

captain would know her uncle Hornback would want

them; and then pretty soon the ferryboat give it up

and went for the shore, and I laid into my work and

went a-booming down the river.

It did seem a powerful long time before Jim's light

showed up; and when it did show it looked like it was

a thousand mile off. By the time I got there the sky

was beginning to get a little gray in the east; so we

struck for an island, and hid the raft, and sunk the

skiff, and turned in and slept like dead people.



BY and by, when we got up, we turned over the

truck the gang had stole off of the wreck, and

found boots, and blankets, and clothes, and all sorts of

other things, and a lot of books, and a spyglass, and

three boxes of seegars. We hadn't ever been this rich

before in neither of our lives. The seegars was prime.

We laid off all the afternoon in the woods talking, and

me reading the books, and having a general good time.

I told Jim all about what happened inside the wreck

and at the ferryboat, and I said these kinds of things

was adventures; but he said he didn't want no more

adventures. He said that when I went in the texas

and he crawled back to get on the raft and found her

gone he nearly died, because he judged it was all up

with HIM anyway it could be fixed; for if he didn't get

saved he would get drownded; and if he did get

saved, whoever saved him would send him back home

so as to get the reward, and then Miss Watson would

sell him South, sure. Well, he was right; he was

most always right; he had an uncommon level head

for a nigger.

I read considerable to Jim about kings and dukes

and earls and such, and how gaudy they dressed, and

how much style they put on, and called each other

your majesty, and your grace, and your lordship, and

so on, 'stead of mister; and Jim's eyes bugged out,

and he was interested. He says:

"I didn' know dey was so many un um. I hain't

hearn 'bout none un um, skasely, but ole King Soller-

mun, onless you counts dem kings dat's in a pack er

k'yards. How much do a king git?"

"Get?" I says; "why, they get a thousand dollars

a month if they want it; they can have just as much

as they want; everything belongs to them."

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

"THEY don't do nothing! Why, how you talk!

They just set around."

"No; is dat so?"

"Of course it is. They just set around -- except,

maybe, when there's a war; then they go to the war.

But other times they just lazy around; or go hawking

-- just hawking and sp -- Sh! -- d' you hear a noise?"

We skipped out and looked; but it warn't nothing

but the flutter of a steamboat's wheel away down,

coming around the point; so we come back.

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

dull, they fuss with the parlyment; and if everybody

don't go just so he whacks their heads off. But

mostly they hang round the harem."

"Roun' de which?"


"What's de harem?"

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

know about the harem? Solomon had one; he had

about a million wives."

"Why, yes, dat's so; I -- I'd done forgot it. A

harem's a bo'd'n-house, I reck'n. Mos' likely dey

has rackety times in de nussery. En I reck'n de wives

quarrels considable; en dat 'crease de racket. Yit dey

say Sollermun de wises' man dat ever live'. I doan'

take no stock in dat. Bekase why: would a wise man

want to live in de mids' er sich a blim-blammin' all de

time? No -- 'deed he wouldn't. A wise man 'ud take

en buil' a biler-factry; en den he could shet DOWN de

biler-factry when he want to res'."

"Well, but he WAS the wisest man, anyway; be-

cause the widow she told me so, her own self."

"I doan k'yer what de widder say, he WARN'T no

wise man nuther. He had some er de dad-fetchedes'

ways I ever see. Does you know 'bout dat chile dat

he 'uz gwyne to chop in two?"

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

"WELL, den! Warn' dat de beatenes' notion in de

worl'? You jes' take en look at it a minute. Dah's

de stump, dah -- dat's one er de women; heah's you

-- dat's de yuther one; I's Sollermun; en dish yer

dollar bill's de chile. Bofe un you claims it. What

does I do? Does I shin aroun' mongs' de neighbors

en fine out which un you de bill DO b'long to, en han'

it over to de right one, all safe en soun', de way dat

anybody dat had any gumption would? No; I take

en whack de bill in TWO, en give half un it to you, en

de yuther half to de yuther woman. Dat's de way

Sollermun was gwyne to do wid de chile. Now I

want to ast you: what's de use er dat half a bill? --

can't buy noth'n wid it. En what use is a half a

chile? I wouldn' give a dern for a million un um."

"But hang it, Jim, you've clean missed the point --

blame it, you've missed it a thousand mile."

"Who? Me? Go 'long. Doan' talk to me 'bout

yo' pints. I reck'n I knows sense when I sees it; en

dey ain' no sense in sich doin's as dat. De 'spute

warn't 'bout a half a chile, de 'spute was 'bout a

whole chile; en de man dat think he kin settle a

'spute 'bout a whole chile wid a half a chile doan'

know enough to come in out'n de rain. Doan' talk

to me 'bout Sollermun, Huck, I knows him by de back."

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

"Blame de point! I reck'n I knows what I knows.

En mine you, de REAL pint is down furder -- it's down

deeper. It lays in de way Sollermun was raised.

You take a man dat's got on'y one or two chillen; is

dat man gwyne to be waseful o' chillen? No, he

ain't; he can't 'ford it. HE know how to value 'em.

But you take a man dat's got 'bout five million chillen

runnin' roun' de house, en it's diffunt. HE as soon

chop a chile in two as a cat. Dey's plenty mo'. A

chile er two, mo' er less, warn't no consekens to

Sollermun, dad fatch him!"

I never see such a nigger. If he got a notion in his

head once, there warn't no getting it out again. He

was the most down on Solomon of any nigger I ever

see. So I went to talking about other kings, and let

Solomon slide. I told about Louis Sixteenth that got

his head cut off in France long time ago; and about

his little boy the dolphin, that would a been a king,

but they took and shut him up in jail, and some say he

died there.

"Po' little chap."

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

to America."

"Dat's good! But he'll be pooty lonesome -- dey

ain' no kings here, is dey, Huck?"


"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


"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


"I don't know; but it's so. I got some of their

jabber out of a book. S'pose a man was to come to

you and say Polly-voo-franzy -- what would you


"I wouldn' think nuff'n; I'd take en bust him over

de head -- dat is, if he warn't white. I wouldn't 'low

no nigger to call me dat."

"Shucks, it ain't calling you anything. It's only

saying, do you know how to talk French?"

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

"Why, he IS a-saying it. That's a Frenchman's

WAY of saying it."

"Well, it's a blame ridicklous way, en I doan' want

to hear no mo' 'bout it. Dey ain' no sense in it."

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

"No, a cat don't."

"Well, does a cow?"

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

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


"No, dey don't."

"It's natural and right for 'em to talk different from

each other, ain't it?"


"And ain't it natural and right for a cat and a cow

to talk different from US?"

"Why, mos' sholy it is."

"Well, then, why ain't it natural and right for a

FRENCHMAN to talk different from us? You answer me


"Is a cat a man, Huck?"


"Well, den, dey ain't no sense in a cat talkin' like a

man. Is a cow a man? -- er is a cow a cat?"

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

"Well, den, she ain't got no business to talk like

either one er the yuther of 'em. Is a Frenchman a



"WELL, den! Dad blame it, why doan' he TALK like

a man? You answer me DAT!"

I see it warn't no use wasting words -- you can't

learn a nigger to argue. So I quit.



WE judged that three nights more would fetch us to

Cairo, at the bottom of Illinois, where the Ohio

River comes in, and that was what we was after. We

would sell the raft and get on a steamboat and go way

up the Ohio amongst the free States, and then be out

of trouble.

Well, the second night a fog begun to come on, and

we made for a towhead to tie to, for it wouldn't do to

try to run in a fog; but when I paddled ahead in the

canoe, with the line to make fast, there warn't any-

thing 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 boom-

ing down so lively she tore it out by the roots and

away she went. I see the fog closing down, and it

made me so sick and scared I couldn't budge for most

a half a minute it seemed to me -- and then there warn't

no raft in sight; you couldn't see twenty yards. I

jumped into the canoe and run back to the stern, and

grabbed the paddle and set her back a stroke. But

she didn't come. I was in such a hurry I hadn't

untied her. I got up and tried to untie her, but I was

so excited my hands shook so I couldn't hardly do

anything with them.

As soon as I got started I took out after the raft,

hot and heavy, right down the towhead. That was

all right as far as it went, but the towhead warn't

sixty yards long, and the minute I flew by the foot of

it I shot out into the solid white fog, and hadn't no

more idea which way I was going than a dead man.

Thinks I, it won't do to paddle; first I know I'll

run into the bank or a towhead or something; I got

to set still and float, and yet it's mighty fidgety busi-

ness to have to hold your hands still at such a time. I

whooped and listened. Away down there somewheres

I hears a small whoop, and up comes my spirits. I

went tearing after it, listening sharp to hear it again.

The next time it come I see I warn't heading for it,

but heading away to the right of it. And the next

time I was heading away to the left of it -- and not

gaining on it much either, for I was flying around, this

way and that and t'other, but it was going straight

ahead all the time.

I did wish the fool would think to beat a tin pan,

and beat it all the time, but he never did, and it was

the still places between the whoops that was making

the trouble for me. Well, I fought along, and directly

I hears the whoop BEHIND me. I was tangled good

now. That was somebody else's whoop, or else I was

turned around.

I throwed the paddle down. I heard the whoop

again; it was behind me yet, but in a different place;

it kept coming, and kept changing its place, and I kept

answering, till by and by it was in front of me again,

and I knowed the current had swung the canoe's head

down-stream, and I was all right if that was Jim and

not some other raftsman hollering. I couldn't tell

nothing about voices in a fog, for nothing don't look

natural nor sound natural in a fog.

The whooping went on, and in about a minute I

come a-booming down on a cut bank with smoky

ghosts of big trees on it, and the current throwed me

off to the left and shot by, amongst a lot of snags that

fairly roared, the currrent was tearing by them so swift.

In another second or two it was solid white and still

again. I set perfectly still then, listening to my heart

thump, and I reckon I didn't draw a breath while it

thumped a hundred.

I just give up then. I knowed what the matter was.

That cut bank was an island, and Jim had gone down

t'other side of it. It warn't no towhead that you

could float by in ten minutes. It had the big timber

of a regular island; it might be five or six miles long

and more than half a mile wide.

I kept quiet, with my ears cocked, about fifteen

minutes, I reckon. I was floating along, of course,

four or five miles an hour; but you don't ever think

of that. No, you FEEL like you are laying dead still on

the water; and if a little glimpse of a snag slips by

you don't think to yourself how fast YOU'RE going, but

you catch your breath and think, my! how that snag's

tearing along. If you think it ain't dismal and lone-

some out in a fog that way by yourself in the night,

you try it once -- you'll see.

Next, for about a half an hour, I whoops now and

then; at last I hears the answer a long ways off, and

tries to follow it, but I couldn't do it, and directly I

judged I'd got into a nest of towheads, for I had little

dim glimpses of them on both sides of me -- sometimes

just a narrow channel between, and some that I

couldn't see I knowed was there because I'd hear the

wash of the current against the old dead brush and

trash that hung over the banks. Well, I warn't long

loosing the whoops down amongst the towheads; and

I only tried to chase them a little while, anyway, be-

cause it was worse than chasing a Jack-o'-lantern.

You never knowed a sound dodge around so, and

swap places so quick and so much.

I had to claw away from the bank pretty lively four

or five times, to keep from knocking the islands out of

the river; and so I judged the raft must be butting

into the bank every now and then, or else it would get

further ahead and clear out of hearing -- it was floating

a little faster than what I was.

Well, I seemed to be in the open river again by and

by, but I couldn't hear no sign of a whoop nowheres.

I reckoned Jim had fetched up on a snag, maybe, and

it was all up with him. I was good and tired, so I laid

down in the canoe and said I wouldn't bother no

more. I didn't want to go to sleep, of course; but I

was so sleepy I couldn't help it; so I thought I would

take jest one little cat-nap.

But I reckon it was more than a cat-nap, for when I

waked up the stars was shining bright, the fog was all

gone, and I was spinning down a big bend stern first.

First I didn't know where I was; I thought I was

dreaming; and when things began to come back to me

they seemed to come up dim out of last week.

It was a monstrous big river here, with the tallest

and the thickest kind of timber on both banks; just a

solid wall, as well as I could see by the stars. I looked

away down-stream, and seen a black speck on the

water. I took after it; but when I got to it it warn't

nothing but a couple of sawlogs made fast together.

Then I see another speck, and chased that; then

another, and this time I was right. It was the raft.

When I got to it Jim was setting there with his head

down between his knees, asleep, with his right arm

hanging over the steering-oar. The other oar was

smashed off, and the raft was littered up with leaves

and branches and dirt. So she'd had a rough time.

I made fast and laid down under Jim's nose on the

raft, and began to gap, and stretch my fists out against

Jim, and says:

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

stir me up?"

"Goodness gracious, is dat you, Huck? En you

ain' dead -- you ain' drownded -- you's back agin?

It's too good for true, honey, it's too good for true.

Lemme look at you chile, lemme feel o' you. No,

you ain' dead! you's back agin, 'live en soun', jis de

same ole Huck -- de same ole Huck, thanks to good-


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


"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


"Huck -- Huck Finn, you look me in de eye; look

me in de eye. HAIN'T you ben gone away?"

"Gone away? Why, what in the nation do you

mean? I hain't been gone anywheres. Where would

I go to?"

"Well, looky here, boss, dey's sumf'n wrong, dey

is. Is I ME, or who IS I? Is I heah, or whah IS I?

Now dat's what I wants to know."

"Well, I think you're here, plain enough, but I

think you're a tangle-headed old fool, Jim."

"I is, is I? Well, you answer me dis: Didn't you

tote out de line in de canoe fer to make fas' to de tow-


"No, I didn't. What tow-head? I hain't see no


"You hain't seen no towhead? Looky here, didn't

de line pull loose en de raf' go a-hummin' down de

river, en leave you en de canoe behine in de fog?"

"What fog?"

"Why, de fog! -- de fog dat's been aroun' all night.

En didn't you whoop, en didn't I whoop, tell we got

mix' up in de islands en one un us got los' en t'other

one was jis' as good as los', 'kase he didn' know whah

he wuz? En didn't I bust up agin a lot er dem islands

en have a turrible time en mos' git drownded? Now

ain' dat so, boss -- ain't it so? You answer me dat."

"Well, this is too many for me, Jim. I hain't seen

no fog, nor no islands, nor no troubles, nor nothing.

I been setting here talking with you all night till you

went to sleep about ten minutes ago, and I reckon I

done the same. You couldn't a got drunk in that

time, so of course you've been dreaming."

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

ten minutes?"

"Well, hang it all, you did dream it, because there

didn't any of it happen."

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

"It don't make no difference how plain it is; there

ain't nothing in it. I know, because I've been here

all the time."

Jim didn't say nothing for about five minutes, but

set there studying over it. Then he says:

"Well, den, I reck'n I did dream it, Huck; but

dog my cats ef it ain't de powerfullest dream I ever

see. En I hain't ever had no dream b'fo' dat's tired

me like dis one."

"Oh, well, that's all right, because a dream does

tire a body like everything sometimes. But this one

was a staving dream; tell me all about it, Jim."

So Jim went to work and told me the whole thing

right through, just as it happened, only he painted it

up considerable. Then he said he must start in and

"'terpret" it, because it was sent for a warning. He

said the first towhead stood for a man that would try

to do us some good, but the current was another man

that would get us away from him. The whoops was

warnings that would come to us every now and then,

and if we didn't try hard to make out to understand

them they'd just take us into bad luck, 'stead of keep-

ing us out of it. The lot of towheads was troubles

we was going to get into with quarrelsome people and

all kinds of mean folks, but if we minded our business

and didn't talk back and aggravate them, we would

pull through and get out of the fog and into the big

clear river, which was the free States, and wouldn't

have no more trouble.

It had clouded up pretty dark just after I got on to

the raft, but it was clearing up again now.

"Oh, well, that's all interpreted well enough as far

as it goes, Jim," I says; "but what does THESE things

stand for?"

It was the leaves and rubbish on the raft and the

smashed oar. You could see them first-rate now.

Jim looked at the trash, and then looked at me, and

back at the trash again. He had got the dream fixed

so strong in his head that he couldn't seem to shake it

loose and get the facts back into its place again right

away. But when he did get the thing straightened

around he looked at me steady without ever smiling,

and says:

"What do dey stan' for? I'se gwyne to tell you.

When I got all wore out wid work, en wid de callin'

for you, en went to sleep, my heart wuz mos' broke

bekase you wuz los', en I didn' k'yer no' mo' what

become er me en de raf'. En when I wake up en fine

you back agin, all safe en soun', de tears come, en I

could a got down on my knees en kiss yo' foot, I's so

thankful. En all you wuz thinkin' 'bout wuz how you

could make a fool uv ole Jim wid a lie. Dat truck dah

is TRASH; en trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de

head er dey fren's en makes 'em ashamed."

Then he got up slow and walked to the wigwam,

and went in there without saying anything but that.

But that was enough. It made me feel so mean I

could almost kissed HIS foot to get him to take it back.

It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up

to go and humble myself to a nigger; but I done it,

and I warn't ever sorry for it afterwards, neither. I

didn't do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn't

done that one if I'd a knowed it would make him feel

that way.



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 mid-

dle, and a tall flag-pole at each end. There was a

power of style about her. It AMOUNTED to something

being a raftsman on such a craft as that.

We went drifting down into a big bend, and the

night clouded up and got hot. The river was very

wide, and was walled with solid timber on both sides;

you couldn't see a break in it hardly ever, or a light.

We talked about Cairo, and wondered whether we

would know it when we got to it. I said likely we

wouldn't, because I had heard say there warn't but

about a dozen houses there, and if they didn't happen

to have them lit up, how was we going to know we

was passing a town? Jim said if the two big rivers

joined together there, that would show. But I said

maybe we might think we was passing the foot of an

island and coming into the same old river again. That

disturbed Jim -- and me too. So the question was,

what to do? I said, paddle ashore the first time a

light showed, and tell them pap was behind, coming

along with a trading-scow, and was a green hand at

the business, and wanted to know how far it was to

Cairo. Jim thought it was a good idea, so we took a

smoke on it and waited.

There warn't nothing to do now but to look out

sharp for the town, and not pass it without seeing it.

He said he'd be mighty sure to see it, because he'd be

a free man the minute he seen it, but if he missed it

he'd be in a slave country again and no more show for

freedom. Every little while he jumps up and says:

"Dah she is?"

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

bugs; so he set down again, and went to watching,

same as before. Jim said it made him all over trembly

and feverish to be so close to freedom. Well, I can

tell you it made me all over trembly and feverish, too,

to hear him, because I begun to get it through my

head that he WAS most free -- and who was to blame

for it? Why, ME. I couldn't get that out of my con-

science, no how nor no way. It got to troubling me

so I couldn't rest; I couldn't stay still in one place.

It hadn't ever come home to me before, what this

thing was that I was doing. But now it did; and it

stayed with me, and scorched me more and more. I

tried to make out to myself that I warn't to blame,

because I didn't run Jim off from his rightful owner;

but it warn't no use, conscience up and says, every

time, "But you knowed he was running for his free-

dom, and you could a paddled ashore and told some-

body." That was so -- I couldn't get around that

noway. That was where it pinched. Conscience says

to me, "What had poor Miss Watson done to you

that you could see her nigger go off right under your

eyes and never say one single word? What did that

poor old woman do to you that you could treat her so

mean? Why, she tried to learn you your book, she tried

to learn you your manners, she tried to be good to you

every way she knowed how. THAT'S what she done."

I got to feeling so mean and so miserable I most wished

I was dead. I fidgeted up and down the raft, abusing

myself to myself, and Jim was fidgeting up and down

past me. We neither of us could keep still. Every

time he danced around and says, "Dah's Cairo!" it

went through me like a shot, and I thought if it WAS

Cairo I reckoned I would die of miserableness.

Jim talked out loud all the time while I was talking

to myself. He was saying how the first thing he

would do when he got to a free State he would go to

saving up money and never spend a single cent, and

when he got enough he would buy his wife, which was

owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson lived;

and then they would both work to buy the two chil-

dren, 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 sing-

ing to myself. By and by one showed. Jim sings


"We's safe, Huck, we's safe! Jump up and crack

yo' heels! Dat's de good ole Cairo at las', I jis knows


I says:

"I'll take the canoe and go and see, Jim. It

mightn't be, you know."

He jumped and got the canoe ready, and put his old

coat in the bottom for me to set on, and give me the

paddle; and as I shoved off, he says:

"Pooty soon I'll be a-shout'n' for joy, en I'll say,

it's all on accounts o' Huck; I's a free man, en I

couldn't ever ben free ef it hadn' ben for Huck; Huck

done it. Jim won't ever forgit you, Huck; you's de

bes' fren' Jim's ever had; en you's de ONLY fren' ole

Jim's got now."

I was paddling off, all in a sweat to tell on him; but

when he says this, it seemed to kind of take the tuck

all out of me. I went along slow then, and I warn't

right down certain whether I was glad I started or

whether I warn't. When I was fifty yards off, Jim


"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 yon-

der, above the head of the bend. Is your man white

or black?"

I didn't answer up prompt. I tried to, but the

words wouldn't come. I tried for a second or two to

brace up and out with it, but I warn't man enough --

hadn't the spunk of a rabbit. I see I was weakening;

so I just give up trying, and up and says:

"He's white."

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

"I wish you would," says I, "because it's pap

that's there, and maybe you'd help me tow the raft

ashore where the light is. He's sick -- and so is mam

and Mary Ann."

"Oh, the devil! we're in a hurry, boy. But I

s'pose we've got to. Come, buckle to your paddle,

and let's get along."

I buckled to my paddle and they laid to their oars.

When we had made a stroke or two, I says:

"Pap'll be mighty much obleeged to you, I can

tell you. Everybody goes away when I want them to

help me tow the raft ashore, and I can't do it by


"Well, that's infernal mean. Odd, too. Say, boy,

what's the matter with your father?"

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

They stopped pulling. It warn't but a mighty little

ways to the raft now. One says:

"Boy, that's a lie. What IS the matter with your

pap? Answer up square now, and it'll be the better

for you."

"I will, sir, I will, honest -- but don't leave us,

please. It's the -- the -- Gentlemen, if you'll only

pull ahead, and let me heave you the headline, you

won't have to come a-near the raft -- please do."

"Set her back, John, set her back!" says one.

They backed water. "Keep away, boy -- keep to

looard. Confound it, I just expect the wind has

blowed it to us. Your pap's got the small-pox, and

you know it precious well. Why didn't you come out

and say so? Do you want to spread it all over?"

"Well," says I, a-blubbering, "I've told every-

body before, and they just went away and left us."

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

right down sorry for you, but we -- well, hang it, we

don't want the small-pox, you see. Look here, I'll

tell you what to do. Don't you try to land by your-

self, or you'll smash everything to pieces. You float

along down about twenty miles, and you'll come to a

town on the left-hand side of the river. It will be

long after sun-up then, and when you ask for help

you tell them your folks are all down with chills and

fever. Don't be a fool again, and let people guess

what is the matter. Now we're trying to do you a

kindness; so you just put twenty miles between us,

that's a good boy. It wouldn't do any good to land

yonder where the light is -- it's only a wood-yard.

Say, I reckon your father's poor, and I'm bound to

say he's in pretty hard luck. Here, I'll put a twenty-

dollar gold piece on this board, and you get it when it

floats by. I feel mighty mean to leave you; but my

kingdom! it won't do to fool with small-pox, don't

you see?"

"Hold on, Parker," says the other man, "here's a

twenty to put on the board for me. Good-bye, boy;

you do as Mr. Parker told you, and you'll be all


"That's so, my boy -- good-bye, good-bye. If you

see any runaway niggers you get help and nab them,

and you can make some money by it."

"Good-bye, sir," says I; "I won't let no runaway

niggers get by me if I can help it."

They went off and I got aboard the raft, feeling bad

and low, because I knowed very well I had done

wrong, and I see it warn't no use for me to try to

learn to do right; a body that don't get STARTED right

when he's little ain't got no show -- when the pinch

comes there ain't nothing to back him up and keep

him to his work, and so he gets beat. Then I thought

a minute, and says to myself, hold on; s'pose you'd a

done right and give Jim up, would you felt better than

what you do now? No, says I, I'd feel bad -- I'd feel

just the same way I do now. Well, then, says I,

what's the use you learning to do right when it's

troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do

wrong, and the wages is just the same? I was stuck.

I couldn't answer that. So I reckoned I wouldn't

bother no more about it, but after this always do

whichever come handiest at the time.

I went into the wigwam; Jim warn't there. I looked

all around; he warn't anywhere. I says:


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

talk loud."

He was in the river under the stern oar, with just

his nose out. I told him they were out of sight, so he

come aboard. He says:

"I was a-listenin' to all de talk, en I slips into de

river en was gwyne to shove for sho' if dey come

aboard. Den I was gwyne to swim to de raf' agin

when dey was gone. But lawsy, how you did fool

'em, Huck! Dat WUZ de smartes' dodge! I tell you,

chile, I'spec it save' ole Jim -- ole Jim ain't going to

forgit you for dat, honey."

Then we talked about the money. It was a pretty

good raise -- twenty dollars apiece. Jim said we could

take deck passage on a steamboat now, and the money

would last us as far as we wanted to go in the free

States. He said twenty mile more warn't far for the

raft to go, but he wished we was already there.

Towards daybreak we tied up, and Jim was mighty

particular about hiding the raft good. Then he worked

all day fixing things in bundles, and getting all ready

to quit rafting.

That night about ten we hove in sight of the lights

of a town away down in a left-hand bend.

I went off in the canoe to ask about it. Pretty soon I

found a man out in the river with a skiff, setting a trot-

line. I ranged up and says:

"Mister, is that town Cairo?"

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

"What town is it, mister?"

"If you want to know, go and find out. If you

stay here botherin' around me for about a half a minute

longer you'll get something you won't want."

I paddled to the raft. Jim was awful disappointed,

but I said never mind, Cairo would be the next place,

I reckoned.

We passed another town before daylight, and I was

going out again; but it was high ground, so I didn't

go. No high ground about Cairo, Jim said. I had

forgot it. We laid up for the day on a towhead

tolerable close to the left-hand bank. I begun to

suspicion something. So did Jim. I says:

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

He says:

"Doan' le's talk about it, Huck. Po' niggers can't

have no luck. I awluz 'spected dat rattlesnake-skin

warn't done wid its work."

"I wish I'd never seen that snake-skin, Jim -- I do

wish I'd never laid eyes on it."

"It ain't yo' fault, Huck; you didn' know. Don't

you blame yo'self 'bout it."

When it was daylight, here was the clear Ohio water

inshore, sure enough, and outside was the old regular

Muddy! So it was all up with Cairo.

We talked it all over. It wouldn't do to take to the

shore; we couldn't take the raft up the stream, of

course. There warn't no way but to wait for dark,

and start back in the canoe and take the chances. So

we slept all day amongst the cottonwood thicket, so

as to be fresh for the work, and when we went back to

the raft about dark the canoe was gone!

We didn't say a word for a good while. There

warn't anything to say. We both knowed well enough

it was some more work of the rattlesnake-skin; so

what was the use to talk about it? It would only look

like we was finding fault, and that would be bound to

fetch more bad luck -- and keep on fetching it, too, till

we knowed enough to keep still.

By and by we talked about what we better do, and

found there warn't no way but just to go along down

with the raft till we got a chance to buy a canoe to go

back in. We warn't going to borrow it when there

warn't anybody around, the way pap would do, for

that might set people after us.

So we shoved out after dark on the raft.

Anybody that don't believe yet that it's foolishness to

handle a snake-skin, after all that that snake-skin done

for us, will believe it now if they read on and see what

more it done for us.

The place to buy canoes is off of rafts laying up at

shore. But we didn't see no rafts laying up; so we

went along during three hours and more. Well, the

night got gray and ruther thick, which is the next

meanest thing to fog. You can't tell the shape of the

river, and you can't see no distance. It got to be

very late and still, and then along comes a steamboat

up the river. We lit the lantern, and judged she would

see it. Up-stream boats didn't generly come close to

us; they go out and follow the bars and hunt for easy

water under the reefs; but nights like this they bull

right up the channel against the whole river.

We could hear her pounding along, but we didn't

see her good till she was close. She aimed right for

us. Often they do that and try to see how close they

can come without touching; sometimes the wheel bites

off a sweep, and then the pilot sticks his head out and

laughs, and thinks he's mighty smart. Well, here she

comes, and we said she was going to try and shave us;

but she didn't seem to be sheering off a bit. She was

a big one, and she was coming in a hurry, too, looking

like a black cloud with rows of glow-worms around it;

but all of a sudden she bulged out, big and scary, with

a long row of wide-open furnace doors shining like

red-hot teeth, and her monstrous bows and guards

hanging right over us. There was a yell at us, and a

jingling of bells to stop the engines, a powwow of

cussing, and whistling of steam -- and as Jim went

overboard on one side and I on the other, she come

smashing straight through the raft.

I dived -- and I aimed to find the bottom, too, for a

thirty-foot wheel had got to go over me, and I wanted

it to have plenty of room. I could always stay under

water a minute; this time I reckon I stayed under a

minute and a half. Then I bounced for the top in a

hurry, for I was nearly busting. I popped out to my

armpits and blowed the water out of my nose, and

puffed a bit. Of course there was a booming current;

and of course that boat started her engines again ten

seconds after she stopped them, for they never cared

much for raftsmen; so now she was churning along up

the river, out of sight in the thick weather, though I

could hear her.

I sung out for Jim about a dozen times, but I didn't

get any answer; so I grabbed a plank that touched me

while I was "treading water," and struck out for

shore, shoving it ahead of me. But I made out to

see that the drift of the current was towards the left-

hand shore, which meant that I was in a crossing; so

I changed off and went that way.

It was one of these long, slanting, two-mile cross-

ings; so I was a good long time in getting over. I

made a safe landing, and clumb up the bank. I couldn't

see but a little ways, but I went poking along over

rough ground for a quarter of a mile or more, and

then I run across a big old-fashioned double log-house

before I noticed it. I was going to rush by and get

away, but a lot of dogs jumped out and went to howl-

ing and barking at me, and I knowed better than to

move another peg.



IN about a minute somebody spoke out of a window

without putting his head out, and says:

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

I says:

"It's me."

"Who's me?"

"George Jackson, sir."

"What do you want?"

"I don't want nothing, sir. I only want to go

along by, but the dogs won't let me."

"What are you prowling around here this time of

night for -- hey?"

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

of the steamboat."

"Oh, you did, did you? Strike a light there, some-

body. What did you say your name was?"

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

"Look here, if you're telling the truth you needn't

be afraid -- nobody'll hurt you. But don't try to

budge; stand right where you are. Rouse out Bob

and Tom, some of you, and fetch the guns. George

Jackson, is there anybody with you?"

"No, sir, nobody."

I heard the people stirring around in the house now,

and see a light. The man sung out:

"Snatch that light away, Betsy, you old fool -- ain't

you got any sense? Put it on the floor behind the

front door. Bob, if you and Tom are ready, take

your places."

"All ready."

"Now, George Jackson, do you know the Shepherd-


"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 any-

body with you, let him keep back -- if he shows him-

self he'll be shot. Come along now. Come slow;

push the door open yourself -- just enough to squeeze

in, d' you hear?"

I didn't hurry; I couldn't if I'd a wanted to. I

took one slow step at a time and there warn't a sound,

only I thought I could hear my heart. The dogs were

as still as the humans, but they followed a little behind

me. When I got to the three log doorsteps I heard

them unlocking and unbarring and unbolting. I put

my hand on the door and pushed it a little and a little

more till somebody said, "There, that's enough -- put

your head in." I done it, but I judged they would

take it off.

The candle was on the floor, and there they all was,

looking at me, and me at them, for about a quarter of

a minute: Three big men with guns pointed at me,

which made me wince, I tell you; the oldest, gray and

about sixty, the other two thirty or more -- all of them

fine and handsome -- and the sweetest old gray-headed

lady, and back of her two young women which I

couldn't see right well. The old gentleman says:

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

As soon as I was in the old gentleman he locked the

door and barred it and bolted it, and told the young

men to come in with their guns, and they all went in a

big parlor that had a new rag carpet on the floor, and

got together in a corner that was out of the range of

the front windows -- there warn't none on the side.

They held the candle, and took a good look at me,

and all said, "Why, HE ain't a Shepherdson -- no,

there ain't any Shepherdson about him." Then the

old man said he hoped I wouldn't mind being searched

for arms, because he didn't mean no harm by it -- it

was only to make sure. So he didn't pry into my

pockets, but only felt outside with his hands, and said

it was all right. He told me to make myself easy and

at home, and tell all about myself; but the old lady


"Why, bless you, Saul, the poor thing's as wet as

he can be; and don't you reckon it may be he's


"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 four-

teen or along there, though he was a little bigger than

me. He hadn't on anything but a shirt, and he was

very frowzy-headed. He came in gaping and digging

one fist into his eyes, and he was dragging a gun along

with the other one. He says:

"Ain't they no Shepherdsons around?"

They said, no, 'twas a false alarm.

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

I'd a got one."

They all laughed, and Bob says:

"Why, Buck, they might have scalped us all, you've

been so slow in coming."

"Well, nobody come after me, and it ain't right

I'm always kept down; I don't get no show."

"Never mind, Buck, my boy," says the old man,

"you'll have show enough, all in good time, don't

you fret about that. Go 'long with you now, and do

as your mother told you."

When we got up-stairs to his room he got me a

coarse shirt and a roundabout and pants of his, and I

put them on. While I was at it he asked me what my

name was, but before I could tell him he started to tell

me about a bluejay and a young rabbit he had catched

in the woods day before yesterday, and he asked me

where Moses was when the candle went out. I said I

didn't know; I hadn't heard about it before, no way.

"Well, guess," he says.

"How'm I going to guess," says I, "when I never

heard tell of it before?"

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

"WHICH candle?" I says.

"Why, any candle," he says.

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

was he?"

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

"Well, if you knowed where he was, what did you

ask me for?"

"Why, blame it, it's a riddle, don't you see? Say,

how long are you going to stay here? You got to

stay always. We can just have booming times -- they

don't have no school now. Do you own a dog?

I've got a dog -- and he'll go in the river and bring

out chips that you throw in. Do you like to comb up

Sundays, and all that kind of foolishness? You bet I

don't, but ma she makes me. Confound these ole

britches! I reckon I'd better put 'em on, but I'd

ruther not, it's so warm. Are you all ready? All

right. Come along, old hoss."

Cold corn-pone, cold corn-beef, butter and butter-

milk -- that is what they had for me down there, and

there ain't nothing better that ever I've come across

yet. Buck and his ma and all of them smoked cob

pipes, except the nigger woman, which was gone, and

the two young women. They all smoked and talked,

and I eat and talked. The young women had quilts

around them, and their hair down their backs. They

all asked me questions, and I told them how pap and

me and all the family was living on a little farm down

at the bottom of Arkansaw, and my sister Mary Ann

run off and got married and never was heard of no

more, and Bill went to hunt them and he warn't heard

of no more, and Tom and Mort died, and then there

warn't nobody but just me and pap left, and he was

just trimmed down to nothing, on account of his

troubles; so when he died I took what there was left,

because the farm didn't belong to us, and started up

the river, deck passage, and fell overboard; and that

was how I come to be here. So they said I could

have a home there as long as I wanted it. Then it

was most daylight and everybody went to bed, and I

went to bed with Buck, and when I waked up in the

morning, drat it all, I had forgot what my name was.

So I laid there about an hour trying to think, and

when Buck waked up I says:

"Can you spell, Buck?"

"Yes," he says.

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

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

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

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

"Well," says I, "you done it, but I didn't think

you could. It ain't no slouch of a name to spell --

right off without studying."

I set it down, private, because somebody might want

ME to spell it next, and so I wanted to be handy with

it and rattle it off like I was used to it.

It was a mighty nice family, and a mighty nice

house, too. I hadn't seen no house out in the country

before that was so nice and had so much style. It

didn't have an iron latch on the front door, nor a

wooden one with a buckskin string, but a brass knob

to turn, the same as houses in town. There warn't no

bed in the parlor, nor a sign of a bed; but heaps of

parlors in towns has beds in them. There was a big

fireplace that was bricked on the bottom, and the

bricks was kept clean and red by pouring water on

them and scrubbing them with another brick; some-

times they wash them over with red water-paint that

they call Spanish-brown, same as they do in town.

They had big brass dog-irons that could hold up a saw-

log. There was a clock on the middle of the 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

swinging behind it. It was beautiful to hear that clock

tick; and sometimes when one of these peddlers had

been along and scoured her up and got her in good

shape, she would start in and strike a hundred and

fifty before she got tuckered out. They wouldn't took

any money for her.

Well, there was a big outlandish parrot on each side

of the clock, made out of something like chalk, and

painted up gaudy. By one of the parrots was a cat

made of crockery, and a crockery dog by the other;

and when you pressed down on them they squeaked,

but didn't open their mouths nor look different nor

interested. They squeaked through underneath. There

was a couple of big wild-turkey-wing fans spread out

behind those things. On the table in the middle of

the room was a kind of a lovely crockery basket that

bad 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, under-


This table had a cover made out of beautiful oilcloth,

with a red and blue spread-eagle painted on it, and a

painted border all around. It come all the way from

Philadelphia, they said. There was some books, too,

piled up perfectly exact, on each corner of the table.

One was a big family Bible full of pictures. One was

Pilgrim's Progress, about a man that left his family, it

didn't say why. I read considerable in it now and

then. The statements was interesting, but tough.

Another was Friendship's Offering, full of beautiful

stuff and poetry; but I didn't read the poetry. An-

other was Henry Clay's Speeches, and another was

Dr. Gunn's Family Medicine, which told you all about

what to do if a body was sick or dead. There was a

hymn book, and a lot of other books. And there was

nice split-bottom chairs, and perfectly sound, too --

not bagged down in the middle and busted, like an

old basket.

They had pictures hung on the walls -- mainly

Washingtons and Lafayettes, and battles, and High-

land Marys, and one called "Signing the Declaration."

There was some that they called crayons, which one of

the daughters which was dead made her own self when

she was only fifteen years old. They was different

from any pictures I ever see before -- blacker, mostly,

than is common. One was a woman in a slim black

dress, belted small under the armpits, with bulges like

a cabbage in the middle of the sleeves, and a large

black scoop-shovel bonnet with a black veil, and white

slim ankles crossed about with black tape, and very

wee black slippers, like a chisel, and she was leaning

pensive on a tombstone on her right elbow, under a

weeping willow, and her other hand hanging down her

side holding a white handkerchief and a reticule, and

underneath the picture it said "Shall I Never See Thee

More Alas." Another one was a young lady with her

hair all combed up straight to the top of her head, and

knotted there in front of a comb like a chair-back, and

she was crying into a handkerchief and had a dead

bird laying on its back in her other hand with its heels

up, and underneath the picture it said "I Shall Never

Hear Thy Sweet Chirrup More Alas." There was one

where a young lady was at a window looking up at the

moon, and tears running down her cheeks; and she

had an open letter in one hand with black sealing wax

showing on one edge of it, and she was mashing a

locket with a chain to it against her mouth, and under-

neath the picture it said "And Art Thou Gone Yes

Thou Art Gone Alas." These was all nice pictures, I

reckon, but I didn't somehow seem to take to them,

because if ever I was down a little they always give me

the fan-tods. Everybody was sorry she died, because

she had laid out a lot more of these pictures to do,

and a body could see by what she had done what they

had lost. But I reckoned that with her disposition she

was having a better time in the graveyard. She was

at work on what they said was her greatest picture

when she took sick, and every day and every night it

was her prayer to be allowed to live till she got it

done, but she never got the chance. It was a picture

of a young woman in a long white gown, standing on

the rail of a bridge all ready to jump off, with her hair

all down her back, and looking up to the moon, with

the tears running down her face, and she had two arms

folded across her breast, and two arms stretched out in

front, and two more reaching up towards the moon --

and the idea was to see which pair would look best,

and then scratch out all the other arms; but, as I was

saying, she died before she got her mind made up,

and now they kept this picture over the head of the

bed in her room, and every time her birthday come

they hung flowers on it. Other times it was hid with

a little curtain. The young woman in the picture had a

kind of a nice sweet face, but there was so many arms

it made her look too spidery, seemed to me.

This young girl kept a scrap-book when she was

alive, and used to paste obituaries and accidents and

cases of patient suffering in it out of the Presbyterian

Observer, and write poetry after them out of her own

head. It was very good poetry. This is what she

wrote about a boy by the name of Stephen Dowling

Bots that fell down a well and was drownded:


And did young Stephen sicken,

And did young Stephen die?

And did the sad hearts thicken,

And did the mourners cry?

No; such was not the fate of

Young Stephen Dowling Bots;

Though sad hearts round him thickened,

'Twas not from sickness' shots.

No whooping-cough did rack his frame,

Nor measles drear with spots;

Not these impaired the sacred name

Of Stephen Dowling Bots.

Despised love struck not with woe

That head of curly knots,

Nor stomach troubles laid him low,

Young Stephen Dowling Bots.

O no. Then list with tearful eye,

Whilst I his fate do tell.

His soul did from this cold world fly

By falling down a well.

They got him out and emptied him;

Alas it was too late;

His spirit was gone for to sport aloft

In the realms of the good and great.

If Emmeline Grangerford could make poetry like

that before she was fourteen, there ain't no telling

what she could a done by and by. Buck said she

could rattle off poetry like nothing. She didn't ever

have to stop to think. He said she would slap down a

line, and if she couldn't find anything to rhyme with it

would just scratch it out and slap down another one,

and go ahead. She warn't particular; she could write

about anything you choose to give her to write about

just so it was sadful. Every time a man died, or a

woman died, or a child died, she would be on hand

with her "tribute" before he was cold. She called

them tributes. The neighbors said it was the doctor

first, then Emmeline, then the undertaker -- the under-

taker never got in ahead of Emmeline but once, and

then she hung fire on a rhyme for the dead person's

name, which was Whistler. She warn't ever the same

after that; she never complained, but she kinder pined

away and did not live long. Poor thing, many's the

time I made myself go up to the little room that used

to be hers and get out her poor old scrap-book and

read in it when her pictures had been aggravating me

and I had soured on her a little. I liked all that

family, dead ones and all, and warn't going to let any-

thing come between us. Poor Emmeline made poetry

about all the dead people when she was alive, and it

didn't seem right that there warn't nobody to make

some about her now she was gone; so I tried to sweat

out a verse or two myself, but I couldn't seem to make

it go somehow. They kept Emmeline's room trim

and nice, and all the things fixed in it just the way

she liked to have them when she was alive, and nobody

ever slept there. The old lady took care of the room

herself, though there was plenty of niggers, and she

sewed there a good deal and read her Bible there


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 be-

twixt 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




COL. GRANGERFORD was a gentleman, you see.

He was a gentleman all over; and so was his

family. He was well born, as the saying is, and that's

worth as much in a man as it is in a horse, so the

Widow Douglas said, and nobody ever denied that she

was of the first aristocracy in our town; and pap he

always said it, too, though he warn't no more quality

than a mudcat himself. Col. Grangerford was very tall

and very slim, and had a darkish-paly complexion, not

a sign of red in it anywheres; he was clean shaved

every morning all over his thin face, and he had the

thinnest kind of lips, and the thinnest kind of nostrils,

and a high nose, and heavy eyebrows, and the blackest

kind of eyes, sunk so deep back that they seemed like

they was looking out of caverns at you, as you may

say. His forehead was high, and his hair was black

and straight and hung to his shoulders. His hands

was long and thin, and every day of his life he put on

a clean shirt and a full suit from head to foot made

out of linen so white it hurt your eyes to look at it;

and on Sundays he wore a blue tail-coat with brass

buttons on it. He carried a mahogany cane with a

silver head to it. There warn't no frivolishness about

him, not a bit, and he warn't ever loud. He was as

kind as he could be -- you could feel that, you know,

and so you had confidence. Sometimes he smiled,

and it was good to see; but when he straightened him-

self up like a liberty-pole, and the lightning begun to

flicker out from under his eyebrows, you wanted to

climb a tree first, and find out what the matter was

afterwards. He didn't ever have to tell anybody to

mind their manners -- everybody was always good-

mannered where he was. Everybody loved to have

him around, too; he was sunshine most always -- I

mean he made it seem like good weather. When he

turned into a cloudbank it was awful dark for half a

minute, and that was enough; there wouldn't nothing

go wrong again for a week.

When him and the old lady come down in the morn-

ing all the family got up out of their chairs and give

them good-day, and didn't set down again till they had

set down. Then Tom and Bob went to the sideboard

where the decanter was, and mixed a glass of bitters

and handed it to him, and he held it in his hand and

waited till Tom's and Bob's was mixed, and then they

bowed and said, "Our duty to you, sir, and madam;"

and THEY bowed the least bit in the world and said

thank you, and so they drank, all three, and Bob and

Tom poured a spoonful of water on the sugar and the

mite of whisky or apple brandy in the bottom of their

tumblers, and give it to me and Buck, and we drank to

the old people too.

Bob was the oldest and Tom next -- tall, beautiful

men with very broad shoulders and brown faces, and

long black hair and black eyes. They dressed in white

linen from head to foot, like the old gentleman, and

wore broad Panama hats.

Then there was Miss Charlotte; she was twenty-

five, and tall and proud and grand, but as good as she

could be when she warn't stirred up; but when she

was she had a look that would make you wilt in your

tracks, like her father. She was beautiful.

So was her sister, Miss Sophia, but it was a different

kind. She was gentle and sweet like a dove, and she

was only twenty.

Each person had their own nigger to wait on them --

Buck too. My nigger had a monstrous easy time, be-

cause I warn't used to having anybody do anything

for me, but Buck's was on the jump most of the time.

This was all there was of the family now, but there

used to be more -- three sons; they got killed; and

Emmeline that died.

The old gentleman owned a lot of farms and over a

hundred niggers. Sometimes a stack of people would

come there, horseback, from ten or fifteen mile around,

and stay five or six days, and have such junketings

round about and on the river, and dances and picnics

in the woods daytimes, and balls at the house nights.

These people was mostly kinfolks of the family. The

men brought their guns with them. It was a hand-

some lot of quality, I tell you.

There was another clan of aristocracy around there

-- five or six families -- mostly of the name of Shep-

herdson. They was as high-toned and well born and

rich and grand as the tribe of Grangerfords. The

Shepherdsons and Grangerfords used the same steam-

boat landing, which was about two mile above our

house; so sometimes when I went up there with a lot

of our folks I used to see a lot of the Shepherdsons

there on their fine horses.

One day Buck and me was away out in the woods

hunting, and heard a horse coming. We was crossing

the road. Buck says:

"Quick! Jump for the woods!"

We done it, and then peeped down the woods

through the leaves. Pretty soon a splendid young

man come galloping down the road, setting his horse

easy and looking like a soldier. He had his gun across

his pommel. I had seen him before. It was young

Harney Shepherdson. I heard Buck's gun go off at

my ear, and Harney's hat tumbled off from his head.

He grabbed his gun and rode straight to the place

where we was hid. But we didn't wait. We started

through the woods on a run. The woods warn't thick,

so I looked over my shoulder to dodge the bullet, and

twice I seen Harney cover Buck with his gun; and

then he rode away the way he come -- to get his hat,

I reckon, but I couldn't see. We never stopped run-

ning till we got home. The old gentleman's eyes

blazed a minute -- 'twas pleasure, mainly, I judged --

then his face sort of smoothed down, and he says,

kind of gentle:

"I don't like that shooting from behind a bush.

Why didn't you step into the road, my boy?"

"The Shepherdsons don't, father. They always

take advantage."

Miss Charlotte she held her head up like a queen

while Buck was telling his tale, and her nostrils spread

and her eyes snapped. The two young men looked

dark, but never said nothing. Miss Sophia she turned

pale, but the color come back when she found the

man warn't hurt.

Soon as I could get Buck down by the corn-cribs

under the trees by ourselves, I says:

"Did you want to kill him, Buck?"

"Well, I bet I did."

"What did he do to you?"

"Him? He never done nothing to me."

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

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

"What's a feud?"

"Why, where was you raised? Don't you know

what a feud is?"

"Never heard of it before -- tell me about it."

"Well," says Buck, "a feud is this way: A man

has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then

that other man's brother kills HIM; then the other

brothers, on both sides, goes for one another; then

the COUSINS chip in -- and by and by everybody's killed

off, and there ain't no more feud. But it's kind of

slow, and takes a long time."

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

"Well, I should RECKON! It started thirty year ago,

or som'ers along there. There was trouble 'bout

something, and then a lawsuit to settle it; and the

suit went agin one of the men, and so he up and shot

the man that won the suit -- which he would naturally

do, of course. Anybody would."

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

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

"Well, who done the shooting? Was it a Granger-

ford or a Shepherdson?"

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

"Don't anybody know?"

"Oh, yes, pa knows, I reckon, and some of the

other old people; but they don't know now what the

row was about in the first place."

"Has there been many killed, Buck?"

"Yes; right smart chance of funerals. But they

don't always kill. Pa's got a few buckshot in him;

but he don't mind it 'cuz he don't weigh much, any-

way. Bob's been carved up some with a bowie, and

Tom's been hurt once or twice."

"Has anybody been killed this year, Buck?"

"Yes; we got one and they got one. 'Bout three

months ago my cousin Bud, fourteen year old, was

riding through the woods on t'other side of the river,

and didn't have no weapon with him, which was blame'

foolishness, and in a lonesome place he hears a horse

a-coming behind him, and sees old Baldy Shepherdson

a-linkin' after him with his gun in his hand and his

white hair a-flying in the wind; and 'stead of jumping

off and taking to the brush, Bud 'lowed he could out-

run him; so they had it, nip and tuck, for five mile or

more, the old man a-gaining all the time; so at last

Bud seen it warn't any use, so he stopped and faced

around so as to have the bullet holes in front, you

know, and the old man he rode up and shot him

down. But he didn't git much chance to enjoy his

luck, for inside of a week our folks laid HIM out."

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

"I reckon he WARN'T a coward. Not by a blame'

sight. There ain't a coward amongst them Shepherd-

sons -- not a one. And there ain't no cowards amongst

the Grangerfords either. Why, that old man kep' up

his end in a fight one day for half an hour against

three Grangerfords, and come out winner. They was

all a-horseback; he lit off of his horse and got behind

a little woodpile, and kep' his horse before him to stop

the bullets; but the Grangerfords stayed on their

horses and capered around the old man, and peppered

away at him, and he peppered away at them. Him

and his horse both went home pretty leaky and crip-

pled, but the Grangerfords had to be FETCHED home --

and one of 'em was dead, and another died the next

day. No, sir; if a body's out hunting for cowards he

don't want to fool away any time amongst them Shep-

herdsons, 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 ser-

mon, 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


Says I to myself, something's up; it ain't natural

for a girl to be in such a sweat about a Testament.

So I give it a shake, and out drops a little piece of

paper with "HALF-PAST TWO" wrote on it with a pencil.

I ransacked it, but couldn't find anything else. I

couldn't make anything out of that, so I put the paper

in the book again, and when I got home and upstairs

there was Miss Sophia in her door waiting for me.

She pulled me in and shut the door; then she looked

in the Testament till she found the paper, and as soon

as she read it she looked glad; and before a body

could think she grabbed me and give me a squeeze,

and said I was the best boy in the world, and not to

tell anybody. She was mighty red in the face for a

minute, and her eyes lighted up, and it made her

powerful pretty. I was a good deal astonished, but

when I got my breath I asked her what the paper was

about, and she asked me if I had read it, and I said

no, and she asked me if I could read writing, and I

told her "no, only coarse-hand," and then she said

the paper warn't anything but a book-mark to keep

her place, and I might go and play now.

I went off down to the river, studying over this

thing, and pretty soon I noticed that my nigger was

following along behind. When we was out of sight of

the house he looked back and around a second, and

then comes a-running, and says:

"Mars Jawge, if you'll come down into de swamp

I'll show you a whole stack o' water-moccasins."

Thinks I, that's mighty curious; he said that yester-

day. He oughter know a body don't love water-

moccasins enough to go around hunting for them.

What is he up to, anyway? So I says:

"All right; trot ahead."

I followed a half a mile; then he struck out over the

swamp, and waded ankle deep as much as another

half-mile. We come to a little flat piece of land which

was dry and very thick with trees and bushes and

vines, and he says:

"You shove right in dah jist a few steps, Mars

Jawge; dah's whah dey is. I's seed 'm befo'; I

don't k'yer to see 'em no mo'."

Then he slopped right along and went away, and

pretty soon the trees hid him. I poked into the place

a-ways and come to a little open patch as big as a

bedroom all hung around with vines, and found a man

laying there asleep -- and, by jings, it was my old Jim!

I waked him up, and I reckoned it was going to be

a grand surprise to him to see me again, but it warn't.

He nearly cried he was so glad, but he warn't sur-

prised. Said he swum along behind me that night,

and heard me yell every time, but dasn't answer, be-

cause he didn't want nobody to pick HIM up and take

him into slavery again. Says he:

"I got hurt a little, en couldn't swim fas', so I wuz

a considable ways behine you towards de las'; when

you landed I reck'ned I could ketch up wid you on de

lan' 'dout havin' to shout at you, but when I see dat

house I begin to go slow. I 'uz off too fur to hear

what dey say to you -- I wuz 'fraid o' de dogs; but

when it 'uz all quiet agin I knowed you's in de house,

so I struck out for de woods to wait for day. Early

in de mawnin' some er de niggers come along, gwyne

to de fields, en dey tuk me en showed me dis place,

whah de dogs can't track me on accounts o' de water,

en dey brings me truck to eat every night, en tells me

how you's a-gitt'n along."

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

sooner, Jim?"

"Well, 'twarn't no use to 'sturb you, Huck, tell we

could do sumfn -- but we's all right now. I ben a-

buyin' pots en pans en vittles, as I got a chanst, en a-

patchin' up de raf' nights when --"

"WHAT raft, Jim?"

"Our ole raf'."

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

to flinders?"

"No, she warn't. She was tore up a good deal --

one en' of her was; but dey warn't no great harm

done, on'y our traps was mos' all los'. Ef we hadn'

dive' so deep en swum so fur under water, en de night

hadn' ben so dark, en we warn't so sk'yerd, en ben

sich punkin-heads, as de sayin' is, we'd a seed de raf'.

But it's jis' as well we didn't, 'kase now she's all fixed

up agin mos' as good as new, en we's got a new lot o'

stuff, in de place o' what 'uz los'."

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

-- did you catch her?"

"How I gwyne to ketch her en I out in de woods?

No; some er de niggers foun' her ketched on a snag

along heah in de ben', en dey hid her in a crick

'mongst de willows, en dey wuz so much jawin' 'bout

which un 'um she b'long to de mos' dat I come to

heah 'bout it pooty soon, so I ups en settles de trouble

by tellin' 'um she don't b'long to none uv um, but to

you en me; en I ast 'm if dey gwyne to grab a young

white genlman's propaty, en git a hid'n for it? Den I

gin 'm ten cents apiece, en dey 'uz mighty well satis-

fied, en wisht some mo' raf's 'ud come along en make

'm rich agin. Dey's mighty good to me, dese niggers

is, en whatever I wants 'm to do fur me I doan' have

to ast 'm twice, honey. Dat Jack's a good nigger, en

pooty smart."

"Yes, he is. He ain't ever told me you was here;

told me to come, and he'd show me a lot of water-

moccasins. If anything happens HE ain't mixed up in

it. He can say he never seen us together, and it 'll

be the truth."

I don't want to talk much about the next day. I

reckon I'll cut it pretty short. I waked up about

dawn, and was a-going to turn over and go to sleep

again when I noticed how still it was -- didn't seem

to be anybody stirring. That warn't usual. Next I

noticed that Buck was up and gone. Well, I gets up,

a-wondering, and goes down stairs -- nobody around;

everything as still as a mouse. Just the same outside.

Thinks I, what does it mean? Down by the wood-

pile I comes across my Jack, and says:

"What's it all about?"

Says he:

"Don't you know, Mars Jawge?"

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

"Well, den, Miss Sophia's run off! 'deed she has.

She run off in de night some time -- nobody don't

know jis' when; run off to get married to dat young

Harney Shepherdson, you know -- leastways, so dey

'spec. De fambly foun' it out 'bout half an hour

ago -- maybe a little mo' -- en' I TELL you dey warn't

no time los'. Sich another hurryin' up guns en hosses

YOU never see! De women folks has gone for to stir

up de relations, en ole Mars Saul en de boys tuck dey

guns en rode up de river road for to try to ketch dat

young man en kill him 'fo' he kin git acrost de river

wid Miss Sophia. I reck'n dey's gwyne to be mighty

rough times."

"Buck went off 'thout waking me up."

"Well, I reck'n he DID! Dey warn't gwyne to mix

you up in it. Mars Buck he loaded up his gun en

'lowed he's gwyne to fetch home a Shepherdson or

bust. Well, dey'll be plenty un 'm dah, I reck'n, en

you bet you he'll fetch one ef he gits a chanst."

I took up the river road as hard as I could put. By

and by I begin to hear guns a good ways off. When

I came in sight of the log store and the woodpile

where the steamboats lands I worked along under the

trees and brush till I got to a good place, and then I

clumb up into the forks of a cottonwood that was out

of reach, and watched. There was a wood-rank four

foot high a little ways in front of the tree, and first I

was going to hide behind that; but maybe it was

luckier I didn't.

There was four or five men cavorting around on their

horses in the open place before the log store, cussing

and yelling, and trying to get at a couple of young

chaps that was behind the wood-rank alongside of

the steamboat landing; but they couldn't come it.

Every time one of them showed himself on the river

side of the woodpile he got shot at. The two boys

was squatting back to back behind the pile, so they

could watch both ways.

By and by the men stopped cavorting around and

yelling. They started riding towards the store; then

up gets one of the boys, draws a steady bead over the

wood-rank, and drops one of them out of his saddle.

All the men jumped off of their horses and grabbed the

hurt one and started to carry him to the store; and

that minute the two boys started on the run. They

got half way to the tree I was in before the men

noticed. Then the men see them, and jumped on

their horses and took out after them. They gained on

the boys, but it didn't do no good, the boys had too

good a start; they got to the woodpile that was in

front of my tree, and slipped in behind it, and so they

had the bulge on the men again. One of the boys

was Buck, and the other was a slim young chap about

nineteen years old.

The men ripped around awhile, and then rode away.

As soon as they was out of sight I sung out to Buck

and told him. He didn't know what to make of my

voice coming out of the tree at first. He was awful

surprised. He told me to watch out sharp and let him

know when the men come in sight again; said they

was up to some devilment or other -- wouldn't be gone

long. I wished I was out of that tree, but I dasn't

come down. Buck begun to cry and rip, and 'lowed

that him and his cousin Joe (that was the other young

chap) would make up for this day yet. He said his

father and his two brothers was killed, and two or

three of the enemy. Said the Shepherdsons laid for

them in ambush. Buck said his father and brothers

ought to waited for their relations -- the Shepherdsons

was too strong for them. I asked him what was be-

come of young Harney and Miss Sophia. He said

they'd got across the river and was safe. I was glad

of that; but the way Buck did take on because he

didn't manage to kill Harney that day he shot at him

-- I hain't ever heard anything like it.

All of a sudden, bang! bang! bang! goes three or

four guns -- the men had slipped around through the

woods and come in from behind without their horses!

The boys jumped for the river -- both of them hurt --

and as they swum down the current the men run along

the bank shooting at them and singing out, "Kill

them, kill them!" It made me so sick I most fell out

of the tree. I ain't a-going to tell ALL that happened --

it would make me sick again if I was to do that. I

wished I hadn't ever come ashore that night to see

such things. I ain't ever going to get shut of them --

lots of times I dream about them.

I stayed in the tree till it begun to get dark, afraid

to come down. Sometimes I heard guns away off in

the woods; and twice I seen little gangs of men gallop

past the log store with guns; so I reckoned the trouble

was still a-going on. I was mighty downhearted; so I

made up my mind I wouldn't ever go anear that house

again, because I reckoned I was to blame, somehow.

I judged that that piece of paper meant that Miss

Sophia was to meet Harney somewheres at half-past

two and run off; and I judged I ought to told her

father about that paper and the curious way she acted,

and then maybe he would a locked her up, and this

awful mess wouldn't ever happened.

When I got down out of the tree I crept along down

the river bank a piece, and found the two bodies laying

in the edge of the water, and tugged at them till I got

them ashore; then I covered up their faces, and got

away as quick as I could. I cried a little when I was

covering up Buck's face, for he was mighty good to me.

It was just dark now. I never went near the house,

but struck through the woods and made for the

swamp. Jim warn't on his island, so I tramped off in

a hurry for the crick, and crowded through the willows,

red-hot to jump aboard and get out of that awful

country. The raft was gone! My souls, but I was

scared! I couldn't get my breath for most a minute.

Then I raised a yell. A voice not twenty-five foot

from me says:

"Good lan'! is dat you, honey? Doan' make no


It was Jim's voice -- nothing ever sounded so good

before. I run along the bank a piece and got aboard,

and Jim he grabbed me and hugged me, he was so glad

to see me. He says:

"Laws bless you, chile, I 'uz right down sho' you's

dead agin. Jack's been heah; he say he reck'n you's

ben shot, kase you didn' come home no mo'; so I's

jes' dis minute a startin' de raf' down towards de mouf

er de crick, so's to be all ready for to shove out en

leave soon as Jack comes agin en tells me for certain

you IS dead. Lawsy, I's mighty glad to git you back

again, honey.

I says:

"All right -- that's mighty good; they won't find

me, and they'll think I've been killed, and floated down

the river -- there's something up there that 'll help them

think so -- so don't you lose no time, Jim, but just

shove off for the big water as fast as ever you can."

I never felt easy till the raft was two mile below

there and out in the middle of the Mississippi. Then

we hung up our signal lantern, and judged that we was

free and safe once more. I hadn't had a bite to eat

since yesterday, so Jim he got out some corn-dodgers

and buttermilk, and pork and cabbage and greens --

there ain't nothing in the world so good when it's

cooked right -- and whilst I eat my supper we talked

and had a good time. I was powerful glad to get

away from the feuds, and so was Jim to get away from

the swamp. We said there warn't no home like a

raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up

and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free

and easy and comfortable on a raft.



TWO or three days and nights went by; I reckon I

might say they swum by, they slid along so quiet

and smooth and lovely. Here is the way we put in

the time. It was a monstrous big river down there --

sometimes a mile and a half wide; we run nights, and

laid up and hid daytimes; soon as night was most

gone we stopped navigating and tied up -- nearly

always in the dead water under a towhead; and then

cut young cottonwoods and willows, and hid the raft

with them. Then we set out the lines. Next we slid

into the river and had a swim, so as to freshen up and

cool off; then we set down on the sandy bottom where

the water was about knee deep, and watched the day-

light come. Not a sound anywheres -- perfectly still

-- just like the whole world was asleep, only sometimes

the bullfrogs a-cluttering, maybe. The first thing to

see, looking away over the water, was a kind of dull

line -- that was the woods on t'other side; you

couldn't make nothing else out; then a pale place in

the sky; then more paleness spreading around; then

the river softened up away off, and warn't black any

more, but gray; you could see little dark spots drifting

along ever so far away -- trading scows, and such

things; and long black streaks -- rafts; sometimes

you could hear a sweep screaking; or jumbled up

voices, it was so still, and sounds come so far; and by

and by you could see a streak on the water which you

know by the look of the streak that there's a snag

there in a swift current which breaks on it and makes

that streak look that way; and you see the mist curl

up off of the water, and the east reddens up, and the

river, and you make out a log-cabin in the edge of

the woods, away on the bank on t'other side of the

river, being a woodyard, likely, and piled by them

cheats so you can throw a dog through it anywheres;

then the nice breeze springs up, and comes fanning

you from over there, so cool and fresh and sweet to

smell on account of the woods and the flowers; but

sometimes not that way, because they've left dead fish

laying around, gars and such, and they do get pretty

rank; and next you've got the full day, and every-

thing 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 break-

fast. And afterwards we would watch the lonesome-

ness of the river, and kind of lazy along, and by and

by lazy off to sleep. Wake up by and by, and look to

see what done it, and maybe see a steamboat coughing

along up-stream, so far off towards the other side you

couldn't tell nothing about her only whether she was a

stern-wheel or side-wheel; then for about an hour there

wouldn't be nothing to hear nor nothing to see -- just

solid lonesomeness. Next you'd see a raft sliding by,

away off yonder, and maybe a galoot on it chopping,

because they're most always doing it on a raft; you'd

see the axe flash and come down -- you don't

hear nothing; you see that axe go up again, and by

the time it's above the man's head then you hear the

K'CHUNK! -- it had took all that time to come over the

water. So we would put in the day, lazying around,

listening to the stillness. Once there was a thick fog,

and the rafts and things that went by was beating tin

pans so the steamboats wouldn't run over them. A

scow or a raft went by so close we could hear them

talking and cussing and laughing -- heard them plain;

but we couldn't see no sign of them; it made you feel

crawly; it was like spirits carrying on that way in the

air. Jim said he believed it was spirits; but I says:

"No; spirits wouldn't say, 'Dern the dern fog.'"

Soon as it was night out we shoved; when we got

her out to about the middle we let her alone, and let

her float wherever the current wanted her to; then we

lit the pipes, and dangled our legs in the water, and

talked about all kinds of things -- we was always

naked, day and night, whenever the mosquitoes would

let us -- the new clothes Buck's folks made for me was

too good to be comfortable, and besides I didn't go

much on clothes, nohow.

Sometimes we'd have that whole river all to ourselves

for the longest time. Yonder was the banks and the

islands, across the water; and maybe a spark -- which

was a candle in a cabin window; and sometimes on the

water you could see a spark or two -- on a raft or a

scow, you know; and maybe you could hear a fiddle

or a song coming over from one of them crafts. It's

lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all

speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs

and look up at them, and discuss about whether they

was made or only just happened. Jim he allowed

they was made, but I allowed they happened; I judged

it would have took too long to MAKE so many. Jim

said the moon could a LAID them; well, that looked

kind of reasonable, so I didn't say nothing against it,

because I've seen a frog lay most as many, so of

course it could be done. We used to watch the stars

that fell, too, and see them streak down. Jim allowed

they'd got spoiled and was hove out of the nest.

Once or twice of a night we would see a steamboat

slipping along in the dark, and now and then she

would belch a whole world of sparks up out of her

chimbleys, and they would rain down in the river and

look awful pretty; then she would turn a corner and

her lights would wink out and her powwow shut off

and leave the river still again; and by and by her

waves would get to us, a long time after she was gone,

and joggle the raft a bit, and after that you wouldn't

hear nothing for you couldn't tell how long, except

maybe frogs or something.

After midnight the people on shore went to bed,

and then for two or three hours the shores was black --

no more sparks in the cabin windows. These sparks

was our clock -- the first one that showed again meant

morning was coming, so we hunted a place to hide and

tie up right away.

One morning about daybreak I found a canoe and

crossed over a chute to the main shore -- it was only

two hundred yards -- and paddled about a mile up a

crick amongst the cypress woods, to see if I couldn't

get some berries. Just as I was passing a place where

a kind of a cowpath crossed the crick, here comes a

couple of men tearing up the path as tight as they

could foot it. I thought I was a goner, for whenever

anybody was after anybody I judged it was ME -- or

maybe Jim. I was about to dig out from there in a

hurry, but they was pretty close to me then, and sung

out and begged me to save their lives -- said they

hadn't been doing nothing, and was being chased for

it -- said there was men and dogs a-coming. They

wanted to jump right in, but I says:

"Don't you do it. I don't hear the dogs and horses

yet; you've got time to crowd through the brush and

get up the crick a little ways; then you take to the

water and wade down to me and get in -- that'll throw

the dogs off the scent."

They done it, and soon as they was aboard I lit

out for our towhead, and in about five or ten minutes

we heard the dogs and the men away off, shouting.

We heard them come along towards the crick, but

couldn't see them; they seemed to stop and fool

around a while; then, as we got further and further

away all the time, we couldn't hardly hear them at all;

by the time we had left a mile of woods behind us and

struck the river, everything was quiet, and we paddled

over to the towhead and hid in the cottonwoods and

was safe.

One of these fellows was about seventy or upwards,

and had a bald head and very gray whiskers. He had

an old battered-up slouch hat on, and a greasy blue

woollen shirt, and ragged old blue jeans britches stuffed

into his boot-tops, and home-knit galluses -- no, he

only had one. He had an old long-tailed blue jeans

coat with slick brass buttons flung over his arm, and

both of them had big, fat, ratty-looking carpet-bags.

The other fellow was about thirty, and dressed about

as ornery. After breakfast we all laid off and talked,

and the first thing that come out was that these chaps

didn't know one another.

"What got you into trouble?" says the baldhead to

t'other chap.

"Well, I'd been selling an article to take the tartar

off the teeth -- and it does take it off, too, and generly

the enamel along with it -- but I stayed about one

night longer than I ought to, and was just in the act of

sliding out when I ran across you on the trail this side

of town, and you told me they were coming, and begged

me to help you to get off. So I told you I was ex-

pecting trouble myself, and would scatter out WITH you.

That's the whole yarn -- what's yourn?

"Well, I'd ben a-running' a little temperance revival

thar 'bout a week, and was the pet of the women

folks, big and little, for I was makin' it mighty warm

for the rummies, I TELL you, and takin' as much as five

or six dollars a night -- ten cents a head, children and

niggers free -- and business a-growin' all the time,

when somehow or another a little report got around

last night that I had a way of puttin' in my time with

a private jug on the sly. A nigger rousted me out

this mornin', and told me the people was getherin' on

the quiet with their dogs and horses, and they'd be

along pretty soon and give me 'bout half an hour's

start, and then run me down if they could; and if they

got me they'd tar and feather me and ride me on a

rail, sure. I didn't wait for no breakfast -- I warn't


"Old man," said the young one, "I reckon we

might double-team it together; what do you think?"

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

"Jour printer by trade; do a little in patent medi-

cines; theater-actor -- tragedy, you know; take a turn

to mesmerism and phrenology when there's a chance;

teach singing-geography school for a change; sling a

lecture sometimes -- oh, I do lots of things -- most

anything that comes handy, so it ain't work. What's

your lay?"

"I've done considerble in the doctoring way in my

time. Layin' on o' hands is my best holt -- for cancer

and paralysis, and sich things; and I k'n tell a fortune

pretty good when I've got somebody along to find out

the facts for me. Preachin's my line, too, and

workin' camp-meetin's, and missionaryin' around."

Nobody never said anything for a while; then the

young man hove a sigh and says:


"What 're you alassin' about?" says the bald-


"To think I should have lived to be leading such a

life, and be degraded down into such company." And

he begun to wipe the corner of his eye with a rag.

"Dern your skin, ain't the company good enough

for you?" says the baldhead, pretty pert and uppish.

" Yes, it IS good enough for me; it's as good as I

deserve; for who fetched me so low when I was so

high? I did myself. I don't blame YOU, gentlemen --

far from it; I don't blame anybody. I deserve it all.

Let the cold world do its worst; one thing I know --

there's a grave somewhere for me. The world may

go on just as it's always done, and take everything

from me -- loved ones, property, everything; but it

can't take that. Some day I'll lie down in it and for-

get it all, and my poor broken heart will be at rest."

He went on a-wiping.

"Drot your pore broken heart," says the baldhead;

"what are you heaving your pore broken heart at US

f'r? WE hain't done nothing."

"No, I know you haven't. I ain't blaming you,

gentlemen. I brought myself down -- yes, I did it

myself. It's right I should suffer -- perfectly right --

I don't make any moan."

"Brought you down from whar? Whar was you

brought down from?"

"Ah, you would not believe me; the world never

believes -- let it pass -- 'tis no matter. The secret of

my birth --"

"The secret of your birth! Do you mean to say --"

"Gentlemen," says the young man, very solemn,

"I will reveal it to you, for I feel I may have confi-

dence 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 free-

dom; married here, and died, leaving a son, his own

father dying about the same time. The second son of

the late duke seized the titles and estates -- the infant

real duke was ignored. I am the lineal descendant of

that infant -- I am the rightful Duke of Bridgewater;

and here am I, forlorn, torn from my high estate,

hunted of men, despised by the cold world, ragged,

worn, heart-broken, and degraded to the companion-

ship of felons on a raft!"

Jim pitied him ever so much, and so did I. We

tried to comfort him, but he said it warn't much use,

he couldn't be much comforted; said if we was a mind

to acknowledge him, that would do him more good

than most anything else; so we said we would, if he

would tell us how. He said we ought to bow when

we spoke to him, and say "Your Grace," or "My

Lord," or "Your Lordship" -- and he wouldn't mind

it if we called him plain "Bridgewater," which, he

said, was a title anyway, and not a name; and one of

us ought to wait on him at dinner, and do any little

thing for him he wanted done.

Well, that was all easy, so we done it. All through

dinner Jim stood around and waited on him, and says,

"Will yo' Grace have some o' dis or some o' dat?"

and so on, and a body could see it was mighty pleasing

to him.

But the old man got pretty silent by and by -- didn't

have much to say, and didn't look pretty comfortable

over all that petting that was going on around that

duke. He seemed to have something on his mind.

So, along in the afternoon, he says:

"Looky here, Bilgewater," he says, "I'm nation

sorry for you, but you ain't the only person that's had

troubles like that."


"No you ain't. You ain't the only person that's

ben snaked down wrongfully out'n a high place."


"No, you ain't the only person that's had a secret

of his birth." And, by jings, HE begins to cry.

"Hold! What do you mean?"

"Bilgewater, kin I trust you?" says the old man,

still sort of sobbing.

"To the bitter death!" He took the old man by

the hand and squeezed it, and says, "That secret of

your being: speak!"

"Bilgewater, I am the late Dauphin!"

You bet you, Jim and me stared this time. Then

the duke says:

"You are what?"

"Yes, my friend, it is too true -- your eyes is look-

in' at this very moment on the pore disappeared

Dauphin, Looy the Seventeen, son of Looy the Six-

teen and Marry Antonette."

"You! At your age! No! You mean you're

the late Charlemagne; you must be six or seven hun-

dred years old, at the very least."

"Trouble has done it, Bilgewater, trouble has done

it; trouble has brung these gray hairs and this prema-

ture balditude. Yes, gentlemen, you see before you,

in blue jeans and misery, the wanderin', exiled, tram-

pled-on, and sufferin' rightful King of France."

Well, he cried and took on so that me and Jim

didn't know hardly what to do, we was so sorry -- and

so glad and proud we'd got him with us, too. So we

set in, like we done before with the duke, and tried to

comfort HIM. But he said it warn't no use, nothing

but to be dead and done with it all could do him any

good; though he said it often made him feel easier and

better for a while if people treated him according to

his rights, and got down on one knee to speak to him,

and always called him "Your Majesty," and waited

on him first at meals, and didn't set down in his

presence till he asked them. So Jim and me set to

majestying him, and doing this and that and t'other

for him, and standing up till he told us we might set

down. This done him heaps of good, and so he got

cheerful and comfortable. But the duke kind of soured

on him, and didn't look a bit satisfied with the way

things was going; still, the king acted real friendly

towards him, and said the duke's great-grandfather

and all the other Dukes of Bilgewater was a good deal

thought of by HIS father, and was allowed to come to

the palace considerable; but the duke stayed huffy a

good while, till by and by the king says:

"Like as not we got to be together a blamed long

time on this h-yer raft, Bilgewater, and so what's the

use o' your bein' sour? It 'll only make things on-

comfortable. It ain't my fault I warn't born a duke,

it ain't your fault you warn't born a king -- so what's

the use to worry? Make the best o' things the way

you find 'em, says I -- that's my motto. This ain't

no bad thing that we've struck here -- plenty grub

and an easy life -- come, give us your hand, duke, and

le's all be friends."

The duke done it, and Jim and me was pretty glad

to see it. It took away all the uncomfortableness and

we felt mighty good over it, because it would a been a

miserable business to have any unfriendliness on the

raft; for what you want, above all things, on a raft, is

for everybody to be satisfied, and feel right and kind

towards the others.

It didn't take me long to make up my mind that

these liars warn't no kings nor dukes at all, but just

low-down humbugs and frauds. But I never said

nothing, never let on; kept it to myself; it's the best

way; then you don't have no quarrels, and don't get

into no trouble. If they wanted us to call them kings

and dukes, I hadn't no objections, 'long as it would

keep peace in the family; and it warn't no use to tell

Jim, so I didn't tell him. If I never learnt nothing

else out of pap, I learnt that the best way to get along

with his kind of people is to let them have their own




THEY asked us considerable many questions; wanted

to know what we covered up the raft that way

for, and laid by in the daytime instead of running --

was Jim a runaway nigger? Says I:

"Goodness sakes! would a runaway nigger run


No, they allowed he wouldn't. I had to account

for things some way, so I says:

"My folks was living in Pike County, in Missouri,

where I was born, and they all died off but me and pa

and my brother Ike. Pa, he 'lowed he'd break up

and go down and live with Uncle Ben, who's got a

little one-horse place on the river, forty-four mile

below Orleans. Pa was pretty poor, and had some

debts; so when he'd squared up there warn't nothing

left but sixteen dollars and our nigger, Jim. That

warn't enough to take us fourteen hundred mile, deck

passage nor no other way. Well, when the river rose

pa had a streak of luck one day; he ketched this piece

of a raft; so we reckoned we'd go down to Orleans on

it. Pa's luck didn't hold out; a steamboat run over

the forrard corner of the raft one night, and we all

went overboard and dove under the wheel; Jim and

me come up all right, but pa was drunk, and Ike was

only four years old, so they never come up no more.

Well, for the next day or two we had considerable

trouble, because people was always coming out in skiffs

and trying to take Jim away from me, saying they be-

lieved 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 daytime if we want to. I'll think the thing

over -- I'll invent a plan that'll fix it. We'll let it

alone for to-day, because of course we don't want to

go by that town yonder in daylight -- it mightn't be


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 tickQbetter 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


"'Tis my fate to be always ground into the mire

under the iron heel of oppression. Misfortune has

broken my once haughty spirit; I yield, I submit; 'tis

my fate. I am alone in the world -- let me suffer;

can bear it."

We got away as soon as it was good and dark. The

king told us to stand well out towards the middle of

the river, and not show a light till we got a long ways

below the town. We come in sight of the little bunch

of lights by and by -- that was the town, you know --

and slid by, about a half a mile out, all right. When

we was three-quarters of a mile below we hoisted up

our signal lantern; and about ten o'clock it come on

to rain and blow and thunder and lighten like every-

thing; so the king told us to both stay on watch till

the weather got better; then him and the duke crawled

into the wigwam and turned in for the night. It was

my watch below till twelve, but I wouldn't a turned in

anyway if I'd had a bed, because a body don't see

such a storm as that every day in the week, not by a

long sight. My souls, how the wind did scream along!

And every second or two there'd come a glare that lit

up the white-caps for a half a mile around, and you'd

see the islands looking dusty through the rain, and the

trees thrashing around in the wind; then comes a

H-WHACK! -- bum! bum! bumble-umble-um-bum-bum-

bum-bum -- and the thunder would go rumbling and

grumbling away, and quit -- and then RIP comes an-

other 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 over-

board. 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


The king got out an old ratty deck of cards after

breakfast, and him and the duke played seven-up a

while, five cents a game. Then they got tired of it,

and allowed they would "lay out a campaign," as

they called it. The duke went down into his carpet-

bag, and fetched up a lot of little printed bills and

read them out loud. One bill said, "The celebrated

Dr. Armand de Montalban, of Paris," would "lecture

on the Science of Phrenology" at such and such a

place, on the blank day of blank, at ten cents admis-

sion, and "furnish charts of character at twenty-five

cents apiece." The duke said that was HIM. In an-

other bill he was the "world-renowned Shakespearian

tragedian, Garrick the Younger, of Drury Lane, Lon-

don." In other bills he had a lot of other names and

done other wonderful things, like finding water and

gold with a "divining-rod," "dissipating witch

spells," and so on. By and by he says:

"But the histrionic muse is the darling. Have you

ever trod the boards, Royalty?"

"No," says the king.

"You shall, then, before you're three days older,

Fallen Grandeur," says the duke. "The first good

town we come to we'll hire a hall and do the sword

fight in Richard III. and the balcony scene in Romeo

and Juliet. How does that strike you?"

"I'm in, up to the hub, for anything that will pay,

Bilgewater; but, you see, I don't know nothing about

play-actin', and hain't ever seen much of it. I was too

small when pap used to have 'em at the palace. Do

you reckon you can learn me?"


"All right. I'm jist a-freezn' for something fresh,

anyway. Le's commence right away."

So the duke he told him all about who Romeo was

and who Juliet was, and said he was used to being

Romeo, so the king could be Juliet.

"But if Juliet's such a young gal, duke, my peeled

head and my white whiskers is goin' to look oncommon

odd on her, maybe."

"No, don't you worry; these country jakes won't

ever think of that. Besides, you know, you'll be in

costume, and that makes all the difference in the

world; Juliet's in a balcony, enjoying the moonlight

before she goes to bed, and she's got on her night-

gown and her ruffled nightcap. Here are the costumes

for the parts."

He got out two or three curtain-calico suits, which

he said was meedyevil armor for Richard III. and

t'other chap, and a long white cotton nightshirt and a

ruffled nightcap to match. The king was satisfied; so

the duke got out his book and read the parts over in

the most splendid spread-eagle way, prancing around

and acting at the same time, to show how it had got to

be done; then he give the book to the king and told

him to get his part by heart.

There was a little one-horse town about three mile

down the bend, and after dinner the duke said he had

ciphered out his idea about how to run in daylight

without it being dangersome for Jim; so he allowed

he would go down to the town and fix that thing.

The king allowed he would go, too, and see if he

couldn't strike something. We was out of coffee, so

Jim said I better go along with them in the canoe and

get some.

When we got there there warn't nobody stirring;

streets empty, and perfectly dead and still, like Sun-

day. 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,


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


We got there in about a half an hour fairly dripping,

for it was a most awful hot day. There was as much

as a thousand people there from twenty mile around.

The woods was full of teams and wagons, hitched

everywheres, feeding out of the wagon-troughs and

stomping to keep off the flies. There was sheds made

out of poles and roofed over with branches, where they

had lemonade and gingerbread to sell, and piles of

watermelons and green corn and such-like truck.

The preaching was going on under the same kinds

of sheds, only they was bigger and held crowds of

people. The benches was made out of outside slabs

of logs, with holes bored in the round side to drive

sticks into for legs. They didn't have no backs.

The preachers had high platforms to stand on at one

end of the sheds. The women had on sun-bonnets;

and some had linsey-woolsey frocks, some gingham

ones, and a few of the young ones had on calico.

Some of the young men was barefooted, and some of

the children didn't have on any clothes but just a tow-

linen shirt. Some of the old women was knitting, and

some of the young folks was courting on the sly.

The first shed we come to the preacher was lining

out a hymn. He lined out two lines, everybody sung

it, and it was kind of grand to hear it, there was so

many of them and they done it in such a rousing way;

then he lined out two more for them to sing -- and so

on. The people woke up more and more, and sung

louder and louder; and towards the end some begun

to groan, and some begun to shout. Then the preacher

begun to preach, and begun in earnest, too; and went

weaving first to one side of the platform and then the

other, and then a-leaning down over the front of it,

with his arms and his body going all the time, and

shouting his words out with all his might; and every

now and then he would hold up his Bible and spread it

open, and kind of pass it around this way and that,

shouting, "It's the brazen serpent in the wilderness!

Look upon it and live!" And people would shout

out, "Glory! -- A-a-MEN!" And so he went on, and

the people groaning and crying and saying amen:

"Oh, come to the mourners' bench! come, black

with sin! (AMEN!) come, sick and sore! (AMEN!)

come, lame and halt and blind! (AMEN!) come, pore

and needy, sunk in shame! (A-A-MEN!) come, all

that's worn and soiled and suffering! -- come with a

broken spirit! come with a contrite heart! come in

your rags and sin and dirt! the waters that cleanse is

free, the door of heaven stands open -- oh, enter in

and be at rest!" (A-A-MEN! GLORY, GLORY HALLELUJAH!)

And so on. You couldn't make out what the

preacher said any more, on account of the shouting

and crying. Folks got up everywheres in the crowd,

and worked their way just by main strength to the

mourners' bench, with the tears running down their

faces; and when all the mourners had got up there to

the front benches in a crowd, they sung and shouted

and flung themselves down on the straw, just crazy

and wild.

Well, the first I knowed the king got a-going, and

you could hear him over everybody; and next he

went a-charging up on to the platform, and the

preacher he begged him to speak to the people, and

he done it. He told them he was a pirate -- been a

pirate for thirty years out in the Indian Ocean -- and

his crew was thinned out considerable last spring in a

fight, and he was home now to take out some fresh

men, and thanks to goodness he'd been robbed last

night and put ashore off of a steamboat without a cent,

and he was glad of it; it was the blessedest thing that

ever happened to him, because he was a changed man

now, and happy for the first time in his life; and,

poor as he was, he was going to start right off and

work his way back to the Indian Ocean, and put in the

rest of his life trying to turn the pirates into the true

path; for he could do it better than anybody else,

being acquainted with all pirate crews in that ocean;

and though it would take him a long time to get

there without money, he would get there anyway, and

every time he convinced a pirate he would say to him,

"Don't you thank me, don't you give me no credit;

it all belongs to them dear people in Pokeville camp-

meeting, natural brothers and benefactors of the race,

and that dear preacher there, the truest friend a pirate

ever had!"

And then he busted into tears, and so did everybody.

Then somebody sings out, "Take up a collection for

him, take up a collection!" Well, a half a dozen

made a jump to do it, but somebody sings out, "Let

HIM pass the hat around!" Then everybody said it,

the preacher too.

So the king went all through the crowd with his hat

swabbing his eyes, and blessing the people and praising

them and thanking them for being so good to the poor

pirates away off there; and every little while the

prettiest kind of girls, with the tears running down

their cheeks, would up and ask him would he let them

kiss him for to remember him by; and he always done

it; and some of them he hugged and kissed as many

as five or six times -- and he was invited to stay a

week; and everybody wanted him to live in their

houses, and said they'd think it was an honor; but he

said as this was the last day of the camp-meeting he

couldn't do no good, and besides he was in a sweat to

get to the Indian Ocean right off and go to work on

the pirates.

When we got back to the raft and he come to count

up he found he had collected eighty-seven dollars and

seventy-five cents. And then he had fetched away a

three-gallon jug of whisky, too, that he found under a

wagon when he was starting home through the woods.

The king said, take it all around, it laid over any day

he'd ever put in in the missionarying line. He said it

warn't no use talking, heathens don't amount to shucks

alongside of pirates to work a camp-meeting with.

The duke was thinking HE'D been doing pretty well

till the king come to show up, but after that he didn't

think so so much. He had set up and printed off two

little jobs for farmers in that printing-office -- horse

bills -- and took the money, four dollars. And he

had got in ten dollars' worth of advertisements for the

paper, which he said he would put in for four dollars

if they would pay in advance -- so they done it. The

price of the paper was two dollars a year, but he took

in three subscriptions for half a dollar apiece on con-

dition of them paying him in advance; they were going

to pay in cordwood and onions as usual, but he said

he had just bought the concern and knocked down the

price as low as he could afford it, and was going to

run it for cash. He set up a little piece of poetry,

which he made, himself, out of his own head -- three

verses -- kind of sweet and saddish -- the name of it

was, "Yes, crush, cold world, this breaking heart" --

and he left that all set up and ready to print in the

paper, and didn't charge nothing for it. Well, he

took in nine dollars and a half, and said he'd done a

pretty square day's work for it.

Then he showed us another little job he'd printed

and hadn't charged for, because it was for us. It had

a picture of a runaway nigger with a bundle on a stick

over his shoulder, and "$200 reward" under it. The

reading was all about Jim, and just described him to a

dot. It said he run away from St. Jacques' planta-

tion, forty mile below New Orleans, last winter, and

likely went north, and whoever would catch him and

send him back he could have the reward and expenses.

"Now," says the duke, "after to-night we can run

in the daytime if we want to. Whenever we see any-

body coming we can tie Jim hand and foot with a rope,

and lay him in the wigwam and show this handbill and

say we captured him up the river, and were too poor

to travel on a steamboat, so we got this little raft on

credit from our friends and are going down to get the

reward. Handcuffs and chains would look still better

on Jim, but it wouldn't go well with the story of us

being so poor. Too much like jewelry. Ropes are

the correct thing -- we must preserve the unities, as we

say on the boards."

We all said the duke was pretty smart, and there

couldn't be no trouble about running daytimes. We

judged we could make miles enough that night to get

out of the reach of the powwow we reckoned the duke's

work in the printing office was going to make in that

little town; then we could boom right along if we

wanted to.

We laid low and kept still, and never shoved out till

nearly ten o'clock; then we slid by, pretty wide away

from the town, and didn't hoist our lantern till we was

clear out of sight of it.

When Jim called me to take the watch at four in the

morning, he says:

"Huck, does you reck'n we gwyne to run acrost

any mo' kings on dis trip?"

"No," I says, "I reckon not."

"Well," says he, "dat's all right, den. I doan'

mine one er two kings, but dat's enough. Dis one's

powerful drunk, en de duke ain' much better."

I found Jim had been trying to get him to talk

French, so he could hear what it was like; but he said

he had been in this country so long, and had so much

trouble, he'd forgot it.



IT was after sun-up now, but we went right on and

didn't tie up. The king and the duke turned out

by and by looking pretty rusty; but after they'd

jumped overboard and took a swim it chippered them

up a good deal. After breakfast the king he took a

seat on the corner of the raft, and pulled off his boots

and rolled up his britches, and let his legs dangle in

the water, so as to be comfortable, and lit his pipe, and

went to getting his Romeo and Juliet by heart. When

he had got it pretty good him and the duke begun to

practice it together. The duke had to learn him over

and over again how to say every speech; and he made

him sigh, and put his hand on his heart, and after a

while he said he done it pretty well; "only," he says,

"you mustn't bellow out ROMEO! that way, like a

bull -- you must say it soft and sick and languishy,

so -- R-o-o-meo! that is the idea; for Juliet's a dear

sweet mere child of a girl, you know, and she doesn't

bray like a jackass."

Well, next they got out a couple of long swords that

the duke made out of oak laths, and begun to practice

the sword fight -- the duke called himself Richard

III.; and the way they laid on and pranced around

the raft was grand to see. But by and by the king

tripped and fell overboard, and after that they took a

rest, and had a talk about all kinds of adventures

they'd had in other times along the river.

After dinner the duke says:

"Well, Capet, we'll want to make this a first-class

show, you know, so I guess we'll add a little more to

it. We want a little something to answer encores

with, anyway."

"What's onkores, Bilgewater?"

The duke told him, and then says:

"I'll answer by doing the Highland fling or the

sailor's hornpipe; and you -- well, let me see -- oh,

I've got it -- you can do Hamlet's soliloquy."

"Hamlet's which?"

"Hamlet's soliloquy, you know; the most celebrated

thing in Shakespeare. Ah, it's sublime, sublime! Al-

ways 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 recollec-

tion's vaults."

So he went to marching up and down, thinking, and

frowning horrible every now and then; then he would

hoist up his eyebrows; next he would squeeze his hand

on his forehead and stagger back and kind of moan;

next he would sigh, and next he'd let on to drop a

tear. It was beautiful to see him. By and by he got

it. He told us to give attention. Then he strikes a

most noble attitude, with one leg shoved forwards, and

his arms stretched away up, and his head tilted back,

looking up at the sky; and then he begins to rip and

rave and grit his teeth; and after that, all through his

speech, he howled, and spread around, and swelled up

his chest, and just knocked the spots out of any acting

ever I see before. This is the speech -- I learned it,

easy enough, while he was learning it to the king:

To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin

That makes calamity of so long life;

For who would fardels bear, till Birnam Wood do

come to Dunsinane,

But that the fear of something after death

Murders the innocent sleep,

Great nature's second course,

And makes us rather sling the arrows of outrageous fortune

Than fly to others that we know not of.

There's the respect must give us pause:

Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst;

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,

The law's delay, and the quietus which his

pangs might take,

In the dead waste and middle of the night,

when churchyards yawn

In customary suits of solemn black,

But that the undiscovered country from whose

bourne no traveler returns,

Breathes forth contagion on the world,

And thus the native hue of resolution, like

the poor cat i' the adage,

Is sicklied o'er with care,

And all the clouds that lowered o'er our housetops,

With this regard their currents turn awry,

And lose the name of action.

'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

But soft you, the fair Ophelia:

Ope not thy ponderous and marble jaws,

But get thee to a nunnery -- go!

Well, the old man he liked that speech, and he

mighty soon got it so he could do it first-rate. It

seemed like he was just born for it; and when he had

his hand in and was excited, it was perfectly lovely

the way he would rip and tear and rair up behind

when he was getting it off.

The first chance we got the duke he had some show-

bills printed; and after that, for two or three days as

we floated along, the raft was a most uncommon lively

place, for there warn't nothing but sword fighting and

rehearsing -- as the duke called it -- going on all the

time. One morning, when we was pretty well down

the State of Arkansaw, we come in sight of a little

one-horse town in a big bend; so we tied up about

three-quarters of a mile above it, in the mouth of a

crick which was shut in like a tunnel by the cypress

trees, and all of us but Jim took the canoe and went

down there to see if there was any chance in that place

for our show.

We struck it mighty lucky; there was going to be a

circus there that afternoon, and the country people was

already beginning to come in, in all kinds of old

shackly wagons, and on horses. The circus would

leave before night, so our show would have a pretty

good chance. The duke he hired the courthouse, and

we went around and stuck up our bills. They read

like this:

Shaksperean Revival ! ! !

Wonderful Attraction!

For One Night Only!

The world renowned tragedians,

David Garrick the Younger, of Drury Lane Theatre London,


Edmund Kean the elder, of the Royal Haymarket Theatre,

Whitechapel, Pudding Lane, Piccadilly, London, and the

Royal Continental Theatres, in their sublime

Shaksperean Spectacle entitled

The Balcony Scene


Romeo and Juliet ! ! !

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

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

Assisted by the whole strength of the company!

New costumes, new scenes, new appointments!


The thrilling, masterly, and blood-curdling

Broad-sword conflict

In Richard III. ! ! !

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

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


(by special request)

Hamlet's Immortal Soliloquy ! !

By The Illustrious Kean!

Done by him 300 consecutive nights in Paris!

For One Night Only,

On account of imperative European engagements!

Admission 25 cents; children and servants, 10 cents.

Then we went loafing around town. The stores and

houses was most all old, shackly, dried up frame con-

cerns 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 over-

flowed. The houses had little gardens around them,

but they didn't seem to raise hardly anything in them

but jimpson-weeds, and sunflowers, and ash piles, and

old curled-up boots and shoes, and pieces of bottles,

and rags, and played-out tinware. The fences was

made of different kinds of boards, nailed on at dif-

ferent 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 white-

washed some time or another, but the duke said it was

in Clumbus' time, like enough. There was generly

hogs in the garden, and people driving them out.

All the stores was along one street. They had

white domestic awnings in front, and the country peo-

ple hitched their horses to the awning-posts. There

was empty drygoods boxes under the awnings, and

loafers roosting on them all day long, whittling them

with their Barlow knives; and chawing tobacco, and

gaping and yawning and stretching -- a mighty ornery

lot. They generly had on yellow straw hats most as

wide as an umbrella, but didn't wear no coats nor

waistcoats, they called one another Bill, and Buck,

and Hank, and Joe, and Andy, and talked lazy and

drawly, and used considerable many cuss words.

There was as many as one loafer leaning up against

every awning-post, and he most always had his hands

in his britches-pockets, except when he fetched them

out to lend a chaw of tobacco or scratch. What a

body was hearing amongst them all the time was:

"Gimme a chaw 'v tobacker, Hank "

"Cain't; I hain't got but one chaw left. Ask Bill."

Maybe Bill he gives him a chaw; maybe he lies and

says he ain't got none. Some of them kinds of

loafers never has a cent in the world, nor a chaw of

tobacco of their own. They get all their chawing by

borrowing; they say to a fellow, "I wisht you'd len'

me a chaw, Jack, I jist this minute give Ben Thompson

the last chaw I had" -- which is a lie pretty much

everytime; it don't fool nobody but a stranger; but

Jack ain't no stranger, so he says:

"YOU give him a chaw, did you? So did your

sister's cat's grandmother. You pay me back the

chaws you've awready borry'd off'n me, Lafe Buckner,

then I'll loan you one or two ton of it, and won't

charge you no back intrust, nuther."

"Well, I DID pay you back some of it wunst."

"Yes, you did -- 'bout six chaws. You borry'd

store tobacker and paid back nigger-head."

Store tobacco is flat black plug, but these fellows

mostly chaws the natural leaf twisted. When they

borrow a chaw they don't generly cut it off with a

knife, but set the plug in between their teeth, and gnaw

with their teeth and tug at the plug with their hands

till they get it in two; then sometimes the one that

owns the tobacco looks mournful at it when it's

handed back, and says, sarcastic:

"Here, gimme the CHAW, and you take the PLUG."

All the streets and lanes was just mud; they warn't

nothing else BUT mud -- mud as black as tar and nigh

about a foot deep in some places, and two or three

inches deep in ALL the places. The hogs loafed and

grunted around everywheres. You'd see a muddy

sow and a litter of pigs come lazying along the street

and whollop herself right down in the way, where folks

had to walk around her, and she'd stretch out and shut

her eyes and wave her ears whilst the pigs was milking

her, and look as happy as if she was on salary. And

pretty soon you'd hear a loafer sing out, "Hi! SO

boy! sick him, Tige!" and away the sow would go,

squealing most horrible, with a dog or two swinging to

each ear, and three or four dozen more a-coming; and

then you would see all the loafers get up and watch

the thing out of sight, and laugh at the fun and look

grateful for the noise. Then they'd settle back again

till there was a dog fight. There couldn't anything

wake them up all over, and make them happy all over,

like a dog fight -- unless it might be putting turpentine

on a stray dog and setting fire to him, or tying a tin

pan to his tail and see him run himself to death.

On the river front some of the houses was sticking

out over the bank, and they was bowed and bent, and

about ready to tumble in, The people had moved out

of them. The bank was caved away under one corner

of some others, and that corner was hanging over.

People lived in them yet, but it was dangersome, be-

cause sometimes a strip of land as wide as a house

caves in at a time. Sometimes a belt of land a quarter

of a mile deep will start in and cave along and cave

along till it all caves into the river in one summer.

Such a town as that has to be always moving back,

and back, and back, because the river's always gnawing

at it.

The nearer it got to noon that day the thicker and

thicker was the wagons and horses in the streets, and

more coming all the time. Families fetched their

dinners with them from the country, and eat them in

the wagons. There was considerable whisky drinking

going on, and I seen three fights. By and by some-

body sings out:

"Here comes old Boggs! -- in from the country for

his little old monthly drunk; here he comes, boys!"

All the loafers looked glad; I reckoned they was

used to having fun out of Boggs. One of them says:

"Wonder who he's a-gwyne to chaw up this time.

If he'd a-chawed up all the men he's ben a-gwyne to

chaw up in the last twenty year he'd have considerable

ruputation now."

Another one says, "I wisht old Boggs 'd threaten

me, 'cuz then I'd know I warn't gwyne to die for a

thousan' year."

Boggs comes a-tearing along on his horse, whooping

and yelling like an Injun, and singing out:

"Cler the track, thar. I'm on the waw-path, and

the price uv coffins is a-gwyne to raise."

He was drunk, and weaving about in his saddle; he

was over fifty year old, and had a very red face.

Everybody yelled at him and laughed at him and sassed

him, and he sassed back, and said he'd attend to them

and lay them out in their regular turns, but he couldn't

wait now because he'd come to town to kill old

Colonel Sherburn, and his motto was, "Meat first,

and spoon vittles to top off on."

He see me, and rode up and says:

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


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 natured-

est old fool in Arkansaw -- never hurt nobody, drunk

nor sober."

Boggs rode up before the biggest store in town, and

bent his head down so he could see under the curtain

of the awning and yells:

"Come out here, Sherburn! Come out and meet

the man you've swindled. You're the houn' I'm after,

and I'm a-gwyne to have you, too!"

And so he went on, calling Sherburn everything he

could lay his tongue to, and the whole street packed

with people listening and laughing and going on. By

and by a proud-looking man about fifty-five -- and he

was a heap the best dressed man in that town, too --

steps out of the store, and the crowd drops back on

each side to let him come. He says to Boggs, mighty

ca'm and slow -- he says:

"I'm tired of this, but I'll endure it till one o'clock.

Till one o'clock, mind -- no longer. If you open your

mouth against me only once after that time you can't

travel so far but I will find you."

Then he turns and goes in. The crowd looked

mighty sober; nobody stirred, and there warn't no

more laughing. Boggs rode off blackguarding Sher-

burn 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 min-

utes, and so he MUST go home -- he must go right

away. But it didn't do no good. He cussed away

with all his might, and throwed his hat down in the

mud and rode over it, and pretty soon away he went

a-raging down the street again, with his gray hair a-

flying. Everybody that could get a chance at him

tried their best to coax him off of his horse so they

could lock him up and get him sober; but it warn't no

use -- up the street he would tear again, and give

Sherburn another cussing. By and by somebody says:

"Go for his daughter! -- quick, go for his daughter;

sometimes he'll listen to her. If anybody can persuade

him, she can."

So somebody started on a run. I walked down

street a ways and stopped. In about five or ten min-

utes here comes Boggs again, but not on his horse.

He was a-reeling across the street towards me, bare-

headed, with a friend on both sides of him a-holt of

his arms and hurrying him along. He was quiet, and

looked uneasy; and he warn't hanging back any, but

was doing some of the hurrying himself. Somebody

sings out:


I looked over there to see who said it, and it was

that Colonel Sherburn. He was standing perfectly

still in the street, and had a pistol raised in his right

hand -- not aiming it, but holding it out with the barrel

tilted up towards the sky. The same second I see a

young girl coming on the run, and two men with her.

Boggs and the men turned round to see who called

him, and when they see the pistol the men jumped

to one side, and the pistol-barrel come down slow

and steady to a level -- both barrels cocked. Boggs

throws up both of his hands and says, "O Lord, don't

shoot!" Bang! goes the first shot, and he staggers

back, clawing at the air -- bang! goes the second one,

and he tumbles backwards on to the ground, heavy

and solid, with his arms spread out. That young girl

screamed out and comes rushing, and down she throws

herself on her father, crying, and saying, "Oh, he's

killed him, he's killed him!" The crowd closed up

around them, and shouldered and jammed one another,

with their necks stretched, trying to see, and people

on the inside trying to shove them back and shouting,

"Back, back! give him air, give him air!"

Colonel Sherburn he tossed his pistol on to the

ground, and turned around on his heels and walked off.

They took Boggs to a little drug store, the crowd

pressing around just the same, and the whole town

following, and I rushed and got a good place at the

window, where I was close to him and could see in.

They laid him on the floor and put one large Bible

under his head, and opened another one and spread it

on his breast; but they tore open his shirt first, and I

seen where one of the bullets went in. He made

about a dozen long gasps, his breast lifting the Bible

up when he drawed in his breath, and letting it down

again when he breathed it out -- and after that he laid

still; he was dead. Then they pulled his daughter

away from him, screaming and crying, and took her

off. She was about sixteen, and very sweet and gentle

looking, but awful pale and scared.

Well, pretty soon the whole town was there, squirm-

ing and scrouging and pushing and shoving to get at

the window and have a look, but people that had the

places wouldn't give them up, and folks behind them

was saying all the time, "Say, now, you've looked

enough, you fellows; 'tain't right and 'tain't fair for

you to stay thar all the time, and never give nobody a

chance; other folks has their rights as well as you."

There was considerable jawing back, so I slid out,

thinking maybe there was going to be trouble. The

streets was full, and everybody was excited. Every-

body that seen the shooting was telling how it hap-

pened, and there was a big crowd packed around each

one of these fellows, stretching their necks and listen-

ing. One long, lanky man, with long hair and a big

white fur stovepipe hat on the back of his head, and a

crooked-handled cane, marked out the places on the

ground where Boggs stood and where Sherburn stood,

and the people following him around from one place

to t'other and watching everything he done, and bob-

bing their heads to show they understood, and stoop-

ing a little and resting their hands on their thighs to

watch him mark the places on the ground with his

cane; and then he stood up straight and stiff where

Sherburn had stood, frowning and having his hat-brim

down over his eyes, and sung out, "Boggs!" and then

fetched his cane down slow to a level, and says

"Bang!" staggered backwards, says "Bang!" again,

and fell down flat on his back. The people that had

seen the thing said he done it perfect; said it was just

exactly the way it all happened. Then as much as a

dozen people got out their bottles and treated him.

Well, by and by somebody said Sherburn ought to

be lynched. In about a minute everybody was saying

it; so away they went, mad and yelling, and snatching

down every clothes-line they come to to do the hang-

ing with.



THEY swarmed up towards Sherburn's house, a-

whooping and raging like Injuns, and everything

had to clear the way or get run over and tromped to

mush, and it was awful to see. Children was heeling

it ahead of the mob, screaming and trying to get out

of the way; and every window along the road was full

of women's heads, and there was nigger boys in every

tree, and bucks and wenches looking over every fence;

and as soon as the mob would get nearly to them they

would break and skaddle back out of reach. Lots of

the women and girls was crying and taking on, scared

most to death.

They swarmed up in front of Sherburn's palings as

thick as they could jam together, and you couldn't

hear yourself think for the noise. It was a little

twenty-foot yard. Some sung out "Tear down the

fence! tear down the fence!" Then there was a

racket of ripping and tearing and smashing, and down

she goes, and the front wall of the crowd begins to

roll in like a wave.

Just then Sherburn steps out on to the roof of his

little front porch, with a double-barrel gun in his hand,

and takes his stand, perfectly ca'm and deliberate, not

saying a word. The racket stopped, and the wave

sucked back.

Sherburn never said a word -- just stood there, look-

ing down. The stillness was awful creepy and uncom-

fortable. Sherburn run his eye slow along the crowd;

and wherever it struck the people tried a little to out-

gaze him, but they couldn't; they dropped their eyes

and looked sneaky. Then pretty soon Sherburn sort

of laughed; not the pleasant kind, but the kind that

makes you feel like when you are eating bread that's

got sand in it.

Then he says, slow and scornful:

"The idea of YOU lynching anybody! It's amusing.

The idea of you thinking you had pluck enough to

lynch a MAN! Because you're brave enough to tar and

feather poor friendless cast-out women that come along

here, did that make you think you had grit enough to

lay your hands on a MAN? Why, a MAN'S safe in the

hands of ten thousand of your kind -- as long as it's

daytime and you're not behind him.

"Do I know you? I know you clear through

was born and raised in the South, and I've lived in the

North; so I know the average all around. The

average man's a coward. In the North he lets anybody

walk over him that wants to, and goes home and prays

for a humble spirit to bear it. In the South one man

all by himself, has stopped a stage full of men in the

daytime, and robbed the lot. Your newspapers call

you a brave people so much that you think you are

braver than any other people -- whereas you're just AS

brave, and no braver. Why don't your juries hang

murderers? Because they're afraid the man's friends

will shoot them in the back, in the dark -- and it's just

what they WOULD do.

"So they always acquit; and then a MAN goes in

the night, with a hundred masked cowards at his back

and lynches the rascal. Your mistake is, that you

didn't bring a man with you; that's one mistake, and

the other is that you didn't come in the dark and fetch

your masks. You brought PART of a man -- Buck

Harkness, there -- and if you hadn't had him to start

you, you'd a taken it out in blowing.

"You didn't want to come. The average man

don't like trouble and danger. YOU don't like trouble

and danger. But if only HALF a man -- like Buck

Harkness, there -- shouts 'Lynch him! lynch him!'

you're afraid to back down -- afraid you'll be found

out to be what you are -- COWARDS -- and so you raise

a yell, and hang yourselves on to that half-a-man's

coat-tail, and come raging up here, swearing what big

things you're going to do. The pitifulest thing out is

a mob; that's what an army is -- a mob; they don't

fight with courage that's born in them, but with cour-

age that's borrowed from their mass, and from their

officers. But a mob without any MAN at the head of

it is BENEATH pitifulness. Now the thing for YOU to do

is to droop your tails and go home and crawl in a

hole. If any real lynching's going to be done it will

be done in the dark, Southern fashion; and when they

come they'll bring their masks, and fetch a MAN along.

Now LEAVE -- and take your half-a-man with you" --

tossing his gun up across his left arm and cocking it

when he says this.

The crowd washed back sudden, and then broke all

apart, and went tearing off every which way, and Buck

Harkness he heeled it after them, looking tolerable cheap.

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

I went to the circus and loafed around the back side

till the watchman went by, and then dived in under the

tent. I had my twenty-dollar gold piece and some

other money, but I reckoned I better save it, because

there ain't no telling how soon you are going to need

it, away from home and amongst strangers that way.

You can't be too careful. I ain't opposed to spending

money on circuses when there ain't no other way, but

there ain't no use in WASTING it on them.

It was a real bully circus. It was the splendidest

sight that ever was when they all come riding in, two

and two, a gentleman and lady, side by side, the men

just in their drawers and undershirts, and no shoes nor

stirrups, and resting their hands on their thighs easy

and comfortable -- there must a been twenty of them

-- and every lady with a lovely complexion, and per-

fectly beautiful, and looking just like a gang of real

sure-enough queens, and dressed in clothes that cost

millions of dollars, and just littered with diamonds. It

was a powerful fine sight; I never see anything so

lovely. And then one by one they got up and stood,

and went a-weaving around the ring so gentle and

wavy and graceful, the men looking ever so tall and airy

and straight, with their heads bobbing and skimming

along, away up there under the tent-roof, and every

lady's rose-leafy dress flapping soft and silky around

her hips, and she looking like the most loveliest parasol.

And then faster and faster they went, all of them

dancing, first one foot out in the air and then the other,

the horses leaning more and more, and the ringmaster

going round and round the center-pole, cracking his

whip and shouting "Hi! -- hi!" and the clown crack-

ing jokes behind him; and by and by all hands dropped

the reins, and every lady put her knuckles on her hips

and every gentleman folded his arms, and then how

the horses did lean over and hump themselves! And

so one after the other they all skipped off into the

ring, and made the sweetest bow I ever see, and then

scampered out, and everybody clapped their hands and

went just about wild.

Well, all through the circus they done the most

astonishing things; and all the time that clown carried

on so it most killed the people. The ringmaster

couldn't ever say a word to him but he was back at

him quick as a wink with the funniest things a body

ever said; and how he ever COULD think of so many of

them, and so sudden and so pat, was what I couldn't

noway understand. Why, I couldn't a thought of

them in a year. And by and by a drunk man tried to

get into the ring -- said he wanted to ride; said he

could ride as well as anybody that ever was. They

argued and tried to keep him out, but he wouldn't

listen, and the whole show come to a standstill. Then

the people begun to holler at him and make fun of

him, and that made him mad, and he begun to rip

and tear; so that stirred up the people, and a lot of

men begun to pile down off of the benches and swarm

towards the ring, saying, "Knock him down! throw

him out!" and one or two women begun to scream.

So, then, the ringmaster he made a little speech, and

said he hoped there wouldn't be no disturbance, and if

the man would promise he wouldn't make no more

trouble he would let him ride if he thought he could

stay on the horse. So everybody laughed and said all

right, and the man got on. The minute he was on,

the horse begun to rip and tear and jump and cavort

around, with two circus men hanging on to his bridle

trying to hold him, and the drunk man hanging on to

his neck, and his heels flying in the air every jump,

and the whole crowd of people standing up shouting

and laughing till tears rolled down. And at last, sure

enough, all the circus men could do, the horse broke

loose, and away he went like the very nation, round

and round the ring, with that sot laying down on him

and hanging to his neck, with first one leg hanging

most to the ground on one side, and then t'other one

on t'other side, and the people just crazy. It warn't

funny to me, though; I was all of a tremble to see his

danger. But pretty soon he struggled up astraddle

and grabbed the bridle, a-reeling this way and that; and

the next minute he sprung up and dropped the bridle

and stood! and the horse a-going like a house afire

too. He just stood up there, a-sailing around as easy

and comfortable as if he warn't ever drunk in his life

-- and then he begun to pull off his clothes and sling

them. He shed them so thick they kind of clogged

up the air, and altogether he shed seventeen suits.

And, then, there he was, slim and handsome, and

dressed the gaudiest and prettiest you ever saw, and

he lit into that horse with his whip and made him fairly

hum -- and finally skipped off, and made his bow and

danced off to the dressing-room, and everybody just

a-howling with pleasure and astonishment.

Then the ringmaster he see how he had been fooled,

and he WAS the sickest ringmaster you ever see, I

reckon. Why, it was one of his own men! He had

got up that joke all out of his own head, and never let

on to nobody. Well, I felt sheepish enough to be

took in so, but I wouldn't a been in that ringmaster's

place, not for a thousand dollars. I don't know;

there may be bullier circuses than what that one was,

but I never struck them yet. Anyways, it was plenty

good enough for ME; and wherever I run across it, it

can have all of MY custom every time.

Well, that night we had OUR show; but there warn't

only about twelve people there -- just enough to pay

expenses. And they laughed all the time, and that

made the duke mad; and everybody left, anyway,

before the show was over, but one boy which was

asleep. So the duke said these Arkansaw lunkheads

couldn't come up to Shakespeare; what they wanted

was low comedy -- and maybe something ruther worse

than low comedy, he reckoned. He said he could

size their style. So next morning he got some big

sheets of wrapping paper and some black paint, and

drawed off some handbills, and stuck them up all over

the village. The bills said:



The World-Renowned Tragedians




Of the London and Continental


In their Thrilling Tragedy of




Admission 50 cents.

Then at the bottom was the biggest line of all, which



"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 on to 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 expecta-

tions up high enough, he rolled up the curtain, and

the next minute the king come a-prancing out on all

fours, naked; and he was painted all over, ring-

streaked-and-striped, all sorts of colors, as splendid

as a rainbow. And -- but never mind the rest of his

outfit; it was just wild, but it was awful funny. The

people most killed themselves laughing; and when the

king got done capering and capered off behind the

scenes, they roared and clapped and stormed and haw-

hawed till he come back and done it over again, and

after that they made him do it another time. Well, it

would make a cow laugh to see the shines that old

idiot cut.

Then the duke he lets the curtain down, and bows to

the people, and says the great tragedy will be per-

formed only two nights more, on accounts of pressing

London engagements, where the seats is all sold already

for it in Drury Lane; and then he makes them another

bow, and says if he has succeeded in pleasing them

and instructing them, he will be deeply obleeged if

they will mention it to their friends and get them to

come and see it.

Twenty people sings out:

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

The duke says yes. Then there was a fine time.

Everybody sings out, "Sold!" and rose up mad, and

was a-going for that stage and them tragedians. But a

big, fine looking man jumps up on a bench and


"Hold on! Just a word, gentlemen." They stopped

to listen. "We are sold -- mighty badly sold. But

we don't want to be the laughing stock of this whole

town, I reckon, and never hear the last of this thing as

long as we live. NO. What we want is to go out of

here quiet, and talk this show up, and sell the REST of

the town! Then we'll all be in the same boat. Ain't

that sensible?" ("You bet it is! -- the jedge is

right!" everybody sings out.) "All right, then --

not a word about any sell. Go along home, and ad-

vise everybody 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 supper; and by and by,

about midnight, they made Jim and me back her out

and float her down the middle of the river, and fetch

her in and hide her about two mile below town.

The third night the house was crammed again -- and

they warn't new-comers this time, but people that was

at the show the other two nights. I stood by the duke

at the door, and I see that every man that went in had

his pockets bulging, or something muffled up under

his coat -- and I see it warn't no perfumery, neither,

not by a long sight. I smelt sickly eggs by the barrel,

and rotten cabbages, and such things; and if I know

the signs of a dead cat being around, and I bet I do,

there was sixty-four of them went in. I shoved in

there for a minute, but it was too various for me; I

couldn't stand it. Well, when the place couldn't hold

no more people the duke he give a fellow a quarter

and told him to tend door for him a minute, and then

he started around for the stage door, I after him; but

the minute we turned the corner and was in the dark

he says:

"Walk fast now till you get away from the houses,

and then shin for the raft like the dickens was after


I done it, and he done the same. We struck the

raft at the same time, and in less than two seconds we

was gliding down stream, all dark and still, and edging

towards the middle of the river, nobody saying a word.

I reckoned the poor king was in for a gaudy time of it

with the audience, but nothing of the sort; pretty

soon he crawls out from under the wigwam, and says:

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

duke?" He hadn't been up-town at all.

We never showed a light till we was about ten mile

below the village. Then we lit up and had a supper,

and the king and the duke fairly laughed their bones

loose over the way they'd served them people. The

duke says:

"Greenhorns, flatheads! I knew the first house

would keep mum and let the rest of the town get roped

in; and I knew they'd lay for us the third night, and

consider it was THEIR turn now. Well, it IS their turn,

and I'd give something to know how much they'd take

for it. I WOULD just like to know how they're putting

in their opportunity. They can turn it into a picnic if

they want to -- they brought plenty provisions."

Them rapscallions took in four hundred and sixty-

five dollars in that three nights. I never see money

hauled in by the wagon-load like that before.

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


"Don't it s'prise you de way dem kings carries on,


"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 reglar rapscal-

lions; dat's jist what dey is; dey's reglar rapscallions."

"Well, that's what I'm a-saying; all kings is

mostly rapscallions, as fur as I can make out."

"Is dat so?"

"You read about them once -- you'll see. Look

at Henry the Eight; this 'n 's a Sunday-school Super-

intendent to HIM. And look at Charles Second, and

Louis Fourteen, and Louis Fifteen, and James Second,

and Edward Second, and Richard Third, and forty

more; besides all them Saxon heptarchies that used

to rip around so in old times and raise Cain. My,

you ought to seen old Henry the Eight when he was

in bloom. He WAS a blossom. He used to marry a

new wife every day, and chop off her head next morn-

ing. And he would do it just as indifferent as if he

was ordering up eggs. 'Fetch up Nell Gwynn,' he

says. They fetch her up. Next morning, 'Chop off

her head!' And they chop it off. 'Fetch up Jane

Shore,' he says; and up she comes, Next morning,

'Chop off her head' -- and they chop it off. 'Ring

up Fair Rosamun.' Fair Rosamun answers the bell.

Next morning, 'Chop off her head.' And he made

every one of them tell him a tale every night; and he

kept that up till he had hogged a thousand and one

tales that way, and then he put them all in a book,

and called it Domesday Book -- which was a good

name and stated the case. You don't know kings,

Jim, but I know them; and this old rip of ourn is one

of the cleanest I've struck in history. Well, Henry

he takes a notion he wants to get up some trouble with

this country. How does he go at it -- give notice? --

give the country a show? No. All of a sudden he

heaves all the tea in Boston Harbor overboard, and

whacks out a declaration of independence, and dares

them to come on. That was HIS style -- he never give

anybody a chance. He had suspicions of his father,

the Duke of Wellington. Well, what did he do? Ask

him to show up? No -- drownded him in a butt of

mamsey, like a cat. S'pose people left money laying

around where he was -- what did he do? He collared

it. S'pose he contracted to do a thing, and you paid

him, and didn't set down there and see that he done

it -- what did he do? He always done the other thing.

S'pose he opened his mouth -- what then? If he

didn't shut it up powerful quick he'd lose a lie every

time. That's the kind of a bug Henry was; and if

we'd a had him along 'stead of our kings he'd a fooled

that town a heap worse than ourn done. I don't say

that ourn is lambs, because they ain't, when you come

right down to the cold facts; but they ain't nothing to

THAT old ram, anyway. All I say is, kings is kings,

and you got to make allowances. Take them all

around, they're a mighty ornery lot. It's the way

they're raised."

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

"Well, they all do, Jim. We can't help the way a

king smells; history don't tell no way."

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


"Yes, a duke's different. But not very different.

This one's a middling hard lot for a duke. When

he's drunk there ain't no near-sighted man could tell

him from a king."

"Well, anyways, I doan' hanker for no mo' un um,

Huck. Dese is all I kin stan'."

"It's the way I feel, too, Jim. But we've got them

on our hands, and we got to remember what they are,

and make allowances. Sometimes I wish we could

hear of a country that's out of kings."

What was the use to tell Jim these warn't real kings

and dukes? It wouldn't a done no good; and, be-

sides, it was just as I said: you couldn't tell them from

the real kind.

I went to sleep, and Jim didn't call me when it was

my turn. He often done that. When I waked up

just at daybreak he was sitting there with his head

down betwixt his knees, moaning and mourning to

himself. I didn't take notice nor let on. I knowed

what it was about. He was thinking about his wife

and his children, away up yonder, and he was low and

homesick; because he hadn't ever been away from

home before in his life; and I do believe he cared just

as much for his people as white folks does for their'n.

It don't seem natural, but I reckon it's so. He was

often moaning and mourning that way nights, when

he judged I was asleep, and saying, "Po' little 'Liza-

beth! 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' open YIT, en

dat chile stannin' mos' right in it, a-lookin' down and

mournin', en de tears runnin' down. My, but I WUZ

mad! I was a-gwyne for de chile, but jis' den -- it

was a do' dat open innerds -- jis' den, 'long come de

wind en slam it to, behine de chile, ker-BLAM! -- en my

lan', de chile never move'! My breff mos' hop outer

me; en I feel so -- so -- I doan' know HOW I feel. I

crope out, all a-tremblin', en crope aroun' en open de

do' easy en slow, en poke my head in behine de chile,

sof' en still, en all uv a sudden I says POW! jis' as

loud as I could yell. SHE NEVER BUDGE! Oh, Huck, I

bust out a-cryin' en grab her up in my arms, en say,

'Oh, de po' little thing! De Lord God Amighty

fogive po' ole Jim, kaze he never gwyne to fogive his-

self as long's he live!' Oh, she was plumb deef en

dumb, Huck, plumb deef en dumb -- en I'd ben a-

treat'n her so!"



NEXT day, towards night, we laid up under a little

willow towhead out in the middle, where there

was a village on each side of the river, and the duke

and the king begun to lay out a plan for working them

towns. Jim he spoke to the duke, and said he hoped

it wouldn't take but a few hours, because it got mighty

heavy and tiresome to him when he had to lay all day

in the wigwam tied with the rope. You see, when we

left him all alone we had to tie him, because if any-

body happened on to him all by himself and not tied

it wouldn't look much like he was a runaway nigger,

you know. So the duke said it WAS kind of hard to

have to lay roped all day, and he'd cipher out some

way to get around it.

He was uncommon bright, the duke was, and he

soon struck it. He dressed Jim up in King Lear's

outfit -- it was a long curtain-calico gown, and a white

horse-hair wig and whiskers; and then he took his

theater paint and painted Jim's face and hands and

ears and neck all over a dead, dull, solid blue, like a

man that's been drownded nine days. Blamed if he

warn't the horriblest looking outrage I ever see. Then

the duke took and wrote out a sign on a shingle so:

Sick Arab -- but harmless when not out of his head.

And he nailed that shingle to a lath, and stood the

lath up four or five foot in front of the wigwam. Jim

was satisfied. He said it was a sight better than lying

tied a couple of years every day, and trembling all

over every time there was a sound. The duke told

him to make himself free and easy, and if anybody

ever come meddling around, he must hop out of the

wigwam, and carry on a little, and fetch a howl or two

like a wild beast, and he reckoned they would light out

and leave him alone. Which was sound enough judg-

ment; but you take the average man, and he wouldn't

wait for him to howl. Why, he didn't only look like

he was dead, he looked considerable more than that.

These rapscallions wanted to try the Nonesuch again,

because there was so much money in it, but they

judged it wouldn't be safe, because maybe the news

might a worked along down by this time. They

couldn't hit no project that suited exactly; so at last

the duke said he reckoned he'd lay off and work his

brains an hour or two and see if he couldn't put up

something on the Arkansaw village; and the king he

allowed he would drop over to t'other village without

any plan, but just trust in Providence to lead him the

profitable way -- meaning the devil, I reckon. We

had all bought store clothes where we stopped last;

and now the king put his'n on, and he told me to put

mine on. I done it, of course. The king's duds was

all black, and he did look real swell and starchy. I

never knowed how clothes could change a body be-

fore. Why, before, he looked like the orneriest old

rip that ever was; but now, when he'd take off his new

white beaver and make a bow and do a smile, he

looked that grand and good and pious that you'd say

he had walked right out of the ark, and maybe was old

Leviticus himself. Jim cleaned up the canoe, and I

got my paddle ready. There was a big steamboat lay-

ing at the shore away up under the point, about three

mile above the town -- been there a couple of hours,

taking on freight. Says the king:

"Seein' how I'm dressed, I reckon maybe I better

arrive down from St. Louis or Cincinnati, or some

other big place. Go for the steamboat, Huckleberry;

we'll come down to the village on her."

I didn't have to be ordered twice to go and take a

steamboat ride. I fetched the shore a half a mile

above the village, and then went scooting along the

bluff bank in the easy water. Pretty soon we come to

a nice innocent-looking young country jake setting on

a log swabbing the sweat off of his face, for it was

powerful warm weather; and he had a couple of big

carpet-bags by him.

"Run her nose in shore," says the king. I done

it. "Wher' you bound for, young man?"

"For the steamboat; going to Orleans."

"Git aboard," says the king. "Hold on a minute,

my servant 'll he'p you with them bags. Jump out

and he'p the gentleman, Adolphus" -- meaning me, I


I done so, and then we all three started on again.

The young chap was mighty thankful; said it was

tough work toting his baggage such weather. He

asked the king where he was going, and the king told

him he'd come down the river and landed at the other

village this morning, and now he was going up a few

mile to see an old friend on a farm up there. The

young fellow says:

"When I first see you I says to myself, 'It's Mr.

Wilks, sure, and he come mighty near getting here in

time.' But then I says again, 'No, I reckon it ain't

him, or else he wouldn't be paddling up the river.'

You AIN'T him, are you?"

"No, my name's Blodgett -- Elexander Blodgett --

REVEREND Elexander Blodgett, I s'pose I must say, as

I'm one o' the Lord's poor servants. But still I'm

jist as able to be sorry for Mr. Wilks for not arriving

in time, all the same, if he's missed anything by it --

which I hope he hasn't."

"Well, he don't miss any property by it, because

he'll get that all right; but he's missed seeing his

brother Peter die -- which he mayn't mind, nobody

can tell as to that -- but his brother would a give

anything in this world to see HIM before he died;

never talked about nothing else all these three weeks;

hadn't seen him since they was boys together -- and

hadn't ever seen his brother William at all -- that's the

deef and dumb one -- William ain't more than thirty

or thirty-five. Peter and George were the only ones

that come out here; George was the married brother;

him and his wife both died last year. Harvey and

William's the only ones that's left now; and, as I was

saying, they haven't got here in time."

"Did anybody send 'em word?"

"Oh, yes; a month or two ago, when Peter was

first took; because Peter said then that he sorter felt

like he warn't going to get well this time. You see,

he was pretty old, and George's g'yirls was too young

to be much company for him, except Mary Jane, the

red-headed one; and so he was kinder lonesome after

George and his wife died, and didn't seem to care

much to live. He most desperately wanted to see

Harvey -- and William, too, for that matter -- because

he was one of them kind that can't bear to make a

will. He left a letter behind for Harvey, and said

he'd told in it where his money was hid, and how he

wanted the rest of the property divided up so George's

g'yirls would be all right -- for George didn't leave

nothing. And that letter was all they could get him

to put a pen to."

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

does he live?"

"Oh, he lives in England -- Sheffield -- preaches

there -- hasn't ever been in this country. He hasn't

had any too much time -- and besides he mightn't a

got the letter at all, you know."

"Too bad, too bad he couldn't a lived to see his

brothers, poor soul. You going to Orleans, you say?"

"Yes, but that ain't only a part of it. I'm going

in a ship, next Wednesday, for Ryo Janeero, where

my uncle lives."

"It's a pretty long journey. But it'll be lovely;

wisht I was a-going. Is Mary Jane the oldest? How

old is the others?"

"Mary Jane's nineteen, Susan's fifteen, and Joanna's

about fourteen -- that's the one that gives herself to

good works and has a hare-lip."

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


"Well, they could be worse off. Old Peter had

friends, and they ain't going to let them come to no

harm. There's Hobson, the Babtis' preacher; and

Deacon Lot Hovey, and Ben Rucker, and Abner

Shackleford, and Levi Bell, the lawyer; and Dr. Rob-

inson, and their wives, and the widow Bartley, and --

well, there's a lot of them; but these are the ones that

Peter was thickest with, and used to write about some-

times, when he wrote home; so Harvey 'll know where

to look for friends when he gets here."

Well, the old man went on asking questions till he

just fairly emptied that young fellow. Blamed if he

didn't inquire about everybody and everything in that

blessed town, and all about the Wilkses; and about

Peter's business -- which was a tanner; and about

George's -- which was a carpenter; and about Har-

vey's -- which was a dissentering minister; and so on,

and so on. Then he says:

"What did you want to walk all the way up to the

steamboat for?"

"Because she's a big Orleans boat, and I was afeard

she mightn't stop there. When they're deep they

won't stop for a hail. A Cincinnati boat will, but this

is a St. Louis one."

"Was Peter Wilks well off?"

"Oh, yes, pretty well off. He had houses and

land, and it's reckoned he left three or four thousand

in cash hid up som'ers."

"When did you say he died?"

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

"Funeral to-morrow, likely?"

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

"Well, it's all terrible sad; but we've all got to go,

one time or another. So what we want to do is to be

prepared; then we're all right."

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

say that."

When we struck the boat she was about done load-

ing, and pretty soon she got off. The king never said

nothing about going aboard, so I lost my ride, after

all. When the boat was gone the king made me pad-

dle up another mile to a lonesome place, and then he

got ashore and says:

"Now hustle back, right off, and fetch the duke up

here, and the new carpet-bags. And if he's gone over

to t'other side, go over there and git him. And tell

him to git himself up regardless. Shove along, now."

I see what HE was up to; but I never said nothing,

of course. When I got back with the duke we hid the

canoe, and then they set down on a log, and the king

told him everything, just like the young fellow had

said it -- every last word of it. And all the time he

was a-doing it he tried to talk like an Englishman;

and he done it pretty well, too, for a slouch. I can't

imitate him, and so I ain't a-going to try to; but he

really done it pretty good. Then he says:

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

The duke said, leave him alone for that; said he had

played a deef and dumb person on the histronic 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 gave 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 steam-

boat kin afford to carry 'em, can't it?"

So they softened down and said it was all right;

and when we got to the village they yawled us ashore.

About two dozen men flocked down when they see the

yawl a-coming, and when the king says:

"Kin any of you gentlemen tell me wher' Mr. Peter

Wilks lives?" they give a glance at one another, and

nodded their heads, as much as to say, "What d' I

tell you?" Then one of them says, kind of soft and


"I'm sorry. sir, but the best we can do is to tell

you where he DID live yesterday evening."

Sudden as winking the ornery old cretur went an

to smash, and fell up against the man, and put his

chin on his shoulder, and cried down his back, and


"Alas, alas, our poor brother -- gone, and we never

got to see him; oh, it's too, too hard!"

Then he turns around, blubbering, and makes a lot

of idiotic signs to the duke on his hands, and blamed

if he didn't drop a carpet-bag and bust out a-crying.

If they warn't the beatenest lot, them two frauds, that

ever I struck.

Well, the men gathered around and sympathized

with them, and said all sorts of kind things to them,

and carried their carpet-bags up the hill for them, and

let them lean on them and cry, and told the king all

about his brother's last moments, and the king he told

it all over again on his hands to the duke, and both of

them took on about that dead tanner like they'd lost

the twelve disciples. Well, if ever I struck anything

like it, I'm a nigger. It was enough to make a body

ashamed of the human race.



THE news was all over town in two minutes, and

you could see the people tearing down on the

run from every which way, some of them putting on

their coats as they come. Pretty soon we was in the

middle of a crowd, and the noise of the tramping was

like a soldier march. The windows and dooryards was

full; and every minute somebody would say, over a


"Is it THEM?"

And somebody trotting along with the gang would

answer back and say:

"You bet it is."

When we got to the house the street in front of it

was packed, and the three girls was standing in the

door. Mary Jane WAS red-headed, but that don't make

no difference, she was most awful beautiful, and her

face and her eyes was all lit up like glory, she was so

glad her uncles was come. The king he spread his

arms, and Marsy 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 shoul-

der, and t'other hand to their eyes, walked slow and

solemn over there, everybody dropping back to give

them room, and all the talk and noise stopping, people

saying "Sh!" and all the men taking their hats off and

drooping their heads, so you could a heard a pin fall.

And when they got there they bent over and looked in

the coffin, and took one sight, and then they bust out

a-crying so you could a heard them to Orleans, most;

and then they put their arms around each other's

necks, and hung their chins over each other's shoul-

ders; and then for three minutes, or maybe four, I

never see two men leak the way they done. And,

mind you, everybody was doing the same; and the

place was that damp I never see anything like it.

Then one of them got on one side of the coffin, and

t'other on t'other side, and they kneeled down and

rested their foreheads on the coffin, and let on to pray

all to themselves. Well, when it come to that it

worked the crowd like you never see anything like it,

and everybody broke down and went to sobbing right

out loud -- the poor girls, too; and every woman,

nearly, went up to the girls, without saying a word,

and kissed them, solemn, on the forehead, and then

put their hand on their head, and looked up towards

the sky, with the tears running down, and then busted

out and went off sobbing and swabbing, and give the

next woman a show. I never see anything so dis-


Well, by and by the king he gets up and comes for-

ward a little, and works himself up and slobbers out a

speech, all full of tears and flapdoodle about its being

a sore trial for him and his poor brother to lose the

diseased, and to miss seeing diseased alive after the

long journey of four thousand mile, but it's a trial

that's sweetened and sanctified to us by this dear sym-

pathy 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 cry-

ing fit to bust.

And the minute the words were out of his mouth

somebody over in the crowd struck up the doxolojer,

and everybody joined in with all their might, and it

just warmed you up and made you feel as good as

church letting out. Music is a good thing; and after

all that soul-butter and hogwash I never see it freshen

up things so, and sound so honest and bully.

Then the king begins to work his jaw again, and

says how him and his nieces would be glad if a few of

the main principal friends of the family would take

supper here with them this evening, and help set up

with the ashes of the diseased; and says if his poor

brother laying yonder could speak he knows who he

would name, for they was names that was very dear to

him, and mentioned often in his letters; and so he will

name the same, to wit, as follows, vizz.: -- Rev. Mr.

Hobson, and Deacon Lot Hovey, and Mr. Ben Rucker,

and Abner Shackleford, and Levi Bell, and Dr. Robin-

son, and their wives, and the widow Bartley.

Rev. Hobson and Dr. Robinson was down to the

end of the town a-hunting together -- that is, I mean

the doctor was shipping a sick man to t'other world,

and the preacher was pinting him right. Lawyer Bell

was away up to Louisville on business. But the rest

was on hand, and so they all come and shook hands

with the king and thanked him and talked to him; and

then they shook hands with the duke and didn't say

nothing, but just kept a-smiling and bobbing their

heads like a passel of sapheads whilst he made all sorts

of signs with his hands and said "Goo-goo -- goo-goo-

goo" all the time, like a baby that can't talk.

So the king he blattered along, and managed to

inquire about pretty much everybody and dog in town,

by his name, and mentioned all sorts of little things

that happened one time or another in the town, or to

George's family, or to Peter. And he always let on

that Peter wrote him the things; but that was a lie:

he got every blessed one of them out of that young

flathead that we canoed up to the steamboat.

Then Mary Jane she fetched the letter her father

left behind, and the king he read it out loud and cried

over it. It give the dwelling-house and three thousand

dollars, gold, to the girls; and it give the tanyard

(which was doing a good business), along with some

other houses and land (worth about seven thousand),

and three thousand dollars in gold to Harvey and

William, and told where the six thousand cash was hid

down cellar. So these two frauds said they'd go and

fetch it up, and have everything square and above-

board; and told me to come with a candle. We shut

the cellar door behind us, and when they found the

bag they spilt it out on the floor, and it was a lovely

sight, all them yaller-boys. My, the way the king's

eyes did shine! He slaps the duke on the shoulder

and says:

"Oh, THIS ain't bully nor noth'n! Oh, no, I reckon

not! Why, Biljy, it beats the Nonesuch, DON'T it?"

The duke allowed it did. They pawed the yaller-

boys, and sifted them through their fingers and let

them jingle down on the floor; and the king says:

"It ain't no use talkin'; bein' brothers to a rich

dead man and representatives of furrin heirs that's got

left is the line for you and me, Bilge. Thish yer

comes of trust'n to Providence. It's the best way, in

the long run. I've tried 'em all, and ther' ain't no

better 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 awhile, and ransacked all

around for it. Then the duke says:

"Well, he was a pretty sick man, and likely he

made a mistake -- I reckon that's the way of it. The

best way's to let it go, and keep still about it. We

can spare it."

"Oh, shucks, yes, we can SPARE it. I don't k'yer

noth'n 'bout that -- it's the COUNT I'm thinkin' about.

We want to be awful square and open and above-board

here, you know. We want to lug this h-yer money

up stairs and count it before everybody -- then ther'

ain't noth'n suspicious. But when the dead man says

ther's six thous'n dollars, you know, we don't want

to --"

"Hold on," says the duke. "Le's make up the

deffisit," and he begun to haul out yaller-boys out of

his pocket.

"It's a most amaz'n' good idea, duke -- you HAVE

got a rattlin' clever head on you," says the king.

"Blest if the old Nonesuch ain't a heppin' us out

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


"Good land, duke, lemme hug you! It's the most

dazzling idea 'at ever a man struck. You have cert'nly

got the most astonishin' head I ever see. Oh, this is

the boss dodge, ther' ain't no mistake 'bout it. Let

'em fetch along their suspicions now if they want to --

this 'll lay 'em out."

When we got up-stairs everybody gethered around

the table, and the king he counted it and stacked it up,

three hundred dollars in a pile -- twenty elegant little

piles. Everybody looked hungry at it, and licked their

chops. Then they raked it into the bag again, and I

see the king begin to swell himself up for another

speech. He says:

"Friends all, my poor brother that lays yonder has

done generous by them that's left behind in the vale of

sorrers. He has done generous by these yer poor

little lambs that he loved and sheltered, and that's left

fatherless and motherless. Yes, and we that knowed

him knows that he would a done MORE generous by 'em

if he hadn't ben afeard o' woundin' his dear William

and me. Now, WOULDN'T he? Ther' ain't no question

'bout it in MY mind. Well, then, what kind o' brothers

would it be that 'd stand in his way at sech a time?

And what kind o' uncles would it be that 'd rob -- yes,

ROB -- sech poor sweet lambs as these 'at he loved so at

sech a time? If I know William -- and I THINK I do --

he -- well, I'll jest ask him." He turns around and

begins to make a lot of signs to the duke with his

hands, and the duke he looks at him stupid and leather-

headed a while; then all of a sudden he seems to catch

his meaning, and jumps for the king, goo-gooing with

all his might for joy, and hugs him about fifteen times

before he lets up. Then the king says, "I knowed

it; I reckon THAT 'll convince anybody the way HE feels

about it. Here, Mary Jane, Susan, Joanner, take the

money -- take it ALL. It's the gift of him that lays

yonder, cold but joyful."

Mary Jane she went for him, Susan and the hare-lip

went for the duke, and then such another hugging and

kissing I never see yet. And everybody crowded up

with the tears in their eyes, and most shook the hands

off of them frauds, saying all the time:

"You DEAR good souls! -- how LOVELY! -- how COULD


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 any-

thing; and nobody saying anything to him either,

because the king was talking and they was all busy

listening. The king was saying -- in the middle of

something he'd started in on --

"-- they bein' partickler friends o' the diseased.

That's why they're invited here this evenin'; but to-

morrow we want ALL to come -- everybody; for he

respected everybody, he liked everybody, and so it's

fitten that his funeral orgies sh'd be public."

And so he went a-mooning on and on, liking to hear

himself talk, and every little while he fetched in his

funeral orgies again, till the duke he couldn't stand it

no more; so he writes on a little scrap of paper,

"OBSEQUIES, you old fool," and folds it up, and goes

to goo-gooing and reaching it over people's heads to

him. The king he reads it and puts it in his pocket,

and says:

"Poor William, afflicted as he is, his HEART'S aluz

right. Asks me to invite everybody to come to the

funeral -- wants me to make 'em all welcome. But he

needn't a worried -- it was jest what I was at."

Then he weaves along again, perfectly ca'm, and

goes to dropping in his funeral orgies again every now

and then, just like he done before. And when he

done it the third time he says:

"I say orgies, not because it's the common term,

because it ain't -- obsequies bein' the common term --

but because orgies is the right term. Obsequies ain't

used in England no more now -- it's gone out. We

say orgies now in England. Orgies is better, because

it means the thing you're after more exact. It's a

word that's made up out'n the Greek ORGO, outside,

open, abroad; and the Hebrew JEESUM, to plant, cover

up; hence inTER. So, you see, funeral orgies is an

open er public funeral."

He was the WORST I ever struck. Well, the iron-

jawed man he laughed right in his face. Everybody

was shocked. Everybody says, "Why, DOCTOR!" and

Abner Shackleford says:

"Why, Robinson, hain't you heard the news? This

is Harvey Wilks."

The king he smiled eager, and shoved out his

flapper, and says:

"Is it my poor brother's dear good friend and phy-

sician? I --"

"Keep your hands off of me!" says the doctor.

"YOU talk like an Englishman, DON'T you? It's the

worst imitation I ever heard. YOU Peter Wilks's

brother! You're a fraud, that's what you are!"

Well, how they all took on! They crowded around

the doctor and tried to quiet him down, and tried to

explain to him and tell him how Harvey 'd showed in

forty ways that he WAS Harvey, and knowed every-

body by name, and the names of the very dogs, and

begged and BEGGED him not to hurt Harvey's feelings

and the poor girl's 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 cry-

ing; and all of a sudden the doctor ups and turns on

THEM. He says:

"I was your father's friend, and I'm your friend;

and I warn you as a friend, and an honest one that

wants to protect you and keep you out of harm and

trouble, to turn your backs on that scoundrel and have

nothing to do with him, the ignorant tramp, with his

idiotic Greek and Hebrew, as he calls it. He is the

thinnest kind of an impostor -- has come here with a

lot of empty names and facts which he picked up

somewheres, and you take them for PROOFS, and are

helped to fool yourselves by these foolish friends here,

who ought to know better. Mary Jane Wilks, you

know me for your friend, and for your unselfish friend,

too. Now listen to me; turn this pitiful rascal out --

I BEG you to do it. Will you?"

Mary Jane straightened herself up, and my, but she

was handsome! She 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 thousand dollars, and invest for me

and my sisters any way you want to, and don't give

us no receipt for it."

Then she put her arm around the king on one side,

and Susan and the hare-lip done the same on the

other. Everybody clapped their hands and stomped

on the floor like a perfect storm, whilst the king held

up his head and smiled proud. The doctor says:

"All right; I wash MY hands of the matter. But I

warn you all that a time 's coming when you're going

to feel sick whenever you think of this day." And

away he went.

"All right, doctor," says the king, kinder mocking

him; "we'll try and get 'em to send for you;" which

made them all laugh, and they said it was a prime

good hit.



WELL, when they was all gone the king he asks

Mary Jane how they was off for spare rooms,

and she said she had one spare room, which would do

for Uncle William, and she'd give her own room to

Uncle Harvey, which was a little bigger, and she would

turn into the room with her sisters and sleep on a cot;

and up garret was a little cubby, with a pallet in it.

The king said the cubby would do for his valley --

meaning 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


That night they had a big supper, and all them men

and women was there, and I stood behind the king and

the duke's chairs and waited on them, and the niggers

waited on the rest. Mary Jane she set at the head of

the table, with Susan alongside of her, and said how

bad the biscuits was, and how mean the preserves was,

and how ornery and tough the fried chickens was --

and all that kind of rot, the way women always do for

to force out compliments; and the people all knowed

everything was tiptop, and said so -- said "How DO

you get biscuits to brown so nice?" and "Where, for

the land's sake, DID you get these amaz'n pickles?"

and all that kind of humbug talky-talk, just the way

people always does at a supper, you know.

And when it was all done me and the hare-lip had

supper in the kitchen off of the leavings, whilst the others

was helping the niggers clean up the things. The

hare-lip she got to pumping me about England, and

blest if I didn't think the ice was getting mighty thin

sometimes. She says:

"Did you ever see the king?"

"Who? William Fourth? Well, I bet I have -- he

goes to our church." I knowed he was dead years

ago, but I never let on. So when I says he goes to

our church, she says:

"What -- regular?"

"Yes -- regular. His pew's right over opposite

ourn -- on t'other side the pulpit."

"I thought he lived in London?"

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

"But I thought YOU lived in Sheffield?"

I see I was up a stump. I had to let on to get

choked with a chicken bone, so as to get time to think

how to get down again. Then I says:

"I mean he goes to our church regular when he's in

Sheffield. That's only in the summer time, when he

comes there to take the sea baths."

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

"Well, who said it was?"

"Why, you did."

"I DIDN'T nuther."

"You did!"

"I didn't."

"You did."

"I never said nothing of the kind."

"Well, what DID you say, then?"

"Said he come to take the sea BATHS -- that's what I


"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



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


"Why, no."

"Well, neither does William Fourth have to go to

the sea to get a sea bath."

"How does he get it, then?"

"Gets it the way people down here gets Congress-

water -- in barrels. There in the palace at Sheffield

they've got furnaces, and he wants his water hot.

They can't bile that amount of water away off there at

the sea. They haven't got no conveniences for it."

"Oh, I see, now. You might a said that in the first

place and saved time."

When she said that I see I was out of the woods

again, and so I was comfortable and glad. Next, she


"Do you go to church, too?"

"Yes -- regular."

"Where do you set?"

"Why, in our pew."

"WHOSE pew?"

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

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

"Wants it to set in. What did you RECKON he wanted

with it?"

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

Rot him, I forgot he was a preacher. I see I was

up a stump again, so I played another chicken bone

and got another think. Then I says:

"Blame it, do you suppose there ain't but one

preacher to a church?"

"Why, what do they want with more?"

"What! -- to preach before a king? I never did

see such a girl as you. They don't have no less than


"Seventeen! My land! Why, I wouldn't set out

such a string as that, not if I NEVER got to glory. It

must take 'em a week."

"Shucks, they don't ALL of 'em preach the same

day -- only ONE of '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 noth-


"Well, I don't WANT to know no such foolishness as

that. How is servants treated in England? Do they

treat 'em better 'n we treat our niggers?"

"NO! A servant ain't nobody there. They treat

them worse than dogs."

"Don't they give 'em holidays, the way we do,

Christmas and New Year's week, and Fourth of July?"

"Oh, just listen! A body could tell YOU hain't ever

been to England by that. Why, Hare-l -- why, Joanna,

they never see a holiday from year's end to year's

end; never go to the circus, nor theater, nor nigger

shows, nor nowheres."

"Nor church?"

"Nor church."

"But YOU always went to church."

Well, I was gone up again. I forgot I was the old

man's servant. But next minute I whirled in on a

kind of an explanation how a valley was different from

a common servant and HAD to go to church whether

he wanted to or not, and set with the family, on ac-

count of its being the law. But I didn't do it pretty

good, and when I got done I see she warn't satisfied.

She says:

"Honest injun, now, hain't you been telling me a

lot of lies?"

"Honest injun," says I.

"None of it at all?"

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

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

I see it warn't nothing but a dictionary, so I laid my

hand on it and said it. So then she looked a little

better satisfied, and says:

"Well, then, I'll believe some of it; but I hope to

gracious if I'll believe the rest."

"What is it you won't believe, Joe?" says Mary

Jane, stepping in with Susan behind her. "It ain't

right nor kind for you to talk so to him, and him a

stranger and so far from his people. How would you

like to be treated so?"

"That's always your way, Maim -- always sailing in

to help somebody before they're hurt. I hain't done

nothing to him. He's told some stretchers, I reckon,

and I said I wouldn't swallow it all; and that's every

bit and grain I DID say. I reckon he can stand a little

thing like that, can't he?"

"I don't care whether 'twas little or whether 'twas

big; he's here in our house and a stranger, and it

wasn't good of you to say it. If you was in his place

it would make you feel ashamed; and so you oughtn't

to say a thing to another person that will make THEM

feel ashamed."

"Why, Maim, he said --"

"It don't make no difference what he SAID -- that

ain't the thing. The thing is for you to treat him

KIND, and not be saying things to make him remember

he ain't in his own country and amongst his own


I says to myself, THIS is a girl that I'm letting that

old reptle rob her of her money!

Then Susan SHE waltzed in; and if you'll believe

me, she did give Hare-lip hark from the tomb!

Says I to myself, and this is ANOTHER one that I'm

letting him rob her of her money!

Then Mary Jane she took another inning, and went

in sweet and lovely again -- which was her way; but

when she got done there warn't hardly anything left o'

poor Hare-lip. So she hollered.

"All right, then," says the other girls; "you just

ask his pardon."

She done it, too; and she done it beautiful. She

done it so beautiful it was good to hear; and I wished

I could tell her a thousand lies, so she could do it


I says to myself, this is ANOTHER one that I'm letting

him rob her of her money. And when she got through

they all jest laid theirselves out to make me feel at

home and know I was amongst friends. I felt so

ornery and low down and mean that I says to myself,

my mind's made up; I'll hive that money for them or


So then I lit out -- for bed, I said, meaning some

time or another. When I got by myself I went to

thinking the thing over. I says to myself, shall I go

to that doctor, private, and blow on these frauds?

No -- that won't do. He might tell who told him;

then the king and the duke would make it warm for

me. Shall I go, private, and tell Mary Jane? No --

I dasn't do it. Her face would give them a hint,

sure; they've got the money, and they'd slide right

out and get away with it. If she was to fetch in help

I'd get mixed up in the business before it was done

with, I judge. No; there ain't no good way but one.

I got to steal that money, somehow; and I got to

steal it some way that they won't suspicion that I done

it. They've got a good thing here, and they ain't

a-going to leave till they've played this family and this

town for all they're worth, so I'll find a chance time

enough. I'll steal it and hide it; and by and by,

when I'm away down the river, I'll write a letter and

tell Mary Jane where it's hid. But I better hive it to-

night if I can, because the doctor maybe hasn't let up

as much as he lets on he has; he might scare them

out of here yet.

So, thinks I, I'll go and search them rooms. Up-

stairs the hall was dark, but I found the duke's room,

and started to paw around it with my hands; but I

recollected it wouldn't be much like the king to let

anybody else take care of that money but his own self;

so then I went to his room and begun to paw around

there. But I see I couldn't do nothing without a

candle, and I dasn't light one, of course. So I judged

I'd got to do the other thing -- lay for them and

eavesdrop. About that time I hears their footsteps

coming, and was going to skip under the bed; I

reached for it, but it wasn't where I thought it would

be; but I touched the curtain that hid Mary Jane's

frocks, so I jumped in behind that and snuggled in

amongst the gowns, and stood there perfectly still.

They come in and shut the door; and the first thing

the duke done was to get down and look under the

bed. Then I was glad I hadn't found the bed when I

wanted it. And yet, you know, it's kind of natural to

hide under the bed when you are up to anything

private. They sets down then, and the king says:

"Well, what is it? And cut it middlin' short, be-

cause 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 com-

fortable. That doctor lays on my mind. I wanted to

know your plans. I've got a notion, and I think it's a

sound one."

"What is it, duke?"

"That we better glide out of this before three in the

morning, and clip it down the river with what we've

got. Specially, seeing we got it so easy -- GIVEN back

to us, flung at our heads, as you may say, when of

course we allowed to have to steal it back. I'm for

knocking off and lighting out."

That made me feel pretty bad. About an hour or

two ago it would a been a little different, but now it

made me feel bad and disappointed, The king rips out

and says:

"What! And not sell out the rest o' the property?

March off like a passel of fools and leave eight or nine

thous'n' dollars' worth o' property layin' around jest

sufferin' to be scooped in? -- and all good, salable

stuff, too."

The duke he grumbled; said the bag of gold was

enough, and he didn't want to go no deeper -- didn't

want to rob a lot of orphans of EVERYTHING they had.

"Why, how you talk!" says the king. "We

sha'n't rob 'em of nothing at all but jest this money.

The people that BUYS the property is the suff'rers;

because as soon 's it's found out 'at we didn't own

it -- which won't be long after we've slid -- the sale

won't be valid, and it 'll all go back to the estate.

These yer orphans 'll git their house back agin, and

that's enough for THEM; they're young and spry, and

k'n easy earn a livin'. THEY ain't a-goin to suffer.

Why, jest think -- there's thous'n's and thous'n's that

ain't nigh so well off. Bless you, THEY ain't got noth'n'

to complain of."

Well, the king he talked him blind; so at last he

give in, and said all right, but said he believed it was

blamed foolishness to stay, and that doctor hanging

over them. But the king says:

"Cuss the doctor! What do we k'yer for HIM?

Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? And

ain't that a big enough majority in any 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



"Because Mary Jane 'll be in mourning from this

out; and first you know the nigger that does up the

rooms will get an order to box these duds up and put

'em away; and do you reckon a nigger can run across

money and not borrow some of it?"

"Your head's level agin, duke," says the king; and

he comes a-fumbling under the curtain two or three

foot from where I was. I stuck tight to the wall and

kept mighty still, though quivery; and I wondered

what them fellows would say to me if they catched

me; and I tried to think what I'd better do if they did

catch me. But the king he got the bag before I could

think more than about a half a thought, and he never

suspicioned I was around. They took and shoved the

bag through a rip in the straw tick that was under the

feather-bed, and crammed it in a foot or two amongst

the straw and said it was all right now, because a

nigger only makes up the feather-bed, and don't turn

over the straw tick only about twice a year, and so it

warn't in no danger of getting stole now.

But I knowed better. I had it out of there before

they was half-way down stairs. I groped along up to

my cubby, and hid it there till I could get a chance

to do better. I judged I better hide it outside of the

house somewheres, because if they missed it they would

give the house a good ransacking: I knowed that very

well. Then I turned in, with my clothes all on; but I

couldn't a gone to sleep if I'd a wanted to, I was in

such a sweat to get through with the business. By

and by I heard the king and the duke come up; so I

rolled off my pallet and laid with my chin at the top of

my ladder, and waited to see if anything was going to

happen. But nothing did.

So I held on till all the late sounds had quit and the

early ones hadn't begun yet; and then I slipped down

the ladder.



I CREPT to their doors and listened; they was snor-

ing. So I tiptoed 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 re-

mainders 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, show-

ing the dead man's face down in there, with a wet

cloth over it, and his shroud on. I tucked the money-

bag in under the lid, just down beyond where his

hands was crossed, which made me creep, they was so

cold, and then I run back across the room and in

behind the door.

The person coming was Mary Jane. She went to

the coffin, very soft, and kneeled down and looked in;

then she put up her handkerchief, and I see she begun

to cry, though I couldn't hear her, and her back was

to me. I slid out, and as I passed the dining-room I

thought I'd make sure them watchers hadn't seen me;

so I looked through the crack, and everything was all

right. They hadn't stirred.

I slipped up to bed, feeling ruther blue, on accounts

of the thing playing out that way after I had took so

much trouble and run so much resk about it. Says I,

if it could stay where it is, all right; because when we

get down the river a hundred mile or two I could write

back to Mary Jane, and she could dig him up again

and get it; but that ain't the thing that's going to

happen; the thing that's going to happen is, the

money 'll be found when they come to screw on the

lid. Then the king 'll get it again, and it 'll be a long

day before he gives anybody another chance to smouch

it from him. Of course I WANTED to slide down and

get it out of there, but I dasn't try it. Every minute

it was getting earlier now, and pretty soon some of

them watchers would begin to stir, and I might get

catched -- catched with six thousand dollars in my

hands that nobody hadn't hired me to take care of. I

don't wish to be mixed up in no such business as that,

I says to myself.

When I got down stairs in the morning the parlor

was shut up, and the watchers was gone. There warn't

nobody around but the family and the widow Bartley

and our tribe. I watched their faces to see if anything

had been happening, but I couldn't tell.

Towards the middle of the day the undertaker come

with his man, and they set the coffin in the middle of

the room on a couple of chairs, and then set all our

chairs in rows, and borrowed more from the neighbors

till the hall and the parlor and the dining-room was

full. I see the coffin lid was the way it was before,

but I dasn't go to look in under it, with folks around.

Then the people begun to flock in, and the beats

and the girls took seats in the front row at the head of

the coffin, and for a half an hour the people filed

around slow, in single rank, and looked down at the

dead man's face a minute, and some dropped in a tear,

and it was all very still and solemn, only the girls and

the beats holding handkerchiefs to their eyes and keep-

ing 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 soother-

ing ways, putting on the last touches, and getting

people and things all ship-shape and comfortable, and

making no more sound than a cat. He never spoke;

he moved people around, he squeezed in late ones, he

opened up passageways, and done it with nods, and

signs with his hands. Then he took his place over

against the wall. He was the softest, glidingest,

stealthiest man I ever see; and there warn't no more

smile to him than there is to a ham.

They had borrowed a melodeum -- a sick one; and

when everything was ready a young woman set down

and worked it, and it was pretty skreeky and colicky,

and everybody joined in and sung, and Peter was the

only one that had a good thing, according to my

notion. Then the Reverend Hobson opened up, slow

and solemn, and begun to talk; and straight off the

most outrageous row busted out in the cellar a body

ever heard; it was only one dog, but he made a most

powerful racket, and he kept it up right along; the

parson he had to stand there, over the coffin, and wait

-- you couldn't hear yourself think. It was right

down awkward, and nobody didn't seem to know what

to do. But pretty soon they see that long-legged

undertaker make a sign to the preacher as much as to

say, "Don't you worry -- just depend on me." Then

he stooped down and begun to glide along the wall,

just his shoulders showing over the people's heads.

So he glided along, and the powwow and racket get-

ting 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 under-

taker's back and shoulders gliding along the wall

again; and so he glided and glided around three sides

of the room, and then rose up, and shaded his mouth

with his hands, and stretched his neck out towards the

preacher, over the people's heads, and says, in a kind

of a coarse whisper, "HE HAD A RAT!" Then he

drooped down and glided along the wall again to his

place. You could see it was a great satisfaction to the

people, because naturally they wanted to know. A

little thing like that don't cost nothing, and it's just the

little things that makes a man to be looked up to and

liked. There warn't no more popular man in town

than what that undertaker was.

Well, the funeral sermon was very good, but pison

long and tiresome; and then the king he shoved in and

got off some of his usual rubbage, and at last the job

was through, and the undertaker begun to sneak up on

the coffin with his screw-driver. I was in a sweat

then, and watched him pretty keen. But he never

meddled at all; just slid the lid along as soft as mush,

and screwed it down tight and fast. So there I was!

I didn't know whether the money was in there or not.

So, says I, s'pose somebody has hogged that bag on

the sly? -- now how do I know whether to write to

Mary Jane or not? S'pose she dug him up and didn't

find nothing, what would she think of me? Blame it,

I says, I might get hunted up and jailed; I'd better

lay low and keep dark, and not write at all; the thing's

awful mixed now; trying to better it, I've worsened it

a hundred times, and I wish to goodness I'd just let it

alone, dad fetch the whole business!

They buried him, and we come back home, and I

went to watching faces again -- I couldn't help it, and

I couldn't rest easy. But nothing come of it; the

faces didn't tell me nothing.

The king he visited around in the evening, and

sweetened everybody up, and made himself ever so

friendly; and he give out the idea that his congrega-

tion 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 every-

body too, because then the girls would be well fixed and

amongst their own relations; and it pleased the girls,

too -- tickled them so they clean forgot they ever had

a trouble in the world; and told him to sell out as

quick as he wanted to, they would be ready. Them

poor things was that glad and happy it made my heart

ache to see them getting fooled and lied to so, but I

didn't see no safe way for me to chip in and change

the general tune.

Well, blamed if the king didn't bill the house and

the niggers and all the property for auction straight

off -- sale two days after the funeral; but anybody

could buy private beforehand if they wanted to.

So the next day after the funeral, along about noon-

time, the girls' joy got the first jolt. A couple of

nigger traders come along, and the king sold them the

niggers reasonable, for three-day drafts as they called

it, and away they went, the two sons up the river to

Memphis, and their mother down the river to Orleans.

I thought them poor girls and them niggers would

break their hearts for grief; they cried around each

other, and took on so it most made me down sick to

see it. The girls said they hadn't ever dreamed of

seeing the family separated or sold away from the

town. I can't ever get it out of my memory, the

sight of them poor miserable girls and niggers hanging

around each other's necks and crying; and I reckon I

couldn't a stood it all, but would a had to bust out

and tell on our gang if I hadn't knowed the sale warn't

no account and the niggers would be back home in a

week or two.

The thing made a big stir in the town, too, and a

good many come out flatfooted and said it was scandal-

ous to separate the mother and the children that way.

It injured the frauds some; but the old fool he bulled

right along, spite of all the duke could say or do, and

I tell you the duke was powerful uneasy.

Next day was auction day. About broad day in the

morning the king and the duke come up in the garret

and woke me up, and I see by their look that there

was trouble. The king says:

"Was you in my room night before last?"

"No, your majesty" -- which was the way I always

called him when nobody but our gang warn't around.

"Was you in there yisterday er last night?"

"No, your majesty."

"Honor bright, now -- no lies."

"Honor bright, your majesty, I'm telling you the

truth. I hain't been a-near your room since Miss Mary

Jane took you and the duke and showed it to you."

The duke says:

"Have you seen anybody else go in there?"

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

"Stop and think."

I studied awhile and see my chance; then I says:

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

Both of them gave a little jump, and looked like

they hadn't ever expected it, and then like they HAD.

Then the duke says:

"What, all of them?"

"No -- leastways, not all at once -- that is, I don't

think I ever see them all come OUT at once but just one


"Hello! When was that?"

"It was the day we had the funeral. In the morn-

ing. 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 tiptoed away;

so I seen, easy enough, that they'd shoved in there to

do up your majesty's room, or something, s'posing

you was up; and found you WARN'T up, and so they

was hoping to slide out of the way of trouble without

waking you up, if they hadn't already waked you 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 the duke he bust into a kind of a little

raspy chuckle, and says:

"It does beat all how neat the niggers played their

hand. They let on to be SORRY they was going out of

this region! And I believed they WAS sorry, and so

did you, and so did everybody. Don't ever tell ME

any more that a nigger ain't got any histrionic talent.

Why, the way they played that thing it would fool

ANYBODY. In my opinion, there's a fortune in 'em. If

I had capital and a theater, I wouldn't want a better

lay-out than that -- and here we've gone and sold 'em

for a song. Yes, and ain't privileged to sing the song

yet. Say, where IS that song -- that draft?"

"In the bank for to be collected. Where WOULD it


"Well, THAT'S all right then, thank goodness."

Says I, kind of timid-like:

"Is something gone wrong?"

The king whirls on me and rips out:

"None o' your business! You keep your head

shet, and mind y'r own affairs -- if you got any.

Long as you're in this town don't you forgit THAT --

you hear?" Then he says to the duke, "We got to

jest swaller it and say noth'n': mum's the word for US."

As they was starting down the ladder the duke he

chuckles again, and says:

"Quick sales AND small profits! It's a good busi-

ness -- yes."

The king snarls around on him and says:

"I was trying to do for the best in sellin' 'em out

so quick. If the profits has turned out to be none,

lackin' considable, and none to carry, is it my fault

any more'n it's yourn?"

"Well, THEY'D be in this house yet and we WOULDN'T

if I could a got my advice listened to."

The king sassed back as much as was safe for him,

and then swapped around and lit into ME again. He

give me down the banks for not coming and TELLING

him I see the niggers come out of his room acting that

way -- said any fool would a KNOWED something was

up. And then waltzed in and cussed HIMSELF awhile,

and said it all come of him not laying late and taking

his natural rest that morning, and he'd be blamed if he'd

ever do it again. So they went off a-jawing; and I

felt dreadful glad I'd worked it all off on to the niggers,

and yet hadn't done the niggers no harm by it.



BY and by it was getting-up time. So I come down

the ladder and started for down-stairs; but as I

come to the girls' room the door was open, and I see

Mary Jane setting by her old hair trunk, which was

open and she'd been packing things in it -- getting

ready to go to England. But she had stopped now

with a folded gown in her lap, and had her face in her

hands, crying. I felt awful bad to see it; of course

anybody would. I went in there and says:

"Miss Mary Jane, you can't a-bear to see people

in trouble, and I can't -- most always. Tell me

about it."

So she done it. And it was the niggers -- I just

expected it. She said the beautiful trip to England

was most about spoiled for her; she didn't know HOW

she was ever going to be happy there, knowing the

mother and the children warn't ever going to see

each other no more -- and then busted out bitterer

than ever, and flung up her hands, and says:

"Oh, dear, dear, to think they ain't EVER going to

see each other any more!"

"But they WILL -- and inside of two weeks -- and I

KNOW it!" says I.

Laws, it was out before I could think! And before

I could budge she throws her arms around my neck

and told me to say it AGAIN, say it AGAIN, say it AGAIN!

I see I had spoke too sudden and said too much,

and was in a close place. I asked her to let me think

a minute; and she set there, very impatient and ex-

cited and handsome, but looking kind of happy and

eased-up, like a person that's had a tooth pulled out.

So I went to studying it out. I says to myself, I

reckon a body that ups and tells the truth when he is

in a tight place is taking considerable many resks,

though I ain't had no experience, and can't say for

certain; but it looks so to me, anyway; and yet here's

a case where I'm blest if it don't look to me like the

truth is better and actuly SAFER than a lie. I must lay

it by in my mind, and think it over some time or

other, it's so kind of strange and unregular. I never

see nothing like it. Well, I says to myself at last,

I'm a-going to chance it; I'll up and tell the truth this

time, though it does seem most like setting down on a

kag of powder and touching it off just to see where

you'll go to. Then I says:

"Miss Mary Jane, is there any place out of town a

little ways where you could go and stay three or four


"Yes; Mr. Lothrop's. Why?"

"Never mind why yet. If I'll tell you how I know

the niggers will see each other again inside of two

weeks -- here in this house -- and PROVE how I know

it -- will you go to Mr. Lothrop's and stay four days?"

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

"All right," I says, "I don't want nothing more

out of YOU than just your word -- I druther have it than

another man's kiss-the-Bible." She smiled and red-

dened up very sweet, and I says, "If you don't mind

it, I'll shut the door -- and bolt it."

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

"Don't you holler. Just set still and take it like a

man. I got to tell the truth, and you want to brace

up, Miss Mary, because it's a bad kind, and going to

be hard to take, but there ain't no help for it. These

uncles of yourn ain't no uncles at all; they're a couple

of frauds -- regular dead-beats. There, now we're

over the worst of it, you can stand the rest middling


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 on to the king's

breast at the front door and he kissed her sixteen or

seventeen times -- and then up she jumps, with her

face afire like sunset, and says:

"The brute! Come, don't waste a minute -- not a

SECOND -- we'll have them tarred and feathered, and

flung in the river!"

Says I:

"Cert'nly. But do you mean BEFORE you go to Mr.

Lothrop's, or --"

"Oh," she says, "what am I THINKING about!"

she says, and set right down again. "Don't mind

what I said -- please don't -- you WON'T, now, WILL

you?" Laying her silky hand on mine in that kind

of a way that I said I would die first. "I never

thought, I was so stirred up," she says; "now go on,

and I won't do so any more. You tell me what to do,

and whatever you say I'll do it."

"Well," I says, "it's a rough gang, them two

frauds, and I'm fixed so I got to travel with them a

while longer, whether I want to or not -- I druther not

tell you why; and if you was to blow on them this

town would get me out of their claws, and I'd be all

right; but there'd be another person that you don't

know about who'd be in big trouble. Well, we got

to save HIM, hain't we? Of course. Well, then, we

won't blow on them."

Saying them words put a good idea in my head. I

see how maybe I could get me and Jim rid of the

frauds; get them jailed here, and then leave. But I

didn't want to run the raft in the daytime without any-

body aboard to answer questions but me; so I didn't

want the plan to begin working till pretty late to-night.

I says:

"Miss Mary Jane, I'll tell you what we'll do, and

you won't have to stay at Mr. Lothrop's so long,

nuther. How fur is it?"

"A little short of four miles -- right out in the

country, back here."

"Well, that 'll answer. Now you go along out there,

and lay low till nine or half-past to-night, and then get

them to fetch you home again -- tell them you've

thought of something. If you get here before eleven

put a candle in this window, and if I don't turn up

wait TILL eleven, and THEN if I don't turn up it means

I'm gone, and out of the way, and safe. Then you

come out and spread the news around, and get these

beats jailed."

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

"And if it just happens so that I don't get away,

but get took up along with them, you must up and say

I told you the whole thing beforehand, and you must

stand by me all you can."

"Stand by you! indeed I will. They sha'n't touch

a hair of your head!" she says, and I see her nostrils

spread and her eyes snap when she said it, too.

"If I get away I sha'n't be here," I says, "to

prove these rapscallions ain't your uncles, and I

couldn't do it if I WAS here. I could swear they was

beats and bummers, that's all, though that's worth

something. Well, there's others can do that better than

what I can, and they're people that ain't going to be

doubted as quick as I'd be. I'll tell you how to find

them. Gimme a pencil and a piece of paper. There

-- 'Royal Nonesuch, Bricksville.' Put it away, and

don't lose it. When the court wants to find out some-

thing about these two, let them send up to Bricksville

and say they've got the men that played the Royal

Nonesuch, and ask for some witnesses -- why, you'll

have that entire town down here before you can hardly

wink, Miss Mary. And they'll come a-biling, too."

I judged we had got everything fixed about right

now. So I says:

"Just let the auction go right along, and don't

worry. Nobody don't have to pay for the things they

buy till a whole day after the auction on accounts of

the short notice, and they ain't going out of this till

they get that money; and the way we've fixed it the

sale ain't going to count, and they ain't going to get

no money. It's just like the way it was with the

niggers -- it warn't no sale, and the niggers will be

back before long. Why, they can't collect the money

for the NIGGERS yet -- they're in the worst kind of a

fix, Miss Mary."

"Well," she says, "I'll run down to breakfast now,

and then I'll start straight for Mr. Lothrop's."

"'Deed, THAT ain't the ticket, Miss Mary Jane," I

says, "by no manner of means; go BEFORE breakfast."


"What did you reckon I wanted you to go at all

for, Miss Mary?"

"Well, I never thought -- and come to think, I

don't know. What was it?"

"Why, it's because you ain't one of these leather-

face people. I don't want no better book than what

your face is. A body can set down and read it off

like coarse print. Do you reckon you can go and

face your uncles when they come to kiss you good-

morning, and never --"

"There, there, don't! Yes, I'll go before break-

fast -- I'll be glad to. And leave my sisters with


"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 neigh-

bor 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

smooths people's roads the most, down here below; it

would make Mary Jane comfortable, and it wouldn't

cost nothing. Then I says: "There's one more thing

-- that bag of money."

"Well, they've got that; and it makes me feel

pretty silly to think HOW they got it."

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

"Why, who's got it?"

"I wish I knowed, but I don't. I HAD it, because I

stole it from them; and I stole it to give to you; and

I know where I hid it, but I'm afraid it ain't there no

more. I'm awful sorry, Miss Mary Jane, I'm just as

sorry as I can be; but I done the best I could; I did

honest. I come nigh getting caught, and I had to

shove it into the first place I come to, and run -- and

it warn't a good place."

"Oh, stop blaming yourself -- it's too bad to do it,

and I won't allow it -- you couldn't help it; it wasn't

your fault. Where did you hide 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 TELL you where I put it, Miss Mary

Jane, if you don't mind letting me off; but I'll write it

for you on a piece of paper, and you can read it along

the road to Mr. Lothrop's, if you want to. Do you

reckon that 'll do?"

"Oh, yes."

So I wrote: "I put it in the coffin. It was in

there when you was crying there, away in the night.

I was behind the door, and I was mighty sorry for

you, Miss Mary Jane."

It made my eyes water a little to remember her cry-

ing there all by herself in the night, and them devils

laying there right under her own roof, shaming her

and robbing her; and when I folded it up and give it

to her I see the water come into her eyes, too; and

she shook me by the hand, hard, and says:

"GOOD-bye. I'm going to do everything just as

you've told me; and if I don't ever see you again, I

sha'n't ever forget you. and I'll think of you a many

and a many a time, and I'll PRAY for you, too!" -- and

she was gone.

Pray for me! I reckoned if she knowed me she'd

take a job that was more nearer her size. But I bet

she done it, just the same -- she was just that kind.

She had the grit to pray for Judus if she took the

notion -- there warn't no back-down to her, I judge.

You may say what you want to, but in my opinion

she had more sand in her than any girl I ever see; in

my opinion she was just full of sand. It sounds like

flattery, but it ain't no flattery. And when it comes

to beauty -- and goodness, too -- she lays over them

all. I hain't ever seen her since that time that I see

her go out of that door; no, I hain't ever seen her

since, but I reckon I've thought of her a many and a

many a million times, and of her saying she would

pray for me; and if ever I'd a thought it would do

any good for me to pray for HER, blamed if I wouldn't

a done it or bust.

Well, Mary Jane she lit out the back way, I reckon;

because nobody see her go. When I struck Susan

and the hare-lip, I says:

"What's the name of them people over on t'other

side of the river that you all goes to see sometimes?"

They says:

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

"That's the name," I says; "I most forgot it.

Well, Miss Mary Jane she told me to tell you she's

gone over there in a dreadful hurry -- one of them's


"Which one?"

"I don't know; leastways, I kinder forget; but I

thinks it's --"

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

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

very one."

"My goodness, and she so well only last week! Is

she took bad?"

"It ain't no name for it. They set up with her all

night, Miss Mary Jane said, and they don't think she'll

last many hours."

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


I couldn't think of anything reasonable, right off

that way, so I says:


"Mumps your granny! They don't set up with

people that's got the mumps."

"They don't, don't they? You better bet they do

with THESE mumps. These mumps is different. It's a

new kind, Miss Mary Jane said."

"How's it a new kind?"

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

"What other things?"

"Well, measles, and whooping-cough, and erysiplas,

and consumption, and yaller janders, and brain-fever,

and I don't know what all."

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

"That's what Miss Mary Jane said."

"Well, what in the nation do they call it the MUMPS


"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 some-

body come along and ask what killed him, and some

numskull up and say, 'Why, he stumped his TOE.'

Would ther' be any sense in that? NO. And ther'

ain't no sense in THIS, nuther. Is it ketching?"

"Is it KETCHING? Why, how you talk. Is a HARROW

catching -- in the dark? If you don't hitch on to one

tooth, you're bound to on another, ain't you? And

you can't get away with that tooth without fetching

the whole harrow along, can you? Well, these kind

of mumps is a kind of a harrow, as you may say -- and

it ain't no slouch of a harrow, nuther, you come to

get it hitched on good."

"Well, it's awful, I think," says the hare-lip.

"I'll go to Uncle Harvey and --"

"Oh, yes," I says, "I WOULD. Of COURSE I would.

I wouldn't lose no time."

"Well, why wouldn't you?"

"Just look at it a minute, and maybe you can see.

Hain't your uncles obleegd to get along home to Eng-

land as fast as they can? And do you reckon they'd

be mean enough to go off and leave you to go all that

journey by yourselves? YOU know they'll wait for

you. So fur, so good. Your uncle Harvey's a

preacher, ain't he? Very well, then; is a PREACHER

going to deceive a steamboat clerk? is he going to

deceive a SHIP CLERK? -- so as to get them to let Miss

Mary Jane go aboard? Now YOU know he ain't.

What WILL he do, then? Why, he'll say, 'It's a great

pity, but my church matters has got to get along the

best way they can; for my niece has been exposed to

the dreadful pluribus-unum mumps, and so it's my

bounden duty to set down here and wait the three

months it takes to show on her if she's got it.' But

never mind, if you think it's best to tell your uncle

Harvey --"

"Shucks, and stay fooling around here when we

could all be having good times in England whilst we

was waiting to find out whether Mary Jane's got it or

not? Why, you talk like a muggins."

"Well, anyway, maybe you'd better tell some of

the neighbors."

"Listen at that, now. You do beat all for natural

stupidness. Can't you SEE that THEY'D go and tell?

Ther' ain't no way but just to not tell anybody at ALL."

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


"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 allowed her uncle

Peter would ruther they had it than anybody else;

and she's going to stick to them till they say they'll

come, and then, if she ain't too tired, she's coming

home; and if she is, she'll be home in the morning

anyway. She said, don't say nothing about the Proc-

tors, but only about the Apthorps -- which 'll be per-

fectly 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 sym-

pathy all he knowed how, and just spreading himself


But by and by the thing dragged through, and

everything was sold -- everything but a little old trifling

lot in the graveyard. So they'd got to work that off

-- I never see such a girafft as the king was for want-

ing 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 gentle-

man along, and a nice-looking younger one, with

his right arm in a sling. And, my souls, how the

people yelled and laughed, and kept it up. But I didn't

see no joke about it, and I judged it would strain the

duke and the king some to see any. I reckoned

they'd turn pale. But no, nary a pale did THEY turn.

The duke he never let on he suspicioned what was

up, but just went a goo-gooing around, happy and

satisfied, like a jug that's googling out buttermilk;

and as for the king, he just gazed and gazed down

sorrowful on them new-comers like it give him the

stomach-ache in his very heart to think there could be

such frauds and rascals in the world. Oh, he done it

admirable. Lots of the principal people gethered

around the king, to let him see they was on his side.

That old gentleman that had just come looked all puz-

zled to death. Pretty soon he begun to speak, and I

see straight off he pronounced LIKE an Englishman --

not the king's way, though the king's WAS pretty good

for an imitation. I can't give the old gent's words,

nor I can't imitate him; but he turned around to the

crowd, and says, about like this:

"This is a surprise to me which I wasn't looking

for; and I'll acknowledge, candid and frank, I ain't

very well fixed to meet it and answer it; for my

brother and me has had misfortunes; he's broke his

arm, and our baggage got put off at a town above here

last night in the night by a mistake. I am Peter

Wilks' brother Harvey, and this is his brother William,

which can't hear nor speak -- and can't even make

signs to amount to much, now't he's only got one

hand to work them with. We are who we say we are;

and in a day or two, when I get the baggage, I can

prove it. But up till then I won't say nothing more,

but go to the hotel and wait."

So him and the new dummy started off; and the king

he laughs, and blethers out:

"Broke his arm -- VERY likely, AIN'T it? -- and very

convenient, too, for a fraud that's got to make signs,

and ain't learnt how. Lost their baggage! That's

MIGHTY good! -- and mighty ingenious -- under the


So he laughed again; and so did everybody else,

except three or four, or maybe half a dozen. One of

these was that doctor; another one was a sharp-

looking gentleman, with a carpet-bag of the old-

fashioned kind made out of carpet-stuff, that had just

come off of the steamboat and was talking to him in a

low voice, and glancing towards the king now and then

and nodding their heads -- it was Levi Bell, the lawyer

that was gone up to Louisville; and another one was

a big rough husky that come along and listened to

all the old 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 sun-


"HOW'D you come?"

"I come down on the Susan Powell from Cincin-


"Well, then, how'd you come to be up at the Pint

in the MORNIN' -- in a canoe?"

"I warn't up at the Pint in the mornin'."

"It's a lie."

Several of them jumped for him and begged him not

to talk that way to an old man and a preacher.

"Preacher be hanged, he's a fraud and a liar. He

was up at the Pint that mornin'. I live up there, don't

I? Well, I was up there, and he was up there. I see

him there. He come in a canoe, along with Tim

Collins and a boy."

The doctor he up and says:

"Would you know the boy again if you was to see

him, Hines?"

"I reckon I would, but I don't know. Why,

yonder he is, now. I know him perfectly easy."

It was me he pointed at. The doctor says:

"Neighbors, I don't know whether the new couple

is frauds or not; but if THESE two ain't frauds, I am an

idiot, that's all. I think it's our duty to see that they

don't get away from here till we've looked into this

thing. Come along, Hines; come along, the rest of

you. We'll take these fellows to the tavern and

affront them with t'other couple, and I reckon we'll

find out SOMETHING before we get through."

It was nuts for the crowd, though maybe not for

the king's friends; so we all started. It was about

sundown. The doctor he led me along by the hand,

and was plenty kind enough, but he never let go my


We all got in a big room in the hotel, and lit up

some candles, and fetched in the new couple. First,

the doctor says:

"I don't wish to be too hard on these two men, but

I think they're frauds, and they may have complices

that we don't know nothing about. If they have,

won't the complices get away with that bag of gold

Peter Wilks left? It ain't unlikely. If these men

ain't frauds, they won't object to sending for that

money and letting us keep it till they prove they're

all right -- ain't that so?"

Everybody agreed to that. So I judged they had

our gang in a pretty tight place right at the outstart.

But the king he only looked sorrowful, and says:

"Gentlemen, I wish the money was there, for I

ain't got no disposition to throw anything in the way

of a fair, open, out-and-out investigation o' this

misable business; but, alas, the money ain't there;

you k'n send and see, if you want to."

"Where is it, then?"

"Well, when my niece give it to me to keep for her

I took and hid it inside o' the straw tick o' my bed,

not wishin' to bank it for the few days we'd be here,

and considerin' the bed a safe place, we not bein' used

to niggers, and suppos'n' 'em honest, like servants in

England. The niggers stole it the very next mornin'

after I had went down stairs; and when I sold 'em I

hadn't missed the money yit, so they got clean away

with it. My servant here k'n tell you 'bout it, 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 master and was trying to

get away before he made trouble with them. That

was all they asked me. Then the doctor whirls on me

and says:

"Are YOU English, too?"

I says yes; and him and some others laughed, and

said, "Stuff!"

Well, then they sailed in on the general investiga-

tion, and there we had it, up and down, hour in, hour

out, and nobody never said a word about supper, nor

ever seemed to think about it -- and so they kept it

up, and kept it up; and it WAS the worst mixed-up

thing you ever see. They made the king tell his yarn,

and they made the old gentleman tell his'n; and any-

body but a lot of prejudiced chuckleheads would a SEEN

that the old gentleman was spinning truth and t'other

one lies. And by and by they had me up to tell what

I knowed. The king he give me a left-handed look

out of the corner of his eye, and so I knowed enough

to talk on the right side. I begun to tell about

Sheffield, and how we lived there, and all about the

English Wilkses, and so on; but I didn't get pretty

fur till the doctor begun to laugh; and Levi Bell, the

lawyer, says:

"Set down, my boy; I wouldn't strain myself if I

was you. I reckon you ain't used to lying, it don't

seem to come handy; what you want is practice. You

do it pretty awkward."

I didn't care nothing for the compliment, but I was

glad to be let off, anyway.

The doctor he started to say something, and turns

and says:

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


The king broke in and reached out his hand, and


"Why, is this my poor dead brother's old friend

that he's wrote so often about?"

The lawyer and him shook hands, and the lawyer

smiled and looked pleased, and they talked right along

awhile, and then got to one side and talked low; and

at last the lawyer speaks up and says:

"That 'll fix it. I'll take the order and send it,

along with your brother's, and then they'll know it's

all right."

So they got some paper and a pen, and the king he

set down and twisted his head to one side, and chawed

his tongue, and scrawled off something; and then they

give the pen to the duke -- and then for the first time

the duke looked sick. But he took the pen and wrote.

So then the lawyer turns to the new old gentleman and


"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 ex-

amined the old man's writing, and then THEM again;

and then says: "These old letters is from Harvey

Wilks; and here's THESE two handwritings, and any-

body 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 hand writing, and anybody can tell, easy

enough, HE didn't write them -- fact is, the scratches

he makes ain't properly WRITING at all. Now, here's

some letters from --"

The new old gentleman says:

"If you please, let me explain. Nobody can read

my hand but my brother there -- so he copies for me.

It's HIS hand you've got there, not mine."

"WELL!" says the lawyer, "this IS a state of

things. I've got some of William's letters, too; so if

you'll get him to write a line or so we can com --"

"He CAN'T write with his left hand," says the old

gentleman. "If he could use his right hand, you

would see that he wrote his own letters and mine

too. Look at both, please -- they're by the same


The lawyer done it, and says:

"I believe it's so -- and if it ain't so, there's a heap

stronger resemblance than I'd noticed before, anyway.

Well, well, well! I thought we was right on the track

of a slution, but it's gone to grass, partly. But any-

way, one thing is proved -- THESE two ain't either of

'em Wilkses" -- and he wagged his head towards the

king and the duke.

Well, what do you think? That muleheaded old

fool wouldn't give in THEN! Indeed he wouldn't.

Said it warn't no fair test. Said his brother William

was the cussedest joker in the world, and hadn't tried

to write -- HE see William was going to play one of his

jokes the minute he put the pen to paper. And so he

warmed up and went warbling right along till he was

actuly beginning to believe what he was saying HIM-

SELF; but pretty soon the new gentleman broke in, and


"I've thought of something. Is there anybody

here that helped to lay out my br -- helped to lay out

the late Peter Wilks for burying?"

"Yes," says somebody, "me and Ab Turner done

it. We're both here."

Then the old man turns towards the king, and


"Peraps this gentleman can tell me what was

tattooed on his breast?"

Blamed if the king didn't have to brace up mighty

quick, or he'd a squshed down like a bluff bank that

the river has cut under, it took him so sudden; and,

mind you, it was a thing that was calculated to make

most ANYBODY sqush to get fetched such a solid one as

that without any notice, because how was HE going to

know what was tattooed on the man? He whitened a

little; he couldn't help it; and it was mighty still in

there, and everybody bending a little forwards and

gazing at him. Says I to myself, NOW he'll throw up

the sponge -- there ain't no more use. Well, did he?

A body can't hardly believe it, but he didn't. I

reckon he thought he'd keep the thing up till he tired

them people out, so they'd thin out, and him and the

duke could break loose and get away. Anyway, he

set there, and pretty soon he begun to smile, and says:

"Mf! It's a VERY tough question, AIN'T it! YES,

sir, I k'n tell you what's tattooed on his breast. It's

jest a small, thin, blue arrow -- that's what it is; and

if you don't look clost, you can't see it. NOW what

do you say -- hey?"

Well, I never see anything like that old blister for

clean out-and-out cheek.

The new old gentleman turns brisk towards Ab

Turner and his pard, and his eye lights up like he

judged he'd got the king THIS time, and says:

"There -- you've heard what he said! Was there

any such mark on Peter Wilks' breast?"

Both of them spoke up and says:

"We didn't see no such mark."

"Good!" says the old gentleman. "Now, what

you DID see on his breast was a small dim P, and a B

(which is an initial he dropped when he was young),

and a W, with dashes between them, so: P -- B --

W" -- and he marked them that way on a piece of

paper. "Come, ain't that what you saw?"

Both of them spoke up again, and says:

"No, we DIDN'T. We never seen any marks at all."

Well, everybody WAS in a state of mind now, and

they sings out:

"The whole BILIN' of 'm 's frauds! Le's duck

'em! le's drown 'em! le's ride 'em on a rail!" and

everybody was whooping at once, and there was a rat-

tling powwow. But the lawyer he jumps on the table

and yells, and says:

"Gentlemen -- gentleMEN! Hear me just a word --

just a SINGLE word -- if you PLEASE! There's one way

yet -- let's go and dig up the corpse and 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 THEM along, too!"

"We'll do it!" they all shouted; "and if we don't

find them marks we'll lynch the whole gang!"

I WAS scared, now, I tell you. But there warn't no

getting away, you know. They gripped us all, and

marched us right along, straight for the graveyard,

which was a mile and a half down the river, and the

whole town at our heels, for we made noise enough,

and it was only nine in the evening.

As we went by our house I wished I hadn't sent

Mary Jane out of town; because now if I could tip her

the wink she'd light out and save me, and blow on our


Well, we swarmed along down the river road, just

carrying on like wildcats; and to make it more scary

the sky was darking up, and the lightning beginning to

wink and flitter, and the wind to shiver amongst the

leaves. This was the most awful trouble and most

dangersome I ever was in; and I was kinder stunned;

everything was going so different from what I had

allowed for; stead of being fixed so I could take my

own time if I wanted to, and see all the fun, and have

Mary Jane at my back to save me and set me free

when the close-fit come, here was nothing in the

world betwixt me and sudden death but just them

tattoo-marks. If they didn't find them --

I couldn't bear to think about it; and yet, some-

how, 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 grave-

yard 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 light-

ning, and sent a man to the nearest house, a half a

mile off, to borrow one.

So they dug and dug like everything; and it got

awful dark, and the rain started, and the wind swished

and swushed along, and the lightning come brisker and

brisker, and the thunder boomed; but them people

never took no notice of it, they was so full of this

business; and one minute you could see everything

and every face in that big crowd, and the shovelfuls of

dirt sailing up out of the grave, and the next second

the dark wiped it all out, and you couldn't see nothing

at all.

At last they got out the coffin and begun to unscrew

the lid, and then such another crowding and shoulder-

ing 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


Hines let out a whoop, like everybody else, and

dropped my wrist and give a big surge to bust his way

in and get a look, and the way I lit out and shinned

for the road in the dark there ain't nobody can tell.

I had the road all to myself, and I fairly flew --

leastways, I had it all to myself except the solid dark,

and the now-and-then glares, and the buzzing of the

rain, and the thrashing of the wind, and the splitting

of the thunder; and sure as you are born I did clip it


When I struck the town I see there warn't nobody

out in the storm, so I never hunted for no back streets,

but humped it straight through the main one; and

when I begun to get towards our house I aimed my

eye and set it. No light there; the house all dark --

which made me feel sorry and disappointed, I didn't

know why. But at last, just as I was sailing by, FLASH

comes the light in Mary Jane's window! and my heart

swelled up sudden, like to bust; and the same second

the house and all was behind me in the dark, and

wasn't ever going to be before me no more in this

world. She WAS the best girl I ever see, and had the

most sand.

The minute I was far enough above the town to see

I could make the towhead, I begun to look sharp for

a boat to borrow, and the first time the lightning

showed me one that wasn't chained I snatched it and

shoved. It was a canoe, and warn't fastened with

nothing but a rope. The towhead was a rattling big

distance off, away out there in the middle of the river,

but I didn't lose no time; and when I struck the raft

at last I was so fagged I would a just laid down to

blow and gasp if I could afforded it. But I didn't.

As I sprung aboard I sung out:

"Out with you, Jim, and set her loose! Glory be

to goodness, we're shut of them!"

Jim lit out, and was a-coming for me with both arms

spread, he was so full of joy; but when I glimpsed

him in the lightning my heart shot up in my mouth

and I went overboard backwards; for I forgot he was

old King Lear and a drownded A-rab all in one, and it

most scared the livers and lights out of me. But Jim

fished me out, and was going to hug me and bless me,

and so on, he was so glad I was back and we was shut

of the king and the duke, but I says:

"Not now; have it for breakfast, have it for break-

fast! 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 on to the planks then, and

give up; and it was all I could do to keep from crying.



WHEN they got aboard the king went for me, and

shook me by the collar, and says:

"Tryin' to give us the slip, was ye, you pup!

Tired of our company, hey?"

I says:

"No, your majesty, we warn't -- PLEASE don't, your


"Quick, then, and tell us what WAS your idea, or

I'll shake the insides out o' you!"

"Honest, I'll tell you everything just as it hap-

pened, your majesty. The man that had a-holt of me

was very good to me, and kept saying he had a boy

about as big as me that died last year, and he was

sorry to see a boy in such a dangerous fix; and when

they was all took by surprise by finding the gold, and

made a rush for the coffin, he lets go of me and whis-

pers, 'Heel it now, or they'll hang ye, sure!' and I

lit out. It didn't seem no good for ME to stay -- I

couldn't do nothing, and I didn't want to be hung if

I could get away. So I never stopped running till I

found the canoe; and when I got here I told Jim to

hurry, or they'd catch me and hang me yet, and said I

was afeard you and the duke wasn't alive now, and

I was awful sorry, and so was Jim, and was awful glad

when we see you coming; you may ask Jim if I


Jim said it was so; and the king told him to shut

up, and said, "Oh, yes, it's MIGHTY likely!" and

shook me up again, and said he reckoned he'd drownd

me. But the duke says:

"Leggo the boy, you old idiot! Would YOU a done

any different? Did you inquire around for HIM when

you got loose? I don't remember it."

So the king let go of me, and begun to cuss that

town and everybody in it. But the duke says:

"You better a blame' sight give YOURSELF a good

cussing, for you're the one that's entitled to it most.

You hain't done a thing from the start that had any

sense in it, except coming out so cool and cheeky with

that imaginary blue-arrow mark. That WAS bright --

it was right down bully; and it was the thing that

saved us. For if it hadn't been for that they'd a jailed

us till them Englishmen's baggage come -- and then --

the penitentiary, you bet! But that trick took 'em to

the graveyard, and the gold done us a still bigger

kindness; for if the excited fools hadn't let go all

holts and made that rush to get a look we'd a slept in

our cravats to-night -- cravats warranted to WEAR, too

-- longer than WE'D need 'em."

They was still a minute -- thinking; then the king

says, kind of absent-minded like:

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

That made me squirm!

"Yes," says the duke, kinder slow and deliberate

and sarcastic, "WE did."

After about a half a minute the king drawls out:

"Leastways, I did."

The duke says, the same way:

"On the contrary, I did."

The king kind of ruffles up, and says:

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

The duke says, pretty brisk:

"When it comes to that, maybe you'll let me ask,

what was YOU referring to?"

"Shucks!" says the king, very sarcastic; "but I

don't know -- maybe you was asleep, and didn't know

what you was about."

The duke bristles up now, and says:

"Oh, let UP on this cussed nonsense; do you take

me for a blame' fool? Don't you reckon I know who

hid that money in that coffin?"

"YES, sir! I know you DO know, because you done

it yourself!"

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

king sings out:

"Take y'r hands off! -- leggo my throat! -- I take it

all back!"

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 every-

thing I said."

"You old scoundrel, I didn't, and you know I

didn't. There, now!"

"Well, then, I b'lieve you. But answer me only

jest this one more -- now DON'T git mad; didn't you

have it in your mind to hook the money and hide it?"

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


"Well, I don't care if I DID, I didn't DO it, anyway.

But you not only had it in mind to do it, but you

DONE it."

"I wisht I never die if I done it, duke, and that's

honest. I won't say I warn't goin' to do it, because I

WAS; but you -- I mean somebody -- got in ahead o'


"It's a lie! You done it, and you got to SAY you

done it, or --"

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

"'Nough! -- I OWN UP!"

I was very glad to hear him say that; it made me

feel much more easier than what I was feeling before.

So the duke took his hands off and says:

"If you ever deny it again I'll drown you. It's

WELL for you to set there and blubber like a baby -- it's

fitten for you, after the way you've acted. I never

see such an old ostrich for wanting to gobble every-

thing -- and I a-trusting you all the time, like you was

my own father. You ought to been ashamed of your-

self to stand by and hear it saddled on to a lot of poor

niggers, and you never say a word for 'em. It makes

me feel ridiculous to think I was soft enough to BELIEVE

that rubbage. Cuss you, I can see now why you was

so anxious to make up the deffisit -- you wanted to

get what money I'd got out of the Nonesuch and one

thing or another, and scoop it ALL!"

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

"Why, duke, it was you that said make up the

deffisit; it warn't me."

"Dry up! I don't want to hear no more out of

you!" says the duke. "And NOW you see what you

GOT by it. They've got all their own money back, and

all of OURN but a shekel or two BESIDES. G'long to bed,

and don't you deffersit ME no more deffersits, long 's

YOU live!"

So the king sneaked into the wigwam and took to

his bottle for comfort, and before long the duke tackled

HIS bottle; and so in about a half an hour they was as

thick as thieves again, and the tighter they got the

lovinger they got, and went off a-snoring in each

other's arms. They both got powerful mellow, but I

noticed the king didn't get mellow enough to forget to

remember to not deny about hiding the money-bag

again. That made me feel easy and satisfied. Of

course when they got to snoring we had a long gabble,

and I told Jim everything.



WE dasn't stop again at any town for days and

days; kept right along down the river. We

was down south in the warm weather now, and a

mighty long ways from home. We begun to come to

trees with Spanish moss on them, hanging down from

the limbs like long, gray beards. It was the first I

ever see it growing, and it made the woods look solemn

and dismal. So now the frauds reckoned they was out

of danger, and they begun to work the villages again.

First they done a lecture on temperance; but they

didn't make enough for them both to get drunk on.

Then in another village they started a dancing-school;

but they didn't know no more how to dance than a

kangaroo does; so the first prance they made the

general public jumped in and pranced them out of

town. Another time they tried to go at yellocution;

but they didn't yellocute long till the audience got up

and give them a solid good cussing, and made them

skip out. They tackled missionarying, and mesmeriz-

ing, and doctoring, and telling fortunes, and a little of

everything; but they couldn't seem to have no luck.

So at last they got just about dead broke, and laid

around the raft as she floated along, thinking and

thinking, and never saying nothing, by the half a day

at a time, and dreadful blue and desperate.

And at last they took a change and begun to lay

their heads together in the wigwam and talk low and

confidential two or three hours at a time. Jim and me

got uneasy. We didn't like the look of it. We judged

they was studying up some kind of worse deviltry than

ever. We turned it over and over, and at last we made

up our minds they was going to break into somebody's

house or store, or was going into the counterfeit-

money business, or something. So then we was pretty

scared, and made up an agreement that we wouldn't

have nothing in the world to do with such actions, and

if we ever got the least show we would give them the

cold shake and clear out and leave them behind.

Well, early one morning we hid the raft in a good,

safe place about two mile below a little bit of a shabby

village named Pikesville, and the king he went ashore

and told us all to stay hid whilst he went up to town

and smelt around to see if anybody had got any wind

of the Royal Nonesuch there yet. ("House to rob,

you MEAN," says I to myself; "and when you get

through robbing it you'll come back here and wonder

what has become of me and Jim and the raft -- and

you'll have to take it out in wondering.") And he

said if he warn't back by midday the duke and me

would know it was all right, and we was to come along.

So we stayed where we was. The duke he fretted

and sweated around, and was in a mighty sour way.

He scolded us for everything, and we couldn't seem to

do nothing right; he found fault with every little

thing. Something was a-brewing, sure. I was good

and glad when midday come and no king; we could

have a change, anyway -- and maybe a chance for THE

chance on top of it. So me and the duke went up to

the village, and hunted around there for the king, and

by and by we found him in the back room of a little

low doggery, very tight, and a lot of loafers bullyrag-

ging him for sport, and he a-cussing and a-threatening

with all his might, and so tight he couldn't walk, and

couldn't do nothing to them. The duke he begun to

abuse him for an old fool, and the king begun to sass

back, and the minute they was fairly at it I lit out and

shook the reefs out of my hind legs, and spun down

the river road like a deer, for I see our chance; and I

made up my mind that it would be a long day before

they ever see me and Jim again. I got down there all

out of breath but loaded up with joy, and sung out:

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

But there warn't no answer, and nobody come out

of the wigwam. Jim was gone! I set up a shout --

and then another -- and then another one; and run

this way and that in the woods, whooping and screech-

ing; but it warn't no use -- old Jim was gone. Then

I set down and cried; I couldn't help it. But I

couldn't set still long. Pretty soon I went out on the

road, trying to think what I better do, and I run across

a boy walking, and asked him if he'd seen a strange

nigger dressed so and so, and he says:


"Whereabouts?" says I.

"Down to Silas Phelps' place, two mile below

here. He's a runaway nigger, and they've got him.

Was you looking for him?"

"You bet I ain't! I run across him in the woods

about an hour or two ago, and he said if I hollered

he'd cut my livers out -- and told me to lay down and

stay where I was; and I done it. Been there ever

since; afeard to come out."

"Well," he says, "you needn't be afeard no more,

becuz they've got him. He run off f'm down South,


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

"Well, I RECKON! There's two hunderd dollars re-

ward on him. It's like picking up money out'n the


"Yes, it is -- and I could a had it if I'd been big

enough; I see him FIRST. Who nailed him?"

"It was an old fellow -- a stranger -- and he sold

out his chance in him for forty dollars, becuz he's got

to go up the river and can't wait. Think o' that,

now! You bet I'D wait, if it was seven year."

"That's me, every time," says I. "But maybe his

chance ain't worth no more than that, if he'll sell it so

cheap. Maybe there's something ain't straight about


"But it IS, though -- straight as a string. I see the

handbill myself. It tells all about him, to a dot --

paints him like a picture, and tells the plantation he's

frum, below NewrLEANS. No-sirree-BOB, they ain't no

trouble 'bout THAT speculation, you bet you. Say,

gimme a chaw tobacker, won't ye?"

I didn't have none, so he left. I went to the raft,

and set down in the wigwam to think. But I couldn't

come to nothing. I thought till I wore my head sore,

but I couldn't see no way out of the trouble. After

all this long journey, and after all we'd done for them

scoundrels, here it was all come to nothing, everything

all busted up and ruined, because they could have the

heart to serve Jim such a trick as that, and make him

a slave again all his life, and amongst strangers, too,

for forty dirty dollars.

Once I said to myself it would be a thousand times

better for Jim to be a slave at home where his family

was, as long as he'd GOT to be a slave, and so I'd better

write a letter to Tom Sawyer and tell him to tell Miss

Watson where he was. But I soon give up that notion

for two things: she'd be mad and disgusted at his

rascality and ungratefulness for leaving her, and so

she'd sell him straight down the river again; and if

she didn't, everybody naturally despises an ungrateful

nigger, and they'd make Jim feel it all the time, and so

he'd feel ornery and disgraced. And then think of

ME! It would get all around that Huck Finn helped a

nigger to get his freedom; and if I was ever to see

anybody from that town again I'd be ready to get

down and lick his boots for shame. That's just the

way: a person does a low-down thing, and then he

don't want to take no consequences of it. Thinks as

long as he can hide, it ain't no disgrace. That was

my fix exactly. The more I studied about this the

more my conscience went to grinding me, and the

more wicked and low-down and ornery I got to feel-

ing. And at last, when it hit me all of a sudden that

here was the plain hand of Providence slapping me in

the face and letting me know my wickedness was being

watched all the time from up there in heaven,whilst I

was stealing a poor old woman's nigger that hadn't

ever done me no harm, and now was showing me

there's One that's always on the lookout, and ain't a-

going to allow no such miserable doings to go only

just so fur and no further, I most dropped in my

tracks I was so scared. Well, I tried the best I could

to kinder soften it up somehow for myself by saying I

was brung up wicked, and so I warn't so much to

blame; but something inside of me kept saying,

"There was the Sunday-school, you could a gone to

it; and if you'd a done it they'd a learnt you there

that people that acts as I'd been acting about that

nigger goes to everlasting fire."

It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind

to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind

of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down.

But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they?

It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor

from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they

wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right;

it was because I warn't square; it was because I was

playing double. I was letting ON to give up sin, but

away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one

of all. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would

do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write

to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep

down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it.

You can't pray a lie -- I found that out.

So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and

didn't know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I

says, I'll go and write the letter -- and then see if I can

pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light

as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all

gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all

glad and excited, and set down and wrote:

Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down

here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps

has got him and he will give him up for the

reward if you send.


I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first

time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I

could pray now. But I didn't do it straight off, but

laid the paper down and set there thinking -- thinking

how good it was all this happened so, and how near I

come to being lost and going to hell. And went on

thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the

river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the

day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, some-

times storms, and we a-floating along, talking and

singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem

to strike no places to harden me against him, but only

the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top

of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleep-

ing; and see him how glad he was when I come back

out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the

swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like

times; and would always call me honey, and pet me

and do everything he could think of for me, and how

good he always was; and at last I struck the time I

saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard,

and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend

old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he's

got now; and then I happened to look around and see

that paper.

It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in

my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to de-

cide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I

studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then

says to myself:

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

It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was

said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no

more about reforming. I shoved the whole thing out

of my head, and said I would take up wickedness

again, which was in my line, being brung up to it, and

the other warn't. And for a starter I would go to

work and steal Jim out of slavery again; and if I could

think up anything worse, I would do that, too; be-

cause as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as

well go the whole hog.

Then I set to thinking over how to get at it, and

turned over some considerable many ways in my mind;

and at last fixed up a plan that suited me. So then I

took the bearings of a woody island that was down

the river a piece, and as soon as it was fairly dark I

crept out with my raft and went for it, and hid it

there, and then turned in. I slept the night through,

and got up before it was light, and had my breakfast,

and put on my store clothes, and tied up some others

and one thing or another in a bundle, and took the

canoe and cleared for shore. I landed below where I

judged was Phelps's place, and hid my bundle in the

woods, and then filled up the canoe with water, and

loaded rocks into her and sunk her where I could find

her again when I wanted her, about a quarter of a

mile below a little steam sawmill that was on the bank.

Then I struck up the road, and when I passed the

mill I see a sign on it, "Phelps's Sawmill," and when

I come to the farm-houses, two or three hundred yards

further along, I kept my eyes peeled, but didn't see

nobody around, though it was good daylight now.

But I didn't mind, because I didn't want to see nobody

just yet -- I only wanted to get the lay of the land.

According to my plan, I was going to turn up there

from the village, not from below. So I just took a

look, and shoved along, straight for town. Well, the

very first man I see when I got there was the duke.

He was sticking up a bill for the Royal Nonesuch --

three-night performance -- like that other time. They

had the cheek, them frauds! I was right on him be-

fore I could shirk. He looked astonished, and says:

"Hel-LO! Where'd YOU come from?" Then he

says, kind of glad and eager, "Where's the raft? --

got her in a good place?"

I says:

"Why, that's just what I was going to ask your


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 dog-

gery yesterday I says to myself, we can't get him

home for hours, till he's soberer; so I went a-loafing

around town to put in the time and wait. A man up

and offered me ten cents to help him pull a skiff over

the river and back to fetch a sheep, and so I went

along; but when we was dragging him to the boat, and

the man left me a-holt of the rope and went behind

him to shove him along, he was too strong for me and

jerked loose and run, and we after him. We didn't

have no dog, and so we had to chase him all over the

country till we tired him out. We never got him till

dark; then we fetched him over, and I started down

for the raft. When I got there and see it was gone, I

says to myself, 'They've got into trouble and had to

leave; and they've took my nigger, which is the only

nigger I've got in the world, and now I'm in a strange

country, and ain't got no property no more, nor noth-

ing, and no way to make my living;' so I set down

and cried. I slept in the woods all night. But what

DID become of the raft, then? -- and Jim -- poor Jim!"

"Blamed if I know -- that is, what's become of the

raft. That old fool had made a trade and got forty

dollars, and when we found him in the doggery the

loafers had matched half-dollars with him and got

every cent but what he'd spent for whisky; and when

I got him home late last night and found the raft gone,

we said, 'That little rascal has stole our raft and shook

us, and run off down the river.'"

"I wouldn't shake my NIGGER, would I? -- the only

nigger I had in the world, and the only property."

"We never thought of that. Fact is, I reckon we'd

come to consider him OUR nigger; yes, we did consider

him so -- goodness knows we had trouble enough for

him. So when we see the raft was gone and we flat

broke, there warn't anything for it but to try the

Royal Nonesuch another shake. And I've pegged

along ever since, dry as a powder-horn. Where's that

ten cents? Give it here."

I had considerable money, so I give him ten cents,

but begged him to spend it for something to eat, and

give me some, because it was all the money I had, and

I hadn't had nothing to eat since yesterday. He never

said nothing. The next minute he whirls on me and


"Do you reckon that nigger would blow on us?

We'd skin him if he done that!"

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

"No! That old fool sold him, and never divided

with me, and the money's gone."

"SOLD him?" I says, and begun to cry; "why, he

was MY nigger, and that was my money. Where is

he? -- I want my nigger."

"Well, you can't GET your nigger, that's all -- so

dry up your blubbering. Looky here -- do you think

YOU'D venture to blow on us? Blamed if I think I'd

trust you. Why, if you WAS to blow on us --"

He stopped, but I never see the duke look so ugly out

of his eyes before. I went on a-whimpering, and says:

"I don't want to blow on nobody; and I ain't got

no time to blow, nohow. I got to turn out and find

my nigger."

He looked kinder bothered, and stood there with his

bills fluttering on his arm, thinking, and wrinkling up

his forehead. At last he says:

"I'll tell you something. We got to be here three

days. If you'll promise you won't blow, and won't

let the nigger blow, I'll tell you where to find him."

So I promised, and he says:

"A farmer by the name of Silas Ph----" and then

he stopped. You see, he started to tell me the truth;

but when he stopped that way, and begun to study and

think again, I reckoned he was changing his mind.

And so he was. He wouldn't trust me; he wanted to

make sure of having me out of the way the whole

three days. So pretty soon he says:

"The man that bought him is named Abram Foster

-- Abram G. Foster -- and he lives forty mile back

here in the country, on the road to Lafayette."

"All right," I says, "I can walk it in three days.

And I'll start this very afternoon."

"No you wont, you'll start NOW; and don't you

lose any time about it, neither, nor do any gabbling by

the way. Just keep a tight tongue in your head and

move right along, and then you won't get into trouble

with US, d'ye hear?"

That was the order I wanted, and that was the one I

played for. I wanted to be left free to work my plans.

"So clear out," he says; "and you can tell Mr.

Foster whatever you want to. Maybe you can get

him to believe that Jim IS your nigger -- some idiots

don't require documents -- leastways I've heard there's

such down South here. And when you tell him the

handbill and the reward's bogus, maybe he'll believe

you when you explain to him what the idea was for

getting 'em out. Go 'long now, and tell him anything

you want to; but mind you don't work your jaw any

BETWEEN here and there."

So I left, and struck for the back country. I didn't

look around, but I kinder felt like he was watching me.

But I knowed I could tire him out at that. I went

straight out in the country as much as a mile before I

stopped; then I doubled back through the woods

towards Phelps'. I reckoned I better start in on my

plan straight off without fooling around, because I

wanted to stop Jim's mouth till these fellows could get

away. I didn't want no trouble with their kind. I'd

seen all I wanted to of them, and wanted to get entirely

shut of them.



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 lone-

some and like everybody's dead and gone; and if a

breeze fans along and quivers the leaves it makes you

feel mournful, because you feel like it's spirits whisper-

ing -- spirits that's been dead ever so many years --

and you always think they're talking about YOU. As a

general thing it makes a body wish HE was dead, too,

and done with it all.

Phelps' was one of these little one-horse cotton plan-

tations, and they all look alike. A rail fence round a

two-acre yard; a stile made out of logs sawed off and

up-ended in steps, like barrels of a different length, to

climb over the fence with, and for the women to stand

on when they are going to jump on to a horse; some

sickly grass-patches in the big yard, but mostly it was

bare and smooth, like an old hat with the nap rubbed

off; big double log-house for the white folks -- hewed

logs, with the chinks stopped up with mud or mortar,

and these mud-stripes been whitewashed some time or

another; round-log kitchen, with a big broad, open

but roofed passage joining it to the house; log smoke-

house back of the kitchen; three little log nigger-cabins

in a row t'other side the smoke-house; one little hut

all by itself away down against the back fence, and

some outbuildings down a piece the other side; ash-

hopper and big kettle to bile soap in by the little hut;

bench by the kitchen door, with bucket of water and a

gourd; hound asleep there in the sun; more hounds

asleep round about; about three shade trees away off

in a corner; some currant bushes and gooseberry

bushes in one place by the fence; outside of the fence

a garden and a watermelon patch; then the cotton

fields begins, and after the fields the woods.

I went around and clumb over the back stile by the

ash-hopper, and started for the kitchen. When I got

a little ways I heard the dim hum of a spinning-wheel

wailing along up and sinking along down again; and

then I knowed for certain I wished I was dead -- for

that IS the lonesomest sound in the whole world.

I went right along, not fixing up any particular plan,

but just trusting to Providence to put the right words

in my mouth when the time come; for I'd noticed that

Providence always did put the right words in my mouth

if I left it alone.

When I got half-way, first one hound and then

another got up and went for me, and of course I

stopped and faced them, and kept still. And such

another powwow as they made! In a quarter of a

minute I was a kind of a hub of a wheel, as you may

say -- spokes made out of dogs -- circle of fifteen

of them packed together around me, with their necks

and noses stretched up towards me, a-barking and

howling; and more a-coming; you could see them sail-

ing over fences and around corners from everywheres.

A nigger woman come tearing out of the kitchen with

a rolling-pin in her hand, singing out, "Begone YOU

Tige! you Spot! begone sah!" and she fetched first

one and then another of them a clip and sent them

howling, and then the rest followed; and the next

second half of them come back, wagging their tails

around me, and making friends with me. There ain't

no harm in a hound, nohow.

And behind the woman comes a little nigger girl and

two little nigger boys without anything on but tow-linen

shirts, and they hung on to their mother's gown, and

peeped out from behind her at me, bashful, the way

they always do. And here comes the white woman

running from the house, about forty-five or fifty year

old, bareheaded, and her spinning-stick in her hand;

and behind her comes her little white children, acting

the same way the little niggers was going. She was

smiling all over so she could hardly stand -- and says:

"It's YOU, at last! -- AIN'T it?"

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

She grabbed me and hugged me tight; and then

gripped me by both hands and shook and shook; and

the tears come in her eyes, and run down over; and

she couldn't seem to hug and shake enough, and kept

saying, "You don't look as much like your mother as

I reckoned you would; but law sakes, I don't care for

that, I'm so glad to see you! Dear, dear, it does seem

like I could eat you up! Children, it's your cousin

Tom! -- tell him howdy."

But they ducked their heads, and put their fingers in

their mouths, and hid behind her. So she run on:

"Lize, hurry up and get him a hot breakfast right

away -- or did you get your breakfast on the boat?"

I said I had got it on the boat. So then she started

for the house, leading me by the hand, and the children

tagging after. When we got there she set me down in

a split-bottomed chair, and set herself down on a little

low stool in front of me, holding both of my hands,

and says:

"Now I can have a GOOD look at you; and, laws-a-

me, I've been hungry for it a many and a many a time,

all these long years, and it's come at last! We been

expecting you a couple of days and more. What kep'

you? -- boat get aground?"

"Yes'm -- she --"

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

get aground?"

I didn't rightly know what to say, because I didn't

know whether the boat would be coming up the river

or down. But I go a good deal on instinct; and my

instinct said she would be coming up -- from down

towards Orleans. That didn't help me much, though;

for I didn't know the names of bars down that way. I

see I'd got to invent a bar, or forget the name of the

one we got aground on -- or -- Now I struck an idea,

and fetched it out:

"It warn't the grounding -- that didn't keep us back

but a little. We blowed out a cylinder-head."

"Good gracious! anybody hurt?"

"No'm. Killed a nigger."

"Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get

hurt. Two years ago last Christmas your uncle Silas

was coming up from Newrleans on the old Lally Rook,

and she blowed out a cylinder-head and crippled a man.

And I think he died afterwards. He was a Baptist.

Your uncle Silas knowed a family in Baton Rouge

that knowed his people very well. Yes, I remember

now, he DID die. Mortification set in, and they had to

amputate him. But it didn't save him. Yes, it was

mortification -- that was it. He turned blue all over,

and died in the hope of a glorious resurrection. They

say he was a sight to look at. Your uncle's been up

to the town every day to fetch you. And he's gone

again, not more'n an hour ago; he'll be back any

minute now. You must a met him on the road, didn't

you? -- oldish man, with a --"

"No, I didn't see nobody, Aunt Sally. The boat

landed just at daylight, and I left my baggage on the

wharf-boat and went looking around the town and out

a piece in the country, to put in the time and not get

here too soon; and so I come down the back way."

"Who'd you give the baggage to?"


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

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

"How'd you get your breakfast so early on the


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


"But here we're a-running on this way, and you

hain't told me a word about Sis, nor any of them.

Now I'll rest my works a little, and you start up yourn;

just tell me EVERYTHING -- tell me all about 'm all

every one of 'm; and how they are, and what they're

doing, and what they told you to tell me; and every

last thing you can think of."

Well, I see I was up a stump -- and up it good.

Providence had stood by me this fur all right, but I

was hard and tight aground now. I see it warn't a bit

of use to try to go ahead -- I'd got to throw up my

hand. So I says to myself, here's another place where

I got to resk the truth. I opened my mouth to begin;

but she grabbed me and hustled me in behind the bed,

and says:

"Here he comes! Stick your head down lower --

there, that'll do; you can't be seen now. Don't you

let on you're here. I'll play a joke on him. Children,

don't you say a word."

I see I was in a fix now. But it warn't no use to

worry; there warn't nothing to do but just hold still,

and try and be ready to stand from under when the

lightning struck.

I had just one little glimpse of the old gentleman

when he come in; then the bed hid him. Mrs. Phelps

she jumps for him, and says:

"Has he come?"

"No," says her husband.

"Good-NESS gracious!" she says, "what in the

warld can have become of him?"

"I can't imagine," says the old gentleman; "and

I must say it makes me dreadful uneasy."

"Uneasy!" she says; "I'm ready to go distracted!

He MUST a come; and you've missed him along the

road. I KNOW it's so -- something tells me so."

"Why, Sally, I COULDN'T miss him along the road --

YOU know that."

"But oh, dear, dear, what WILL Sis say! He must a

come! You must a missed him. He --"

"Oh, don't distress me any more'n I'm already dis-

tressed. I don't know what in the world to make of it.

I'm at my wit's end, and I don't mind acknowledging

't I'm right down scared. But there's no hope that

he's come; for he COULDN'T come and me miss him.

Sally, it's terrible -- just terrible -- something's hap-

pened 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-smil-

ing like a house afire, and I standing pretty meek and

sweaty alongside. The old gentleman stared, and


"Why, who's that?"

"Who do you reckon 't is?"

"I hain't no idea. Who IS it?"


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 shak-

ing; 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


But if they was joyful, it warn't nothing to what I

was; for it was like being born again, I was so glad to

find out who I was. Well, they froze to me for two

hours; and at last, when my chin was so tired it

couldn't hardly go any more, I had told them more

about my family -- I mean the Sawyer family -- than

ever happened to any six Sawyer families. And I ex-

plained all about how we blowed out a cylinder-head at

the mouth of White River, and it took us three days to

fix it. Which was all right, and worked first-rate; be-

cause THEY didn't know but what it would take three

days to fix it. If I'd a called it a bolthead it would a

done just as well.

Now I was feeling pretty comfortable all down one

side, and pretty uncomfortable all up the other. Be-

ing Tom Sawyer was easy and comfortable, and it

stayed easy and comfortable till by and by I hear a

steamboat coughing along down the river. Then I

says to myself, s'pose Tom Sawyer comes down on that

boat? And s'pose he steps in here any minute, and

sings out my name before I can throw him a wink to

keep quiet?

Well, I couldn't HAVE it that way; it wouldn't do at

all. I must go up the road and waylay him. So I

told the folks I reckoned I would go up to the town

and fetch down my baggage. The old gentleman was

for going along with me, but I said no, I could drive

the horse myself, and I druther he wouldn't take no

trouble about me.



SO I started for town in the wagon, and when I was

half-way I see a wagon coming, and sure enough it

was Tom Sawyer, and I stopped and waited till he come

along. I says "Hold on!" and it stopped alongside,

and his mouth opened up like a trunk, and stayed so;

and he swallowed two or three times like a person that's

got a dry throat, and then says:

"I hain't ever done you no harm. You know that.

So, then, what you want to come back and ha'nt ME


I says:

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

When he heard my voice it righted him up some, but

he warn't quite satisfied yet. He says:

"Don't you play nothing on me, because I wouldn't

on you. Honest injun, you ain't a ghost?"

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

"Well -- I -- I -- well, that ought to settle it, of

course; but I can't somehow seem to understand it no

way. Looky here, warn't you ever murdered AT ALL?"

"No. I warn't ever murdered at all -- I played it

on them. You come in here and feel of me if you

don't believe me."

So he done it; and it satisfied him; and he was that

glad to see me again he didn't know what to do. And

he wanted to know all about it right off, because it was

a grand adventure, and mysterious, and so it hit him

where he lived. But I said, leave it alone till by and

by; and told his driver to wait, and we drove off a little

piece, and I told him the kind of a fix I was in, and what

did he reckon we better do? He said, let him alone a

minute, and don't disturb him. So he thought and

thought, and pretty soon he says:

"It's all right; I've got it. Take my trunk in your

wagon, and let on it's your'n; and you turn back and

fool along slow, so as to get to the house about the

time you ought to; and I'll go towards town a piece,

and take a fresh start, and get there a quarter or a half

an hour after you; and you needn't let on to know

me at first."

I says:

"All right; but wait a minute. There's one more

thing -- a thing that NOBODY don't know but me. And

that is, there's a nigger here that I'm a-trying to steal

out of slavery, and his name is JIM -- old Miss Wat-

son's Jim."

He says:

" What ! Why, Jim is --"

He stopped and went to studying. I says:

"I know what you'll say. You'll say it's dirty, low-

down business; but what if it is? I'm low down; and

I'm a-going to steal him, and I want you keep mum

and not let on. Will you?"

His eye lit up, and he says:

"I'll HELP you steal him!"

Well, I let go all holts then, like I was shot. It

was the most astonishing speech I ever heard -- and

I'm bound to say Tom Sawyer fell considerable in my

estimation. Only I couldn't believe it. Tom Sawyer a


"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 for-

get to remember that YOU don't know nothing about

him, and I don't know nothing about him."

Then we took the trunk and put it in my wagon, and

he drove off his way and I drove mine. But of course

I forgot all about driving slow on accounts of being glad

and full of thinking; so I got home a heap too quick

for that length of a trip. The old gentleman was at

the door, and he says:

"Why, this is wonderful! Whoever would a

thought it was in that mare to do it? I wish we'd

a timed her. And she hain't sweated a hair -- not a

hair. It's wonderful. Why, I wouldn't take a hundred

dollars for that horse now -- I wouldn't, honest; and

yet I'd a sold her for fifteen before, and thought 'twas

all she was worth."

That's all he said. He was the innocentest, best old

soul I ever see. But it warn't surprising; because he

warn't only just a farmer, he was a preacher, too, and

had a little one-horse log church down back of the

plantation, which he built it himself at his own expense,

for a church and schoolhouse, and never charged noth-

ing 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 win-

dow, because it was only about fifty yards, and says:

"Why, there's somebody come! I wonder who

'tis? Why, I do believe it's a stranger. Jimmy "

(that's one of the children)' "run and tell Lize to put

on another plate for dinner."

Everybody made a rush for the front door, because,

of course, a stranger don't come EVERY year, and so he

lays over the yaller-fever, for interest, when he does

come. Tom was over the stile and starting for the

house; the wagon was spinning up the road for the

village, and we was all bunched in the front door. Tom

had his store clothes on, and an audience -- and that

was always nuts for Tom Sawyer. In them circum-

stances it warn't no trouble to him to throw in an

amount of style that was suitable. He warn't a boy to

meeky along up that yard like a sheep; no, he come

ca'm and important, like the ram. When he got a-front

of us he lifts his hat ever so gracious and dainty, like it

was the lid of a box that had butterflies asleep in it and

he didn't want to disturb them, and says:

"Mr. Archibald Nichols, I presume?"

"No, my boy," says the old gentleman, "I'm sorry

to say 't your driver has deceived you; Nichols's place

is down a matter of three mile more. Come in, come


Tom he took a look back over his shoulder, and says,

"Too late -- he's out of sight."

"Yes, he's gone, my son, and you must come in

and eat your dinner with us; and then we'll hitch up

and take you down to Nichols's."

"Oh, I CAN'T make you so much trouble; I couldn't

think of it. I'll walk -- I don't mind the distance."

"But we won't LET you walk -- it wouldn't be South-

ern hospitality to do it. Come right in."

"Oh, DO," says Aunt Sally; "it ain't a bit of

trouble to us, not a bit in the world. You must stay.

It's a long, dusty three mile, and we can't let you walk.

And, besides, I've already told 'em to put on another

plate when I see you coming; so you mustn't disap-

point us. Come right in and make yourself at home."

So Tom he thanked them very hearty and handsome,

and let himself be persuaded, and come in; and when

he was in he said he was a stranger from Hicksville,

Ohio, and his name was William Thompson -- and he

made another bow.

Well, he run on, and on, and on, making up stuff

about Hicksville and everybody in it he could invent,

and I getting a little nervious, and wondering how this

was going to help me out of my scrape; and at last,

still talking along, he reached over and kissed Aunt

Sally right on the mouth, and then settled back again

in his chair comfortable, and was going on talking; but

she jumped up and wiped it off with the back of her

hand, and says:

"You owdacious puppy!"

He looked kind of hurt, and says:

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

"You're s'rp -- Why, what do you reckon I am?

I've a good notion to take and -- Say, what do you

mean by kissing me?"

He looked kind of humble, and says:

"I didn't mean nothing, m'am. I didn't mean no

harm. I -- I -- thought you'd like it."

"Why, you born fool!" She took up the spinning

stick, and it looked like it was all she could do to keep

from giving him a crack with it. "What made you

think I'd like it?"

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

me you would."

"THEY told you I would. Whoever told you's

ANOTHER lunatic. I never heard the beat of it. Who's


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

It was all she could do to hold in; and her eyes

snapped, and her fingers worked like she wanted to

scratch him; and she says:

"Who's 'everybody'? Out with their names, or

ther'll be an idiot short."

He got up and looked distressed, and fumbled his

hat, and says:

"I'm sorry, and I warn't expecting it. They told

me to. They all told me to. They all said, kiss her;

and said she'd like it. They all said it -- every one of

them. But I'm sorry, m'am, and I won't do it no

more -- I won't, honest."

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


"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-num-

skull of creation before ever I ask you -- or the likes of


"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


"Tom, didn't YOU think Aunt Sally 'd open out her

arms and say, 'Sid Sawyer --'"

"My land!" she says, breaking in and jumping for

him, "you impudent young rascal, to fool a body

so --" and was going to hug him, but he fended her

off, and says:

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

So she didn't lose no time, but asked him; and

hugged him and kissed him over and over again, and

then turned him over to the old man, and he took what

was left. And after they got a little quiet again she says:

"Why, dear me, I never see such a surprise. We

warn't looking for YOU at all, but only Tom. Sis never

wrote to me about anybody coming but him."

"It's because it warn't INTENDED for any of us to

come but Tom," he says; "but I begged and begged,

and at the last minute she let me come, too; so, com-

ing down the river, me and Tom thought it would be

a first-rate surprise for him to come here to the house

first, and for me to by and by tag along and drop in,

and let on to be a stranger. But it was a mistake,

Aunt Sally. This ain't no healthy place for a stranger

to come."

"No -- not impudent whelps, Sid. You ought to

had your jaws boxed; I hain't been so put out since I

don't know when. But I don't care, I don't mind

the terms -- I'd be willing to stand a thousand such

jokes to have you here. Well, to think of that per-

formance! 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 be-

twixt the house and the kitchen; and there was things

enough on that table for seven families -- and all hot,

too; none of your flabby, tough meat that's laid in a

cupboard in a damp cellar all night and tastes like a

hunk of old cold cannibal in the morning. Uncle

Silas he asked a pretty long blessing over it, but it was

worth it; and it didn't cool it a bit, neither, the way

I've seen them kind of interruptions do lots of times.

There was a considerable good deal of talk all the

afternoon, and me and Tom was on the lookout all the

time; but it warn't no use, they didn't happen to say

nothing about any runaway nigger, and we was afraid

to try to work up to it. But at supper, at night, one

of the little boys says:

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

"No," says the old man, "I reckon there ain't go-

ing to be any; and you couldn't go if there was; be-

cause 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 loaf-

ers out of town before this time."

So there it was! -- but I couldn't help it. Tom and

me was to sleep in the same room and bed; so, being

tired, we bid good-night and went up to bed right after

supper, and clumb out of the window and down the

lightning-rod, and shoved for the town; for I didn't

believe anybody was going to give the king and the

duke a hint, and so if I didn't hurry up and give them

one they'd get into trouble sure.

On the road Tom he told me all about how it was

reckoned I was murdered, and how pap disappeared

pretty soon, and didn't come back no more, and what

a stir there was when Jim run away; and I told Tom

all about our Royal Nonesuch rapscallions, and as

much of the raft voyage as I had time to; and as we

struck into the town and up through the -- here comes a

raging rush of people with torches, and an awful

whooping and yelling, and banging tin pans and blow-

ing horns; and we jumped to one side to let them go

by; and as they went by I see they had the king and

the duke astraddle of a rail -- that is, I knowed it WAS

the king and the duke, though they was all over tar and

feathers, and didn't look like nothing in the world that

was human -- just looked like a couple of monstrous

big soldier-plumes. Well, it made me sick to see it;

and I was sorry for them poor pitiful rascals, it seemed

like I couldn't ever feel any hardness against them any

more in the world. It was a dreadful thing to see.

Human beings CAN be awful cruel to one another.

We see we was too late -- couldn't do no good. We

asked some stragglers about it, and they said everybody

went to the show looking very innocent; and laid

low and kept dark till the poor old king was in the

middle of his cavortings on the stage; then somebody

give a signal, and the house rose up and went for


So we poked along back home, and I warn't feeling

so brash as I was before, but kind of ornery, and

humble, and to blame, somehow -- though I hadn't

done nothing. But that's always the way; it don't

make no difference whether you do right or wrong, a

person's conscience ain't got no sense, and just goes for

him anyway. If I had a yaller dog that didn't know

no more than a person's conscience does I would pison

him. It takes up more room than all the rest of a

person's insides, and yet ain't no good, nohow. Tom

Sawyer he says the same.



WE stopped talking, and got to thinking. By and by

Tom says:

"Looky here, Huck, what fools we are to not think

of it before! I bet I know where Jim is."

"No! Where?"

"In that hut down by the ash-hopper. Why, looky

here. When we was at dinner, didn't you see a nigger

man go in there with some vittles?"


"What did you think the vittles was for?"

"For a dog."

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


"Because part of it was watermelon."

"So it was -- I noticed it. Well, it does beat all

that I never thought about a dog not eating water-

melon. It shows how a body can see and don't see at

the same time."

"Well, the nigger unlocked the padlock when he

went in, and he locked it again when he came out. He

fetched uncle a key about the time we got up from

table -- same key, I bet. Watermelon shows man,

lock shows prisoner; and it ain't likely there's two

prisoners on such a little plantation, and where the

people's all so kind and good. Jim's the prisoner.

All right -- I'm glad we found it out detective fashion;

I wouldn't give shucks for any other way. Now you

work your mind, and study out a plan to steal Jim, and

I will study out one, too; and we'll take the one we

like the best."

What a head for just a boy to have! If I had Tom

Sawyer's head I wouldn't trade it off to be a duke, nor

mate of a steamboat, nor clown in a circus, nor nothing

I can think of. I went to thinking out a plan, but only

just to be doing something; I knowed very well where

the right plan was going to come from. Pretty soon

Tom says:


"Yes," I says.

"All right -- bring it out."

"My plan is this," I says. "We can easy find out

if it's Jim in there. Then get up my canoe to-morrow

night, and fetch my raft over from the island. Then

the first dark night that comes steal the key out of the

old man's britches after he goes to bed, and shove off

down the river on the raft with Jim, hiding daytimes

and running nights, the way me and Jim used to do be-

fore. 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 break-

ing into a soap factory."

I never said nothing, because I warn't expecting noth-

ing 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 bull-

inesses wherever he got a chance. And that is what

he done.

Well, one thing was dead sure, and that was that Tom

Sawyer was in earnest, and was actuly going to help

steal that nigger out of slavery. That was the thing

that was too many for me. Here was a boy that was

respectable and well brung up; and had a character to

lose; and folks at home that had characters; and he

was bright and not leather-headed; and knowing and

not ignorant; and not mean, but kind; and yet here

he was, without any more pride, or rightness, or feel-

ing, than to stoop to this business, and make himself a

shame, and his family a shame, before everybody. I

COULDN'T understand it no way at all. It was outra-

geous, and I knowed I ought to just up and tell him so;

and so be his true friend, and let him quit the thing

right where he was and save himself. And I DID start

to tell him; but he shut me up, and says:

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

I generly know what I'm about?"


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


"WELL, then."

That's all he said, and that's all I said. It warn't no

use to say any more; because when he said he'd do a

thing, he always done it. But I couldn't make out

how he was willing to go into this thing; so I just let it

go, and never bothered no more about it. If he was

bound to have it so, I couldn't help it.

When we got home the house was all dark and still;

so we went on down to the hut by the ash-hopper for

to examine it. We went through the yard so as to see

what the hounds would do. They knowed us, and

didn't make no more noise than country dogs is always

doing when anything comes by in the night. When

we got to the cabin we took a look at the front and the

two sides; and on the side I warn't acquainted with --

which was the north side -- we found a square window-

hole, up tolerable high, with just one stout board nailed

across it. I says:

"Here's the ticket. This hole's big enough for Jim

to get through if we wrench off the board."

Tom says:

"It's as simple as tit-tat-toe, three-in-a-row, and as

easy as playing hooky. I should HOPE we can find a

way that's a little more complicated than THAT, Huck


"Well, then," I says, "how 'll it do to saw him out,

the way I done before I was murdered that time?"

"That's more LIKE," he says. "It's real mysterious,

and troublesome, and good," he says; "but I bet we

can find a way that's twice as long. There ain't no

hurry; le's keep on looking around."

Betwixt the hut and the fence, on the back side, was

a lean-to that joined the hut at the eaves, and was made

out of plank. It was as long as the hut, but narrow

-- only about six foot wide. The door to it was at the

south end, and was padlocked. Tom he went to the

soap-kettle and searched around, and fetched back the

iron thing they lift the lid with; so he took it and

prized out one of the staples. The chain fell down,

and we opened the door and went in, and shut it, and

struck a match, and see the shed was only built against

a cabin and hadn't no connection with it; and there

warn't no floor to the shed, nor nothing in it but some

old rusty played-out hoes and spades and picks and

a crippled plow. The match went out, and so did we,

and shoved in the staple again, and the door was locked

as good as ever. Tom was joyful. He says;

"Now we're all right. We'll DIG him out. It 'll

take about a week!"

Then we started for the house, and I went in the

back door -- you only have to pull a buckskin latch-

string, they don't fasten the doors -- but that warn't

romantical enough for Tom Sawyer; no way would do

him but he must climb up the lightning-rod. But after

he got up half way about three times, and missed fire

and fell every time, and the last time most busted his

brains out, he thought he'd got to give it up; but after

he was rested he allowed he would give her one more

turn for luck, and this time he made the trip.

In the morning we was up at break of day, and down

to the nigger cabins to pet the dogs and make friends

with the nigger that fed Jim -- if it WAS Jim that was

being fed. The niggers was just getting through break-

fast and starting for the fields; and Jim's nigger was

piling up a tin pan with bread and meat and things;

and whilst the others was leaving, the key come from

the house.

This nigger had a good-natured, chuckle-headed face,

and his wool was all tied up in little bunches with

thread. That was to keep witches off. He said the

witches was pestering him awful these nights, and mak-

ing him see all kinds of strange things, and hear all kinds

of strange words and noises, and he didn't believe he

was ever witched so long before in his life. He got

so worked up, and got to running on so about his

troubles, he forgot all about what he'd been a-going to

do. So Tom says:

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

The nigger kind of smiled around graduly over his

face, like when you heave a brickbat in a mud-puddle,

and he says:

"Yes, Mars Sid, A dog. Cur'us dog, too. Does

you want to go en look at 'im?"


I hunched Tom, and whispers:

"You going, right here in the daybreak? THAT

warn't the plan."

"No, it warn't; but it's the plan NOW."

So, drat him, we went along, but I didn't like it

much. When we got in we couldn't hardly see any-

thing, it was so dark; but Jim was there, sure enough,

and could see us; and he sings out:

"Why, HUCK! En good LAN'! ain' dat Misto Tom?"

I just knowed how it would be; I just expected it.

I didn't know nothing to do; and if I had I couldn't

a done it, because that nigger busted in and says:

"Why, de gracious sakes! do he know you genl-


We could see pretty well now. Tom he looked at

the nigger, steady and kind of wondering, and says:

"Does WHO know us?"

"Why, dis-yer runaway nigger."

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

your head?"

"What PUT it dar? Didn' he jis' dis minute sing

out like he knowed you?"

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

"Well, that's mighty curious. WHO sung out?

WHEN did he sing out? WHAT did he sing out?"

And turns to me, perfectly ca'm, and says, "Did

YOU hear anybody sing out?"

Of course there warn't nothing to be said but the one

thing; so I says:

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

Then he turns to Jim, and looks him over like he

never see him before, and says:

"Did you sing out?"

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

"Not a word?"

"No, sah, I hain't said a word."

"Did you ever see us before?"

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

So Tom turns to the nigger, which was looking wild

and distressed, and says, kind of severe:

"What do you reckon's the matter with you, any-

way? 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 good-

ness he was heah now -- DEN what would he say! I

jis' bet he couldn' fine no way to git aroun' it DIS time.

But it's awluz jis' so; people dat's SOT, stays sot; dey

won't look into noth'n'en fine it out f'r deyselves, en

when YOU fine it out en tell um 'bout it, dey doan'

b'lieve you."

Tom give him a dime, and said we wouldn't tell no-

body; and told him to buy some more thread to tie up

his wool with; and then looks at Jim, and says:

"I wonder if Uncle Silas is going to hang this nigger.

If I was to catch a nigger that was ungrateful enough

to run away, I wouldn't give him up, I'd hang him."

And whilst the nigger stepped to the door to look at

the dime and bite it to see if it was good, he whispers

to Jim and says:

"Don't ever let on to know us. And if you hear

any digging going on nights, it's us; we're going to

set you free."

Jim only had time to grab us by the hand and squeeze

it; then the nigger come back, and we said we'd

come again some time if the nigger wanted us to; and

he said he would, more particular if it was dark, be-

cause the witches went for him mostly in the dark, and

it was good to have folks around then.



IT would be most an hour yet till breakfast, so we left

and struck down into the woods; because Tom said

we got to have SOME light to see how to dig by, and a

lantern makes too much, and might get us into trouble;

what we must have was a lot of them rotten chunks

that's called fox-fire, and just makes a soft kind of a

glow when you lay them in a dark place. We fetched

an armful and hid it in the weeds, and set down to rest,

and Tom says, kind of dissatisfied:

"Blame it, this whole thing is just as easy and

awkward as it can be. And so it makes it so rotten

difficult to get up a difficult plan. There ain't no watch-

man to be drugged -- now there OUGHT to be a watch-

man. There ain't even a dog to give a sleeping-mix-

ture to. And there's Jim chained by one leg, with a

ten-foot chain, to the leg of his bed: why, all you got

to do is to lift up the bedstead and slip off the chain.

And Uncle Silas he trusts everybody; sends the key

to the punkin-headed nigger, and don't send nobody to

watch the nigger. Jim could a got out of that window-

hole before this, only there wouldn't be no use trying

to travel with a ten-foot chain on his leg. Why, drat

it, Huck, it's the stupidest arrangement I ever see.

You got to invent ALL the difficulties. Well, we can't

help it; we got to do the best we can with the materials

we've got. Anyhow, there's one thing -- there's more

honor in getting him out through a lot of difficulties

and dangers, where there warn't one of them furnished

to you by the people who it was their duty to furnish

them, and you had to contrive them all out of your

own head. Now look at just that one thing of the

lantern. When you come down to the cold facts, we

simply got to LET ON that a lantern's resky. Why, we

could work with a torchlight procession if we wanted

to, I believe. Now, whilst I think of it, we got to

hunt up something to make a saw out of the first

chance we get."

"What do we want of a saw?"

"What do we WANT of a saw? Hain't we got to

saw the leg of Jim's bed off, so as to get the chain


"Why, you just said a body could lift up the bed-

stead and slip the chain off."

"Well, if that ain't just like you, Huck Finn. You

CAN get up the infant-schooliest ways of going at a

thing. Why, hain't you ever read any books at all?

-- Baron Trenck, nor Casanova, nor Benvenuto Chel-

leeny, nor Henri IV., nor none of them heroes? Who

ever heard of getting a prisoner loose in such an old-

maidy way as that? No; the way all the best authori-

ties does is to saw the bed-leg in two, and leave it just

so, and swallow the sawdust, so it can't be found, and

put some dirt and grease around the sawed place so the

very keenest seneskal can't see no sign of it's being

sawed, and thinks the bed-leg is perfectly sound. Then,

the night you're ready, fetch the leg a kick, down she

goes; slip off your chain, and there you are. Nothing

to do but hitch your rope ladder to the battlements, shin

down it, break your leg in the moat -- because a rope

ladder is nineteen foot too short, you know -- and there's

your horses and your trusty vassles, and they scoop

you up and fling you across a saddle, and away you go

to your native Langudoc, or Navarre, or wherever it is.

It's gaudy, Huck. I wish there was a moat to this

cabin. If we get time, the night of the escape,

we'll dig one."

I says:

"What do we want of a moat when we're going to

snake him out from under the cabin?"

But he never heard me. He had forgot me and

everything else. He had his chin in his hand, thinking.

Pretty soon he sighs and shakes his head; then sighs

again, and says:

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

for it."

"For what?" I says.

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

"Good land!" I says; "why, there ain't NO neces-

sity for it. And what would you want to saw his leg

off for, anyway?"

"Well, some of the best authorities has done it.

They couldn't get the chain off, so they just cut their

hand off and shoved. And a leg would be better still.

But we got to let that go. There ain't necessity

enough in this case; and, besides, Jim's a nigger, and

wouldn't understand the reasons for it, and how it's the

custom in Europe; so we'll let it go. But there's one

thing -- he can have a rope ladder; we can tear up our

sheets and make him a rope ladder easy enough. And

we can send it to him in a pie; it's mostly done that

way. And I've et worse pies."

"Why, Tom Sawyer, how you talk," I says; "Jim

ain't got no use for a rope ladder."

"He HAS got use for it. How YOU talk, you better

say; you don't know nothing about it. He's GOT to

have a rope ladder; they all do."

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

"DO with it? He can hide it in his bed, can't he?"

That's what they all do; and HE'S got to, too.

Huck, you don't ever seem to want to do anything

that's regular; you want to be starting something fresh

all the time. S'pose he DON'T do nothing with it? ain't

it there in his bed, for a clew, after he's gone? and

don't you reckon they'll want clews? Of course they

will. And you wouldn't leave them any? That would

be a PRETTY howdy-do, WOULDN'T it! I never heard of

such a thing."

"Well," I says, "if it's in the regulations, and he's

got to have it, all right, let him have it; because I

don't wish to go back on no regulations; but there's

one thing, Tom Sawyer -- if we go to tearing up our

sheets to make Jim a rope ladder, we're going to get

into trouble with Aunt Sally, just as sure as you're

born. Now, the way I look at it, a hickry-bark ladder

don't cost nothing, and don't waste nothing, and is

just as good to load up a pie with, and hide in a straw

tick, as any rag ladder you can start; and as for Jim,

he ain't had no experience, and so he don't care what

kind of a --"

"Oh, shucks, Huck Finn, if I was as ignorant as

you I'd keep still -- that's what I'D do. Who ever

heard of a state prisoner escaping by a hickry-bark

ladder? Why, it's perfectly ridiculous."

"Well, all right, Tom, fix it your own way; but if

you'll take my advice, you'll let me borrow a sheet off

of the clothesline."

He said that would do. And that gave him another

idea, and he says:

"Borrow a shirt, too."

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

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

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

"S'pose he CAN'T write -- he can make marks on

the shirt, can't he, if we make him a pen out of

an old pewter spoon or a piece of an old iron barrel-


"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 some-

thing like that they can get their hands on; and it

takes them weeks and weeks and months and months

to file it out, too, because they've got to do it by rub-

bing it on the wall. THEY wouldn't use a goose-quill if

they had it. It ain't regular."

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

"Many makes it out of iron-rust and tears; but

that's the common sort and women; the best authori-

ties uses their own blood. Jim can do that; and when

he wants to send any little common ordinary mysterious

message to let the world know where he's captivated,

he can write it on the bottom of a tin plate with a fork

and throw it out of the window. The Iron Mask

always done that, and it's a blame' good way, too."

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


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

"Can't nobody READ his plates."

"That ain't got anything to DO with it, Huck Finn.

All HE'S got to do is to write on the plate and throw

it out. You don't HAVE to be able to read it. Why,

half the time you can't read anything a prisoner writes

on a tin plate, or anywhere else."

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

"Why, blame it all, it ain't the PRISONER'S plates."

"But it's SOMEBODY'S plates, ain't it?"

"Well, spos'n it is? What does the PRISONER care

whose --"

He broke off there, because we heard the breakfast-

horn blowing. So we cleared out for the house.

Along during the morning I borrowed a sheet and a

white shirt off of the clothes-line; and I found an old

sack and put them in it, and we went down and got the

fox-fire, and put that in too. I called it borrowing,

because that was what pap always called it; but Tom

said it warn't borrowing, it was stealing. He said we

was representing prisoners; and prisoners don't care

how they get a thing so they get it, and nobody don't

blame them for it, either. It ain't no crime in a

prisoner to steal the thing he needs to get away with,

Tom said; it's his right; and so, as long as we was

representing a prisoner, we had a perfect right to steal

anything on this place we had the least use for to get

ourselves out of prison with. He said if we warn't

prisoners it would be a very different thing, and nobody

but a mean, ornery person would steal when he warn't

a prisoner. So we allowed we would steal every-

thing there was that come handy. And yet he made

a mighty fuss, one day, after that, when I stole a

watermelon out of the nigger-patch and eat it; and he

made me go and give the niggers a dime without telling

them what it was for. Tom said that what he meant

was, we could steal anything we NEEDED. Well, I says,

I needed the watermelon. But he said I didn't need it

to get out of prison with; there's where the difference

was. He said if I'd a wanted it to hide a knife in, and

smuggle it to Jim to kill the seneskal with, it would a

been all right. So I let it go at that, though I couldn't

see no advantage in my representing a prisoner if I got

to set down and chaw over a lot of gold-leaf distinctions

like that every time I see a chance to hog a watermelon.

Well, as I was saying, we waited that morning till

everybody was settled down to business, and nobody

in sight around the yard; then Tom he carried the

sack into the lean-to whilst I stood off a piece to keep

watch. By and by he come out, and we went and set

down on the woodpile to talk. He says:

"Everything's all right now except tools; and that's

easy fixed."

"Tools?" I says.


"Tools for what?"

"Why, to dig with. We ain't a-going to GNAW him

out, are we?"

"Ain't them old crippled picks and things in there

good enough to dig a nigger out with?" I says.

He turns on me, looking pitying enough to make a

body cry, and says:

"Huck Finn, did you EVER hear of a prisoner having

picks and shovels, and all the modern conveniences in

his wardrobe to dig himself out with? Now I want to

ask you -- if you got any reasonableness in you at all

-- what kind of a show would THAT give him to be a

hero? Why, they might as well lend him the key and

done with it. Picks and shovels -- why, they wouldn't

furnish 'em to a king."

"Well, then," I says, "if we don't want the picks

and shovels, what do we want?"

"A couple of case-knives."

"To dig the foundations out from under that cabin



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

"It don't make no difference how foolish it is, it's

the RIGHT way -- and it's the regular way. And there

ain't no OTHER way, that ever I heard of, and I've read

all the books that gives any information about these

things. They always dig out with a case-knife -- and

not through dirt, mind you; generly it's through solid

rock. And it takes them weeks and weeks and weeks,

and for ever and ever. Why, look at one of them

prisoners in the bottom dungeon of the Castle Deef, in

the harbor of Marseilles, that dug himself out that way;

how long was HE at it, you reckon?"

"I don't know."

"Well, guess."

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

"THIRTY-SEVEN YEAR -- and he come out in China.

THAT'S the kind. I wish the bottom of THIS fortress

was solid rock."

"JIM don't know nobody in China."

"What's THAT got to do with it? Neither did that

other fellow. But you're always a-wandering off on a

side issue. Why can't you stick to the main point?"

"All right -- I don't care where he comes out, so he

COMES out; and Jim don't, either, I reckon. But

there's one thing, anyway -- Jim's too old to be dug

out with a case-knife. He won't last."

"Yes he will LAST, too. You don't reckon it's going

to take thirty-seven years to dig out through a DIRT

foundation, do you?"

"How long will it take, Tom?"

"Well, we can't resk being as long as we ought to,

because it mayn't take very long for Uncle Silas to hear

from down there by New Orleans. He'll hear Jim ain't

from there. Then his next move will be to advertise Jim,

or something like that. So we can't resk being as long

digging him out as we ought to. By rights I reckon

we ought to be a couple of years; but we can't.

Things being so uncertain, what I recommend is this:

that we really dig right in, as quick as we can; and

after that, we can LET ON, to ourselves, that we was at

it thirty-seven years. Then we can snatch him out and

rush him away the first time there's an alarm. Yes, I

reckon that 'll be the best way."

"Now, there's SENSE in that," I says. "Letting on

don't cost nothing; letting on ain't no trouble; and if

it's any object, I don't mind letting on we was at it a

hundred and fifty year. It wouldn't strain me none,

after I got my hand in. So I'll mosey along now, and

smouch a couple of case-knives."

"Smouch three," he says; "we want one to make

a saw out of."

"Tom, if it ain't unregular and irreligious to sejest

it," I says, "there's an old rusty saw-blade around

yonder sticking under the weather-boarding behind the


He looked kind of weary and discouraged-like, and


"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 mid-

dle 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 counter-

pin hung down most to the ground, and you'd have to

raise it up and look under to see the hole. So we dug

and dug with the case-knives till most midnight; and

then we was dog-tired, and our hands was blistered,

and yet you couldn't see we'd done anything hardly.

At last I says:

"This ain't no thirty-seven year job; this is a

thirty-eight year job, Tom Sawyer."

He never said nothing. But he sighed, and pretty

soon he stopped digging, and then for a good little

while I knowed that he was thinking. Then he says:

"It ain't no use, Huck, it ain't a-going to work. If

we was prisoners it would, because then we'd have as

many years as we wanted, and no hurry; and we

wouldn't get but a few minutes to dig, every day,

while they was changing watches, and so our hands

wouldn't get blistered, and we could keep it up right

along, year in and year out, and do it right, and the

way it ought to be done. But WE can't fool along;

we got to rush; we ain't got no time to spare. If we

was to put in another night this way we'd have to

knock off for a week to let our hands get well --

couldn't touch a case-knife with them sooner."

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

"I'll tell you. It ain't right, and it ain't moral, .

and I wouldn't like it to get out; but there ain't only

just the one way: we got to dig him out with the

picks, and LET ON it's case-knives."

"NOW you're TALKING!" I says; "your head gets

leveler and leveler all the time, Tom Sawyer," I

says. "Picks is the thing, moral or no moral; and as

for me, I don't care shucks for the morality of it,

nohow. When I start in to steal a nigger, or a water-

melon, or a Sunday-school book, I ain't no ways

particular how it's done so it's done. What I want is

my nigger; or what I want is my watermelon; or what

I want is my Sunday-school book; and if a pick's the

handiest thing, that's the thing I'm a-going to dig that

nigger or that watermelon or that Sunday-school book

out with; and I don't give a dead rat what the au-

thorities thinks about it nuther."

"Well," he says, "there's excuse for picks and

letting-on in a case like this; if it warn't so, I wouldn't

approve of it, nor I wouldn't stand by and see the

rules broke -- because right is right, and wrong is

wrong, and a body ain't got no business doing wrong

when he ain't ignorant and knows better. It might

answer for YOU to dig Jim out with a pick, WITHOUT any

letting on, because you don't know no better; but it

wouldn't for me, because I do know better. Gimme

a case-knife."

He had his own by him, but I handed him mine.

He flung it down, and says:

"Gimme a CASE-KNIFE."

I didn't know just what to do -- but then I thought.

I scratched around amongst the old tools, and got a

pickaxe and give it to him, and he took it and went to

work, and never said a word.

He was always just that particular. Full of principle.

So then I got a shovel, and then we picked and

shoveled, turn about, and made the fur fly. We stuck

to it about a half an hour, which was as long as we

could stand up; but we had a good deal of a hole to

show for it. When I got up stairs I looked out at the

window and see Tom doing his level best with the

lightning-rod, but he couldn't come it, his hands was

so sore. At last he says:

"It ain't no use, it can't be done. What you

reckon I better do? Can't you think of no way?"

"Yes," I says, "but I reckon it ain't regular.

Come up the stairs, and let on it's a lightning-rod."

So he done it.

Next day Tom stole a pewter spoon and a brass

candlestick in the house, for to make some pens for

Jim out of, and six tallow candles; and I hung around

the nigger cabins and laid for a chance, and stole three

tin plates. Tom says it wasn't enough; but I said

nobody wouldn't ever see the plates that Jim throwed

out, because they'd fall in the dog-fennel and jimpson

weeds under the window-hole -- then we could tote

them back and he could use them over again. So

Tom was satisfied. Then he says:

"Now, the thing to study out is, how to get the

things to Jim."

"Take them in through the hole," I says, "when

we get it done."

He only just looked scornful, and said something

about nobody ever heard of such an idiotic idea, and

then he went to studying. By and by he said he had

ciphered out two or three ways, but there warn't no

need to decide on any of them yet. Said we'd got to

post Jim first.

That night we went down the lightning-rod a little

after ten, and took one of the candles along, and

listened under the window-hole, and heard Jim snoring;

so we pitched it in, and it didn't wake him. Then we

whirled in with the pick and shovel, and in about two

hours and a half the job was done. We crept in under

Jim's bed and into the cabin, and pawed around and

found the candle and lit it, and stood over Jim awhile,

and found him looking hearty and healthy, and then

we woke him up gentle and gradual. He was so glad to

see us he most cried; and called us honey, and all the

pet names he could think of; and was for having us

hunt up a cold-chisel to cut the chain off of his leg

with right away, and clearing out without losing any

time. But Tom he showed him how unregular it

would be, and set down and told him all about our

plans, and how we could alter them in a minute any

time there was an alarm; and not to be the least afraid,

because we would see he got away, SURE. So Jim he

said it was all right, and we set there and talked over

old times awhile, and then Tom asked a lot of ques-

tions, and when Jim told him Uncle Silas come in

every day or two to pray with him, and Aunt Sally

come in to see if he was comfortable and had plenty to

eat, and both of them was kind as they could be, Tom


"NOW I know how to fix it. We'll send you some

things by them."

I said, "Don't do nothing of the kind; it's one of

the most jackass ideas I ever struck;" but he never

paid no attention to me; went right on. It was his

way when he'd got his plans set.

So he told Jim how we'd have to smuggle in the

rope-ladder pie and other large things by Nat, the

nigger that fed him, and he must be on the lookout,

and not be surprised, and not let Nat see him open

them; and we would put small things in uncle's coat-

pockets and he must steal them out; and we would tie

things to aunt's apron-strings or put them in her

apron-pocket, if we got a chance; and told him what

they would be and what they was for. And told him

how to keep a journal on the shirt with his blood, and

all that. He told him everything. Jim he couldn't

see no sense in the most of it, but he allowed we was

white folks and knowed better than him; so he was

satisfied, and said he would do it all just as Tom said.

Jim had plenty corn-cob pipes and tobacco; so

we had a right down good sociable time; then we

crawled out through the hole, and so home to bed,

with hands that looked like they'd been chawed. Tom

was in high spirits. He said it was the best fun he

ever had in his life, and the most intellectural; and

said if he only could see his way to it we would keep it

up all the rest of our lives and leave Jim to our children

to get out; for he believed Jim would come to like it

better and better the more he got used to it. He said

that in that way it could be strung out to as much as

eighty year, and would be the best time on record.

And he said it would make us all celebrated that had a

hand in it.

In the morning we went out to the woodpile and

chopped up the brass candlestick into handy sizes, and

Tom put them and the pewter spoon in his pocket.

Then we went to the nigger cabins, and while I got

Nat's notice off, Tom shoved a piece of candlestick

into the middle of a corn-pone that was in Jim's pan,

and we went along with Nat to see how it would work,

and it just worked noble; when Jim bit into it it most

mashed all his teeth out; and there warn't ever any-

thing could a worked better. Tom said so himself.

Jim he never let on but what it was only just a piece of

rock or something like that that's always getting into

bread, you know; but after that he never bit into

nothing but what he jabbed his fork into it in three or

four places first.

And whilst we was a-standing there in the dimmish

light, here comes a couple of the hounds bulging in

from under Jim's bed; and they kept on piling in till

there was eleven of them, and there warn't hardly

room in there to get your breath. By jings, we forgot

to fasten that lean-to door! The nigger Nat he only

just hollered "Witches" once, and keeled over on to

the floor amongst the dogs, and begun to groan like

he was dying. Tom jerked the door open and flung

out a slab of Jim's meat, and the dogs went for it, and

in two seconds he was out himself and back again and

shut the door, and I knowed he'd fixed the other door

too. Then he went to work on the nigger, coaxing

him and petting him, and asking him if he'd been

imagining he saw something again. He raised up, and

blinked his eyes around, and says:

"Mars Sid, you'll say I's a fool, but if I didn't

b'lieve I see most a million dogs, er devils, er some'n,

I wisht I may die right heah in dese tracks. I did,

mos' sholy. Mars Sid, I FELT um -- I FELT um, sah;

dey was all over me. Dad fetch it, I jis' wisht I

could git my han's on one er dem witches jis' wunst --

on'y jis' wunst -- it's all I'd ast. But mos'ly I wisht

dey'd lemme 'lone, I does."

Tom says:

"Well, I tell you what I think. What makes them

come here just at this runaway nigger's breakfast-time?

It's because they're hungry; that's the reason. You

make them a witch pie; that's the thing for YOU to


"But my lan', Mars Sid, how's I gwyne to make

'm a witch pie? I doan' know how to make it. I

hain't ever hearn er sich a thing b'fo'."

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

"Will you do it, honey? -- Qwill you? I'll wusshup

de groun' und' yo' foot, I will!"

"All right, I'll do it, seeing it's you, and you've

been good to us and showed us the runaway nigger.

But you got to be mighty careful. When we come

around, you turn your back; and then whatever we've

put in the pan, don't you let on you see it at all. And

don't you look when Jim unloads the pan -- something

might happen, I don't know what. And above all,

don't you HANDLE the witch-things."

"HANNEL 'm, Mars Sid? What IS you a-talkin'

'bout? I wouldn' lay de weight er my finger on

um, not f'r ten hund'd thous'n billion dollars, I




THAT was all fixed. So then we went away and

went to the rubbage-pile in the back yard, where

they keep the old boots, and rags, and pieces of

bottles, and wore-out tin things, and all such truck,

and scratched around and found an old tin washpan,

and stopped up the holes as well as we could, to bake

the pie in, and took it down cellar and stole it full of

flour and started for breakfast, and found a couple of

shingle-nails that Tom said would be handy for a

prisoner to scrabble his name and sorrows on the

dungeon walls with, and dropped one of them in Aunt

Sally's apron-pocket which was hanging on a chair,

and t'other we stuck in the band of Uncle Silas's hat,

which was on the bureau, because we heard the chil-

dren say their pa and ma was going to the runaway

nigger's house this morning, and then went to break-

fast, and Tom dropped the pewter spoon in Uncle

Silas's coat-pocket, and Aunt Sally wasn't come yet,

so we had to wait a little while.

And when she come she was hot and red and cross,

and couldn't hardly wait for the blessing; and then

she went to sluicing out coffee with one hand and

cracking the handiest child's head with her thimble

with the other, and says:

"I've hunted high and I've hunted low, and it does

beat all what HAS become of your other shirt."

My heart fell down amongst my lungs and livers

and things, and a hard piece of corn-crust started down

my throat after it and got met on the road with a

cough, and was shot across the table, and took one

of the children in the eye and curled him up like a

fishing-worm, and let a cry out of him the size of a

warwhoop, and Tom he turned kinder blue around the

gills, and it all amounted to a considerable state of

things for about a quarter of a minute or as much as

that, and I would a sold out for half price if there was

a bidder. But after that we was all right again -- it

was the sudden surprise of it that knocked us so kind

of cold. Uncle Silas he says:

"It's most uncommon curious, I can't understand

it. I know perfectly well I took it OFF, because --"

"Because you hain't got but one ON. Just LISTEN at

the man! I know you took it off, and know it by a

better way than your wool-gethering memory, too,

because it was on the clo's-line yesterday -- I see it

there myself. But it's gone, that's the long and the

short of it, and you'll just have to change to a red

flann'l one till I can get time to make a new one.

And it 'll be the third I've made in two years. It just

keeps a body on the jump to keep you in shirts; and

whatever you do manage to DO with 'm all is more'n I

can make out. A body 'd think you WOULD learn to

take some sort of care of 'em at your time of life."

"I know it, Sally, and I do try all I can. But it

oughtn't to be altogether my fault, because, you know,

I don't see them nor have nothing to do with them

except when they're on me; and I don't believe I've

ever lost one of them OFF of me."

"Well, it ain't YOUR fault if you haven't, Silas;

you'd a done it if you could, I reckon. And the shirt

ain't all that's gone, nuther. Ther's a spoon gone;

and THAT ain't all. There was ten, and now ther's only

nine. The calf got the shirt, I reckon, but the calf

never took the spoon, THAT'S certain."

"Why, what else is gone, Sally?"

"Ther's six CANDLES gone -- that's what. The rats

could a got the candles, and I reckon they did; I

wonder they don't walk off with the whole place, the

way you're always going to stop their holes and don't

do it; and if they warn't fools they'd sleep in your

hair, Silas -- YOU'D never find it out; but you can't lay

the SPOON on the rats, and that I know."

"Well, Sally, I'm in fault, and I acknowledge it;

I've been remiss; but I won't let to-morrow go by

without stopping up them holes."

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

Angelina Araminta PHELPS!"

Whack comes the thimble, and the child snatches

her claws out of the sugar-bowl without fooling around

any. Just then the nigger woman steps on to the

passage, and says:

"Missus, dey's a sheet gone."

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

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

looking sorrowful.

"Oh, DO shet up! -- s'pose the rats took the SHEET?

WHERE'S it gone, Lize?"

"Clah to goodness I hain't no notion, Miss' Sally.

She wuz on de clo'sline yistiddy, but she done gone:

she ain' dah no mo' now."

"I reckon the world IS coming to an end. I NEVER

see the beat of it in all my born days. A shirt, and a

sheet, and a spoon, and six can --"

"Missus," comes a young yaller wench, "dey's a

brass cannelstick miss'n."

"Cler out from here, you hussy, er I'll take a skillet

to ye!"

Well, she was just a-biling. I begun to lay for a

chance; I reckoned I would sneak out and go for the

woods till the weather moderated. She kept a-raging

right along, running her insurrection all by herself,

and everybody else mighty meek and quiet; and at

last Uncle Silas, looking kind of foolish, fishes up that

spoon out of his pocket. She stopped, with her mouth

open and her hands up; and as for me, I wished I was

in Jeruslem or somewheres. But not long, because

she says:

"It's JUST as I expected. So you had it in your

pocket all the time; and like as not you've got the

other things there, too. How'd it get there?"

"I reely don't know, Sally," he says, kind of

apologizing, "or you know I would tell. I was a-

studying over my text in Acts Seventeen before break-

fast, and I reckon I put it in there, not noticing,

meaning to put my Testament in, and it must be so,

because my Testament ain't in; but I'll go and see;

and if the Testament is where I had it, I'll know I

didn't put it in, and that will show that I laid the

Testament down and took up the spoon, and --"

"Oh, for the land's sake! Give a body a rest!

Go 'long now, the whole kit and biling of ye; and

don't come nigh me again till I've got back my peace

of mind."

I'D a heard her if she'd a said it to herself, let alone

speaking it out; and I'd a got up and obeyed her if

I'd a been dead. As we was passing through the

setting-room the old man he took up his hat, and the

shingle-nail fell out on the floor, and he just merely

picked it up and laid it on the mantel-shelf, and never

said nothing, and went out. Tom see him do it, and

remembered about the spoon, and says:

"Well, it ain't no use to send things by HIM no

more, he ain't reliable." Then he says: "But he

done us a good turn with the spoon, anyway, without

knowing it, and so we'll go and do him one without

HIM knowing it -- stop up his rat-holes."

There was a noble good lot of them down cellar, and

it took us a whole hour, but we done the job tight and

good and shipshape. Then we heard steps on the

stairs, and blowed out our light and hid; and here

comes the old man, with a candle in one hand and a

bundle of stuff in t'other, looking as absent-minded as

year before last. He went a mooning around, first to

one rat-hole and then another, till he'd been to them

all. Then he stood about five minutes, picking tallow-

drip off of his candle and thinking. Then he turns off

slow and dreamy towards the stairs, saying:

"Well, for the life of me I can't remember when I

done it. I could show her now that I warn't to blame

on account of the rats. But never mind -- let it go. I

reckon it wouldn't do no good."

And so he went on a-mumbling up stairs, and then

we left. He was a mighty nice old man. And

always is.

Tom was a good deal bothered about what to do for

a spoon, but he said we'd got to have it; so he took a

think. When he had ciphered it out he told me how

we was to do; then we went and waited around the

spoon-basket till we see Aunt Sally coming, and then

Tom went to counting the spoons and laying them out

to one side, and I slid one of them up my sleeve, and

Tom says:

"Why, Aunt Sally, there ain't but nine spoons


She says:

"Go 'long to your play, and don't bother me. I

know better, I counted 'm myself."

"Well, I've counted them twice, Aunty, and I can't

make but nine."

She looked out of all patience, but of course she

come to count -- anybody would.

"I declare to gracious ther' AIN'T but nine!" she

says. "Why, what in the world -- plague TAKE the

things, I'll count 'm again."

So I slipped back the one I had, and when she got

done counting, she says:

"Hang the troublesome rubbage, ther's TEN now!"

and she looked huffy and bothered both. But Tom


"Why, Aunty, I don't think there's ten."

"You numskull, didn't you see me COUNT 'm?"

"I know, but --"

"Well, I'll count 'm AGAIN."

So I smouched one, and they come out nine, same

as the other time. Well, she WAS in a tearing way --

just a-trembling all over, she was so mad. But she

counted and counted till she got that addled she'd start

to count in the basket for a spoon sometimes; and so,

three times they come out right, and three times they

come out wrong. Then she grabbed up the basket

and slammed it across the house and knocked the cat

galley-west; and she said cle'r out and let her have

some peace, and if we come bothering around her

again betwixt that and dinner she'd skin us. So we

had the odd spoon, and dropped it in her apron-pocket

whilst she was a-giving us our sailing orders, and Jim

got it all right, along with her shingle nail, before

noon. We was very well satisfied with this business,

and Tom allowed it was worth twice the trouble it

took, because he said NOW she couldn't ever count

them spoons twice alike again to save her life; and

wouldn't believe she'd counted them right if she DID;

and said that after she'd about counted her head off

for the next three days he judged she'd give it up and

offer to kill anybody that wanted her to ever count

them any more.

So we put the sheet back on the line that night, and

stole one out of her closet; and kept on putting it

back and stealing it again for a couple of days till she

didn't know how many sheets she had any more, and

she didn't CARE, and warn't a-going to bullyrag the rest

of her soul out about it, and wouldn't count them

again not to save her life; she druther die first.

So we was all right now, as to the shirt and the

sheet and the spoon and the candles, by the help of

the calf and the rats and the mixed-up counting; and

as to the candlestick, it warn't no consequence, it

would blow over by and by.

But that pie was a job; we had no end of trouble

with that pie. We fixed it up away down in the

woods, and cooked it there; and we got it done at

last, and very satisfactory, too; but not all in one

day; and we had to use up three wash-pans full of

flour before we got through, and we got burnt pretty

much all over, in places, and eyes put out with the

smoke; because, you see, we didn't want nothing but

a crust, and we couldn't prop it up right, and she

would always cave in. But of course we thought of

the right way at last -- which was to cook the ladder,

too, in the pie. So then we laid in with Jim the

second night, and tore up the sheet all in little strings

and twisted them together, and long before daylight we

had a lovely rope that you could a hung a person with.

We let on it took nine months to make it.

And in the forenoon we took it down to the woods,

but it wouldn't go into the pie. Being made of a

whole sheet, that way, there was rope enough for forty

pies if we'd a wanted them, and plenty left over for

soup, or sausage, or anything you choose. We could

a had a whole dinner.

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 consider-

able of, because it belonged to one of his ancesters

with a long wooden handle that come over from Eng-

land with William the Conqueror in the Mayflower or

one of them early ships and was hid away up garret

with a lot of other old pots and things that was

valuable, not on account of being any account, be-

cause 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 satisfac-

tion 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 in-

scription was going to be the toughest of all. That's

the one which the prisoner has to scrabble on the wall.

But he had to have it; Tom said he'd GOT to; there

warn't no case of a state prisoner not scrabbling his

inscription to leave behind, and his coat of arms.

"Look at Lady Jane Grey," he says; "look at

Gilford Dudley; look at old Northumberland! Why,

Huck, s'pose it IS considerble trouble? -- what you

going to do? -- how you going to get around it?

Jim's GOT to do his inscription and coat of arms. They

all do."

Jim says:

"Why, Mars Tom, I hain't got no coat o' arm; I

hain't got nuffn but dish yer ole shirt, en you knows

I got to keep de journal on dat."

"Oh, you don't understand, Jim; a coat of arms is

very different."

"Well," I says, "Jim's right, anyway, when he

says he ain't got no coat of arms, because he hain't."

"I reckon I knowed that," Tom says, "but you

bet he'll have one before he goes out of this -- because

he's going out RIGHT, and there ain't going to be no

flaws in his record."

So whilst me and Jim filed away at the pens on a

brickbat apiece, Jim a-making his'n out of the brass

and I making mine out of the spoon, Tom set to work

to think out the coat of arms. By and by he said he'd

struck so many good ones he didn't hardly know

which to take, but there was one which he reckoned

he'd decide on. He says:

"On the scutcheon we'll have a bend OR in the

dexter base, a saltire MURREY in the fess, with a dog,

couchant, for common charge, and under his foot a

chain embattled, for slavery, with a chevron VERT in a

chief engrailed, and three invected lines on a field

AZURE, with the nombril points rampant on a dancette

indented; crest, a runaway nigger, SABLE, with his

bundle over his shoulder on a bar sinister; and a

couple of gules for supporters, which is you and me;

motto, MAGGIORE FRETTA, MINORE OTTO. Got it out of a

book -- means the more haste the less speed."

"Geewhillikins," I says, "but what does the rest of

it mean?"

"We ain't got no time to bother over that," he

says; "we got to dig in like all git-out."

"Well, anyway," I says, "what's SOME of it?

What's a fess?"

"A fess -- a fess is -- YOU don't need to know what

a fess is. I'll show him how to make it when he gets

to it."

"Shucks, Tom," I says, "I think you might tell a

person. What's a bar sinister?"

"Oh, I don't know. But he's got to have it. All

the nobility does."

That was just his way. If it didn't suit him to ex-

plain 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 inscrip-

tion -- said Jim got to have one, like they all done.

He made up a lot, and wrote them out on a paper, and

read them off, so:

1. Here a captive heart busted.

2. Here a poor prisoner, forsook by the world

and friends, fretted his sorrowful life.

3. Here a lonely heart broke, and a worn spirit

went to its rest, after thirty-seven years

of solitary captivity.

4. Here, homeless and friendless, after

thirty-seven years of bitter captivity,

perished a noble stranger, natural son of

Louis XIV.

Tom's voice trembled whilst he was reading them,

and he most broke down. When he got done he

couldn't no way make up his mind which one for Jim

to scrabble on to the wall, they was all so good; but

at last he allowed he would let him scrabble them all

on. Jim said it would take him a year to scrabble

such a lot of truck on to the logs with a nail, and he

didn't know how to make letters, besides; but Tom

said he would block them out for him, and then he

wouldn't have nothing to do but just follow the lines.

Then pretty soon he says:

"Come to think, the logs ain't a-going to do; they

don't have log walls in a dungeon: we got to dig the

inscriptions into a rock. We'll fetch a rock."

Jim said the rock was worse than the logs; he said

it would take him such a pison long time to dig them

into a rock he wouldn't ever get out. But Tom said

he would let me help him do it. Then he took a look

to see how me and Jim was getting along with the

pens. It was most pesky tedious hard work and slow,

and didn't give my hands no show to get well of the

sores, and we didn't seem to make no headway, hardly;

so Tom says:

"I know how to fix it. We got to have a rock for

the coat of arms and mournful inscriptions, and we can

kill two birds with that same rock. There's a gaudy

big grindstone down at the mill, and we'll smouch it,

and carve the things on it, and file out the pens and

the saw on it, too."

It warn't no slouch of an idea; and it warn't no

slouch of a grindstone nuther; but we allowed we'd

tackle it. It warn't quite midnight yet, so we cleared

out for the mill, leaving Jim at work. We smouched

the grindstone, and set out to roll her home, but it

was a most nation tough job. Sometimes, do what we

could, we couldn't keep her from falling over, and she

come mighty near mashing us every time. Tom said

she was going to get one of us, sure, before we got

through. We got her half way; and then we was

plumb played out, and most drownded with sweat.

We see it warn't no use; we got to go and fetch Jim

So he raised up his bed and slid the chain off of the

bed-leg, and wrapt it round and round his neck, and

we crawled out through our hole and down there, and

Jim and me laid into that grindstone and walked

her along like nothing; and Tom superintended.

He could out-superintend any boy I ever see. He

knowed how to do everything.

Our hole was pretty big, but it warn't big enough to

get the grindstone through; but Jim he took the pick

and soon made it big enough. Then Tom marked out

them things on it with the nail, and set Jim to work on

them, with the nail for a chisel and an iron bolt from

the rubbage in the lean-to for a hammer, and told him

to work till the rest of his candle quit on him, and then

he could go to bed, and hide the grindstone under his

straw tick and sleep on it. Then we helped him fix

his chain back on the bed-leg, and was ready for bed

ourselves. But Tom thought of something, and says:

"You got any spiders in here, Jim?"

"No, sah, thanks to goodness I hain't, Mars Tom."

"All right, we'll get you some."

"But bless you, honey, I doan' WANT none. I's

afeard un um. I jis' 's soon have rattlesnakes aroun'."

Tom thought a minute or two, and says:

"It's a good idea. And I reckon it's been done.

It MUST a been done; it stands to reason. Yes, it's a

prime good idea. Where could you keep it?"

"Keep what, Mars Tom?"

"Why, a rattlesnake."

"De goodness gracious alive, Mars Tom! Why, if

dey was a rattlesnake to come in heah I'd take en bust

right out thoo dat log wall, I would, wid my head."

Why, Jim, you wouldn't be afraid of it after a

little. You could tame it."

"TAME it!"

"Yes -- easy enough. Every animal is grateful for

kindness and petting, and they wouldn't THINK of hurt-

ing a person that pets them. Any book will tell you

that. You try -- that's all I ask; just try for two or

three days. Why, you can get him so in a little while

that he'll love you; and sleep with you; and won't

stay away from you a minute; and will let you wrap

him round your neck and put his head in your mouth."

"PLEASE, Mars Tom -- DOAN' talk so! I can't STAN'

it! He'd LET me shove his head in my mouf -- fer a

favor, hain't it? I lay he'd wait a pow'ful long time

'fo' I AST him. En mo' en dat, I doan' WANT him to

sleep wid me."

"Jim, don't act so foolish. A prisoner's GOT to

have some kind of a dumb pet, and if a rattlesnake

hain't ever been tried, why, there's more glory to be

gained in your being the first to ever try it than any

other way you could ever think of to save your life."

"Why, Mars Tom, I doan' WANT no sich glory.

Snake take 'n bite Jim's chin off, den WHAH is de

glory? No, sah, I doan' want no sich doin's."

"Blame it, can't you TRY? I only WANT you to try

-- you needn't keep it up if it don't work."

"But de trouble all DONE ef de snake bite me while

I's a tryin' him. Mars Tom, I's willin' to tackle mos'

anything 'at ain't onreasonable, but ef you en Huck

fetches a rattlesnake in heah for me to tame, I's

gwyne to LEAVE, dat's SHORE."

"Well, then, let it go, let it go, if you're so bull-

headed about it. We can get you some garter-snakes,

and you can tie some buttons on their tails, and let on

they're rattlesnakes, and I reckon that 'll have to do."

"I k'n stan' DEM, Mars Tom, but blame' 'f I

couldn' get along widout um, I tell you dat. I never

knowed b'fo' 't was so much bother and trouble to be

a prisoner."

"Well, it ALWAYS is when it's done right. You got

any rats around here?"

"No, sah, I hain't seed none."

"Well, we'll get you some rats."

"Why, Mars Tom, I doan' WANT no rats. Dey's

de dadblamedest creturs to 'sturb a body, en rustle

roun' over 'im, en bite his feet, when he's tryin' to

sleep, I ever see. No, sah, gimme g'yarter-snakes, 'f

I's got to have 'm, but doan' gimme no rats; I hain'

got no use f'r um, skasely."

"But, Jim, you GOT to have 'em -- they all do. So

don't make no more fuss about it. Prisoners ain't

ever without rats. There ain't no instance of it. And

they train them, and pet them, and learn them tricks,

and they get to be as sociable as flies. But you got to

play music to them. You got anything to play music


"I ain' got nuffn but a coase comb en a piece o'

paper, en a juice-harp; but I reck'n dey wouldn' take

no stock in a juice-harp."

"Yes they would. THEY don't care what kind of

music 'tis. A jews-harp's plenty good enough for a

rat. All animals like music -- in a prison they dote

on it. Specially, painful music; and you can't get no

other kind out of a jews-harp. It always interests

them; they come out to see what's the matter with

you. Yes, you're all right; you're fixed very well.

You want to set on your bed nights before you go to

sleep, and early in the mornings, and play your jews-

harp; play 'The Last Link is Broken' -- that's the

thing that 'll scoop a rat quicker 'n anything else; and

when you've played about two minutes you'll see all

the rats, and the snakes, and spiders, and things begin

to feel worried about you, and come. And they'll

just fairly swarm over you, and have a noble good


"Yes, DEY will, I reck'n, Mars Tom, but what kine

er time is JIM havin'? Blest if I kin see de pint. But

I'll do it ef I got to. I reck'n I better keep de animals

satisfied, en not have no trouble in de house."

Tom waited to think it over, and see if there wasn't

nothing else; and pretty soon he says:

"Oh, there's one thing I forgot. Could you raise

a flower here, do you reckon?"

"I doan know but maybe I could, Mars Tom; but

it's tolable dark in heah, en I ain' got no use f'r no

flower, nohow, en she'd be a pow'ful sight o' trouble."

"Well, you try it, anyway. Some other prisoners

has done it."

"One er dem big cat-tail-lookin' mullen-stalks would

grow in heah, Mars Tom, I reck'n, but she wouldn't

be wuth half de trouble she'd coss."

"Don't you believe it. We'll fetch you a little one

and you plant it in the corner over there, and raise it.

And don't call it mullen, call it Pitchiola -- that's its

right name when it's in a prison. And you want to

water it with your tears."

"Why, I got plenty spring water, Mars Tom."

"You don't WANT spring water; you want to water

it with your tears. It's the way they always do."

"Why, Mars Tom, I lay I kin raise one er dem

mullen-stalks twyste wid spring water whiles another

man's a START'N one wid tears."

"That ain't the idea. You GOT to do it with tears."

"She'll die on my han's, Mars Tom, she sholy

will; kase I doan' skasely ever cry."

So Tom was stumped. But he studied it over, and

then said Jim would have to worry along the best he

could with an onion. He promised he would go to the

nigger cabins and drop one, private, in Jim's coffee-

pot, in the morning. Jim said he would "jis' 's soon

have tobacker in his coffee;" and found so much fault

with it, and with the work and bother of raising the

mullen, and jews-harping the rats, and petting and

flattering up the snakes and spiders and things, on top

of all the other work he had to do on pens, and in-

scriptions, and journals, and things, which made it

more trouble and worry and responsibility to be a

prisoner than anything he ever undertook, that Tom

most lost all patience with him; and said he was just

loadened down with more gaudier chances than a

prisoner ever had in the world to make a name for

himself, and yet he didn't know enough to appreciate

them, and they was just about wasted on him. So

Jim he was sorry, and said he wouldn't behave so no

more, and then me and Tom shoved for bed.



IN the morning we went up to the village and bought

a wire rat-trap and fetched it down, and unstopped

the best rat-hole, and in about an hour we had fifteen

of the bulliest kind of ones; and then we took it and

put it in a safe place under Aunt Sally's bed. But

while we was gone for spiders little Thomas Franklin

Benjamin Jefferson Elexander Phelps found it there,

and opened the door of it to see if the rats would come

out, and they did; and Aunt Sally she come in, and

when we got back she was a-standing on top of the bed

raising Cain, and the rats was doing what they could to

keep off the dull times for her. So she took and

dusted us both with the hickry, and we was as much

as two hours catching another fifteen or sixteen, drat

that meddlesome cub, and they warn't the likeliest,

nuther, because the first haul was the pick of the flock.

I never see a likelier lot of rats than what that first

haul was.

We got a splendid stock of sorted spiders, and bugs,

and frogs, and caterpillars, and one thing or another;

and we like to got a hornet's nest, but we didn't. The

family was at home. We didn't give it right up, but

stayed with them as long as we could; because we

allowed we'd tire them out or they'd got to tire us

out, and they done it. Then we got allycumpain and

rubbed on the places, and was pretty near all right

again, but couldn't set down convenient. And so we

went for the snakes, and grabbed a couple of dozen

garters and house-snakes, and put them in a bag, and

put it in our room, and by that time it was supper-

time, and a rattling good honest day's work: and

hungry? -- oh, no, I reckon not! And there warn't a

blessed snake up there when we went back -- we didn't

half tie the sack, and they worked out somehow, and

left. But it didn't matter much, because they was

still on the premises somewheres. So we judged we

could get some of them again. No, there warn't no

real scarcity of snakes about the house for a consider-

able spell. You'd see them dripping from the rafters

and places every now and then; and they generly

landed in your plate, or down the back of your neck,

and most of the time where you didn't want them.

Well, they was handsome and striped, and there warn't

no harm in a million of them; but that never made no

difference to Aunt Sally; she despised snakes, be the

breed what they might, and she couldn't stand them

no way you could fix it; and every time one of them

flopped down on her, it didn't make no difference what

she was doing, she would just lay that work down and

light out. I never see such a woman. And you could

hear her whoop to Jericho. You couldn't get her to

take a-holt of one of them with the tongs. And if she

turned over and found one in bed she would scramble

out and lift a howl that you would think the house was

afire. She disturbed the old man so that he said he

could most wish there hadn't ever been no snakes

created. Why, after every last snake had been gone

clear out of the house for as much as a week Aunt

Sally warn't over it yet; she warn't near over it; when

she was setting thinking about something you could

touch her on the back of her neck with a feather and

she would jump right out of her stockings. It was

very curious. But Tom said all women was just so.

He said they was made that way for some reason or


We got a licking every time one of our snakes come

in her way, and she allowed these lickings warn't noth-

ing to what she would do if we ever loaded up the

place again with them. I didn't mind the lickings,

because they didn't amount to nothing; but I minded

the trouble we had to lay in another lot. But we got

them laid in, and all the other things; and you never

see a cabin as blithesome as Jim's was when they'd all

swarm out for music and go for him. Jim didn't like

the spiders, and the spiders didn't like Jim; and so

they'd lay for him, and make it mighty warm for him.

And he said that between the rats and the snakes and

the grindstone there warn't no room in bed for him,

skasely; and when there was, a body couldn't sleep, it

was so lively, and it was always lively, he said, because

THEY never all slept at one time, but took turn about,

so when the snakes was asleep the rats was on deck,

and when the rats turned in the snakes come on watch,

so he always had one gang under him, in his way, and

t'other gang having a circus over him, and if he got

up to hunt a new place the spiders would take a chance

at him as he crossed over. He said if he ever got out

this time he wouldn't ever be a prisoner again, not for

a salary.

Well, by the end of three weeks everything was in

pretty good shape. The shirt was sent in early, in a

pie, and every time a rat bit Jim he would get up and

write a little in his journal whilst the ink was fresh; the

pens was made, the inscriptions and so on was all

carved on the grindstone; the bed-leg was sawed in

two, and we had et up the sawdust, and it give us a

most amazing stomach-ache. We reckoned we was all

going to die, but didn't. It was the most undigestible

sawdust I ever see; and Tom said the same. But as I

was saying, we'd got all the work done now, at last;

and we was all pretty much fagged out, too, but mainly

Jim. The old man had wrote a couple of times to the

plantation below Orleans to come and get their run-

away nigger, but hadn't got no answer, because there

warn't no such plantation; so he allowed he would ad-

vertise Jim in the St. Louis and New Orleans papers;

and when he mentioned the St. Louis ones it give me

the cold shivers, and I see we hadn't no time to lose.

So Tom said, now for the nonnamous letters.

"What's them?" I says.

"Warnings to the people that something is up.

Sometimes it's done one way, sometimes another.

But there's always somebody spying around that gives

notice to the governor of the castle. When Louis

XVI. was going to light out of the Tooleries a servant-

girl done it. It's a very good way, and so is the

nonnamous letters. We'll use them both. And it's

usual for the prisoner's mother to change clothes with

him, and she stays in, and he slides out in her clothes.

We'll do that, too."

"But looky here, Tom, what do we want to WARN

anybody for that something's up? Let them find it

out for themselves -- it's their lookout."

"Yes, I know; but you can't depend on them.

It's the way they've acted from the very start -- left

us to do EVERYTHING. They're so confiding and mullet-

headed they don't take notice of nothing at all. So if

we don't GIVE them notice there won't be nobody nor

nothing to interfere with us, and so after all our hard

work and trouble this escape 'll go off perfectly flat;

won't amount to nothing -- won't be nothing TO it."

"Well, as for me, Tom, that's the way I'd like."

"Shucks!" he says, and looked disgusted. So I


"But I ain't going to make no complaint. Any

way that suits you suits me. What you going to do

about the servant-girl?"

"You'll be her. You slide in, in the middle of the

night, and hook that yaller girl's frock."

"Why, Tom, that 'll make trouble next morning;

because, of course, she prob'bly hain't got any but

that one."

"I know; but you don't want it but fifteen minutes,

to carry the nonnamous letter and shove it under the

front door."

"All right, then, I'll do it; but I could carry it just

as handy in my own togs."

"You wouldn't look like a servant-girl THEN, would


"No, but there won't be nobody to see what I look

like, ANYWAY."

"That ain't got nothing to do with it. The thing

for us to do is just to do our DUTY, and not worry

about whether anybody SEES us do it or not. Hain't

you got no principle at all?"

"All right, I ain't saying nothing; I'm the servant-

girl. Who's Jim's mother?"

"I'm his mother. I'll hook a gown from Aunt


"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 dis-

guise, and Jim 'll take the nigger woman's gown off of

me and wear it, and we'll all evade together. When a

prisoner of style escapes it's called an evasion. It's

always called so when a king escapes, f'rinstance.

And the same with a king's son; it don't make no differ-

ence whether he's a natural one or an unnatural one."

So Tom he wrote the nonnamous letter, and I

smouched the yaller wench's frock that night, and put

it on, and shoved it under the front door, the way Tom

told me to. It said:

Beware. Trouble is brewing. Keep a sharp lookout.


Next night we stuck a picture, which Tom drawed

in blood, of a skull and crossbones on the front door;

and next night another one of a coffin on the back

door. I never see a family in such a sweat. They

couldn't a been worse scared if the place had a been

full of ghosts laying for them behind everything and

under the beds and shivering through the air. If a

door banged, Aunt Sally she jumped and said

"ouch!" if anything fell, she jumped and said

"ouch!" if you happened to touch her, when she

warn't noticing, she done the same; she couldn't face

noway and be satisfied, because she allowed there was

something behind her every time -- so she was always

a-whirling around sudden, and saying "ouch," and

before she'd got two-thirds around she'd whirl back

again, and say it again; and she was afraid to go to bed,

but she dasn't set up. So the thing was working

very well, Tom said; he said he never see a thing

work more satisfactory. He said it showed it was

done right.

So he said, now for the grand bulge! So the very

next morning at the streak of dawn we got another

letter ready, and was wondering what we better do with

it, because we heard them say at supper they was

going to have a nigger on watch at both doors all

night. Tom he went down the lightning-rod to spy

around; and the nigger at the back door was asleep,

and he stuck it in the back of his neck and come back.

This letter said:


Don't betray me, I wish to be your friend. There

is a desprate gang of cut-throats from over in the

Indian Territory going to steal your runaway

nigger to-night, and they have been trying to scare

you so as you will stay in the house and not bother

them. I am one of the gang, but have got religgion

and wish to quit it and lead an honest life again,

and will betray the helish design. They will sneak

down from northards, along the fence, at midnight

exact, with a false key, and go in the nigger's

cabin to get him. I am to be off a piece and blow

a tin horn if I see any danger; but stead of that I

will BA like a sheep soon as they get in and not

blow at all; then whilst they are getting his chains

loose, you slip there and lock them in, and can

kill them at your leasure. Don't do anything but

just the way I am telling you; if you do they will

suspicion something and raise whoop-jamboreehoo. I

do not wish any reward but to know I have done the

right thing.





WE was feeling pretty good after breakfast, and

took my canoe and went over the river a-fishing,

with a lunch, and had a good time, and took a look at

the raft and found her all right, and got home late to

supper, and found them in such a sweat and worry

they didn't know which end they was standing on, and

made us go right off to bed the minute we was done

supper, and wouldn't tell us what the trouble was, and

never let on a word about the new letter, but didn't

need to, because we knowed as much about it as

anybody did, and as soon as we was half up stairs and

her back was turned we slid for the cellar cubboard

and loaded up a good lunch and took it up to our

room and went to bed, and got up about half-past

eleven, and Tom put on Aunt Sally's dress that he

stole and was going to start with the lunch, but says:

"Where's the butter?"

"I laid out a hunk of it," I says, "on a piece of a


"Well, you LEFT it laid out, then -- it ain't here."

"We can get along without it," I says.

"We can get along WITH it, too," he says; "just

you slide down cellar and fetch it. And then mosey

right down the lightning-rod and come along. I'll go

and stuff the straw into Jim's clothes to represent his

mother in disguise, and be ready to BA like a sheep

and shove soon as you get there."

So out he went, and down cellar went I. The hunk

of butter, big as a person's fist, was where I had left

it, so I took up the slab of corn-pone with it on, and

blowed out my light, and started up stairs very

stealthy, and got up to the main floor all right, but

here comes Aunt Sally with a candle, and I clapped

the truck in my hat, and clapped my hat on my head,

and the next second she see me; and she says:

"You been down cellar?"


"What you been doing down there?"




"Well, then, what possessed you to go down there

this time of night?"

"I don't know 'm."

"You don't KNOW? Don't answer me that way.

Tom, I want to know what you been DOING down


"I hain't been doing a single thing, Aunt Sally, I

hope to gracious if I have."

I reckoned she'd let me go now, and as a generl

thing she would; but I s'pose there was so many

strange things going on she was just in a sweat about

every little thing that warn't yard-stick straight; so she

says, very decided:

"You just march into that setting-room and stay

there till I come. You been up to something you no

business to, and I lay I'll find out what it is before I'M

done with you."

So she went away as I opened the door and walked

into the setting-room. My, but there was a crowd

there! Fifteen farmers, and every one of them had a

gun. I was most powerful sick, and slunk to a chair

and set down. They was setting around, some of them

talking a little, in a low voice, and all of them fidgety

and uneasy, but trying to look like they warn't; but I

knowed they was, because they was always taking off

their hats, and putting them on, and scratching their

heads, and changing their seats, and fumbling with

their buttons. I warn't easy myself, but I didn't take

my hat off, all the same.

I did wish Aunt Sally would come, and get done

with me, and lick me, if she wanted to, and let me get

away and tell Tom how we'd overdone this thing, and

what a thundering hornet's-nest we'd got ourselves

into, so we could stop fooling around straight off, and

clear out with Jim before these rips got out of patience

and come for us.

At last she come and begun to ask me questions,

but I COULDN'T answer them straight, I didn't know

which end of me was up; because these men was in

such a fidget now that some was wanting to start right

NOW and lay for them desperadoes, and saying it warn't

but a few minutes to midnight; and others was trying

to get them to hold on and wait for the sheep-signal;

and here was Aunty pegging away at the questions,

and me a-shaking all over and ready to sink down in

my tracks I was that scared; and the place getting

hotter and hotter, and the butter beginning to melt and

run down my neck and behind my ears; and pretty

soon, when one of them says, "I'M for going and

getting in the cabin FIRST and right NOW, and catching

them when they come," I most dropped; and a streak

of butter come a-trickling down my forehead, and

Aunt Sally she see it, and turns white as a sheet, and


"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


"Oh, what a turn you did give me! and how glad

and grateful I am it ain't no worse; for luck's against

us, and it never rains but it pours, and when I see that

truck I thought we'd lost you, for I knowed by the

color and all it was just like your brains would be if --

Dear, dear, whyd'nt you TELL me that was what you'd

been down there for, I wouldn't a cared. Now cler

out to bed, and don't lemme see no more of you till


I was up stairs in a second, and down the lightning-

rod in another one, and shinning through the dark for

the lean-to. I couldn't hardly get my words out, I

was so anxious; but I told Tom as quick as I could

we must jump for it now, and not a minute to lose --

the house full of men, yonder, with guns!

His eyes just blazed; and he says:

"No! -- is that so? AIN'T it bully! Why, Huck,

if it was to do over again, I bet I could fetch two hun-

dred! 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-


But then we heard the tramp of men coming to the

door, and heard them begin to fumble with the pad-

lock, and heard a man say:

"I TOLD you we'd be too soon; they haven't come

-- the door is locked. Here, I'll lock some of you

into the cabin, and you lay for 'em in the dark and kill

'em when they come; and the rest scatter around a

piece, and listen if you can hear 'em coming."

So in they come, but couldn't see us in the dark, and

most trod on us whilst we was hustling to get under

the bed. But we got under all right, and out through

the hole, swift but soft -- Jim first, me next, and Tom

last, which was according to Tom's orders. Now we

was in the lean-to, and heard trampings close by out-

side. So we crept to the door, and Tom stopped us

there and put his eye to the crack, but couldn't make

out nothing, it was so dark; and whispered and said

he would listen for the steps to get further, and when

he nudged us Jim must glide out first, and him last.

So he set his ear to the crack and listened, and

listened, and listened, and the steps a-scraping around

out there all the time; and at last he nudged us, and

we slid out, and stooped down, not breathing, and not

making the least noise, and slipped stealthy towards the

fence in Injun file, and got to it all right, and me and

Jim over it; but Tom's britches catched fast on a splinter

on the top rail, and then he hear the steps coming, so he

had to pull loose, which snapped the splinter and made

a noise; and as he dropped in our tracks and started

somebody sings out:

"Who's that? Answer, or I'll shoot!"

But we didn't answer; we just unfurled our heels

and shoved. Then there was a rush, and a BANG, BANG,

BANG! and the bullets fairly whizzed around us! We

heard them sing out:

"Here they are! They've broke for the river!

After 'em, boys, and turn loose the dogs!"

So here they come, full tilt. We could hear them

because they wore boots and yelled, but we didn't wear

no boots and didn't yell. We was in the path to the

mill; and when they got pretty close on to us we

dodged into the bush and let them go by, and then

dropped in behind them. They'd had all the dogs

shut up, so they wouldn't scare off the robbers; but

by this time somebody had let them loose, and here

they come, making powwow enough for a million; but

they was our dogs; so we stopped in our tracks till

they catched up; and when they see it warn't nobody

but us, and no excitement to offer them, they only just

said howdy, and tore right ahead towards the shouting

and clattering; and then we up-steam again, and

whizzed along after them till we was nearly to the

mill, and then struck up through the bush to where

my canoe was tied, and hopped in and pulled for dear

life towards the middle of the river, but didn't make

no more noise than we was obleeged to. Then we

struck out, easy and comfortable, for the island where

my raft was; and we could hear them yelling and

barking at each other all up and down the bank, till we

was so far away the sounds got dim and died out.

And when we stepped on to the raft I says:

"NOW, old Jim, you're a free man again, and I bet

you won't ever be a slave no more."

"En a mighty good job it wuz, too, Huck. It 'uz

planned beautiful, en it 'uz done beautiful; en dey

ain't NOBODY kin git up a plan dat's mo' mixed-up en

splendid den what dat one wuz."

We was all glad as we could be, but Tom was the

gladdest of all because he had a bullet in the calf of

his leg.

When me and Jim heard that we didn't feel so brash

as what we did before. It was hurting him consider-

able, and bleeding; so we laid him in the wigwam and

tore up one of the duke's shirts for to bandage him,

but he says:

"Gimme the rags; I can do it myself. Don't stop

now; don't fool around here, and the evasion booming

along so handsome; man the sweeps, and set her

loose! Boys, we done it elegant! -- 'deed we did. I

wish WE'D a had the handling of Louis XVI., there

wouldn't a been no 'Son of Saint Louis, ascend to

heaven!' wrote down in HIS biography; no, sir, we'd

a whooped him over the BORDER -- that's what we'd a

done with HIM -- and done it just as slick as nothing

at all, too. Man the sweeps -- man the sweeps!"

But me and Jim was consulting -- and thinking.

And after we'd thought a minute, I says:

"Say it, Jim."

So he says:

"Well, den, dis is de way it look to me, Huck. Ef

it wuz HIM dat 'uz bein' sot free, en one er de boys

wuz to git shot, would he say, 'Go on en save me,

nemmine 'bout a doctor f'r to save dis one?' Is dat

like Mars Tom Sawyer? Would he say dat? You BET

he wouldn't! WELL, den, is JIM gywne to say it?

No, sah -- I doan' budge a step out'n dis place 'dout

a DOCTOR, not if it's forty year!"

I knowed he was white inside, and I reckoned he'd

say what he did say -- so it was all right now, and I

told Tom I was a-going for a doctor. He raised con-

siderable row about it, but me and Jim stuck to it and

wouldn't budge; so he was for crawling out and set-

ting the raft loose himself; but we wouldn't let him.

Then he give us a piece of his mind, but it didn't do

no good.

So when he sees me getting the canoe ready, he


"Well, then, if you re bound to go, I'll tell you the

way to do when you get to the village. Shut the door

and blindfold the doctor tight and fast, and make him

swear to be silent as the grave, and put a purse full of

gold in his hand, and then take and lead him all around

the back alleys and everywheres in the dark, and then

fetch him here in the canoe, in a roundabout way

amongst the islands, and search him and take his chalk

away from him, and don't give it back to him till

you get him back to the village, or else he will chalk

this raft so he can find it again. It's the way they

all do."

So I said I would, and left, and Jim was to hide in

the woods when he see the doctor coming till he was

gone again.



THE doctor was an old man; a very nice, kind-look-

ing old man when I got him up. I told him

me and my brother was over on Spanish Island hunt-

ing yesterday afternoon, and camped on a piece of a

raft we found, and about midnight he must a kicked his

gun in his dreams, for it went off and shot him in the

leg, and we wanted him to go over there and fix it and

not say nothing about it, nor let anybody know, be-

cause we wanted to come home this evening and sur-

prise 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 sees 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 GUNS;

that's what I mean."

"Oh," he says.

But he put his foot on the gunnel and rocked her,

and shook his head, and said he reckoned he'd look

around for a bigger one. But they was all locked and

chained; so he took my canoe, and said for me to wait

till he come back, or I could hunt around further, or

maybe I better go down home and get them ready for

the surprise if I wanted to. But I said I didn't; so

I told him just how to find the raft, and then he started.

I struck an idea pretty soon. I says to myself,

spos'n he can't fix that leg just in three shakes of a

sheep's tail, as the saying is? spos'n it takes him three

or four days? What are we going to do? -- lay around

there till he lets the cat out of the bag? No, sir; I

know what I'LL do. I'll wait, and when he comes back

if he says he's got to go any more I'll get down there,

too, if I swim; and we'll take and tie him, and keep

him, and shove out down the river; and when Tom's

done with him we'll give him what it's worth, or all

we got, and then let him get ashore.

So then I crept into a lumber-pile to get some sleep;

and next time I waked up the sun was away up over

my head! I shot out and went for the doctor's

house, but they told me he'd gone away in the night

some time or other, and warn't back yet. Well, thinks

I, that looks powerful bad for Tom, and I'll dig out

for the island right off. So away I shoved, and turned

the corner, and nearly rammed my head into Uncle

Silas's stomach! He says:

"Why, TOM! Where you been all this time, you


"I hain't been nowheres," I says, "only just hunt-

ing 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 followed the men and the dogs, but they outrun us,

and we lost them; but we thought we heard them on

the water, so we got a canoe and took out after them

and crossed over, but couldn't find nothing of them;

so we cruised along up-shore till we got kind of tired

and beat out; and tied up the canoe and went to sleep,

and never waked up till about an hour ago; then we

paddled over here to hear the news, and Sid's at the

post-office to see what he can hear, and I'm a-branch-

ing out to get something to eat for us, and then we're

going home."

So then we went to the post-office to get "Sid"; but

just as I suspicioned, he warn't there; so the old man

he got a letter out of the office, and we waited awhile

longer, but Sid didn't come; so the old man said,

come along, let Sid foot it home, or canoe it, when he

got done fooling around -- but we would ride. I

couldn't get him to let me stay and wait for Sid; and

he said there warn't no use in it, and I must come

along, and let Aunt Sally see we was all right.

When we got home Aunt Sally was that glad to see

me she laughed and cried both, and hugged me, and

give me one of them lickings of hern that don't amount

to shucks, and said she'd serve Sid the same when he


And the place was plum full of farmers and farmers'

wives, to dinner; and such another clack a body never

heard. Old Mrs. Hotchkiss was the worst; her tongue

was a-going all the time. She says:

"Well, Sister Phelps, I've ransacked that-air cabin

over, an' I b'lieve the nigger was crazy. I says to

Sister Damrell -- didn't I, Sister Damrell? -- s'I, he's

crazy, s'I -- them's the very words I said. You all

hearn me: he's crazy, s'I; everything shows it, s'I.

Look at that-air grindstone, s'I; want to tell ME't any

cretur 't's in his right mind 's a goin' to scrabble all

them crazy things onto a grindstone, s'I? Here sich 'n'

sich a person busted his heart; 'n' here so 'n' so

pegged along for thirty-seven year, 'n' all that --

natcherl son o' Louis somebody, 'n' sich everlast'n

rubbage. He's plumb crazy, s'I; it's what I says in

the fust place, it's what I says in the middle, 'n' it's

what I says last 'n' all the time -- the nigger's crazy --

crazy 's Nebokoodneezer, s'I."

"An' look at that-air ladder made out'n rags, Sister

Hotchkiss," says old Mrs. Damrell; "what in the

name o' goodness COULD he ever want of --"

"The very words I was a-sayin' no longer ago th'n

this minute to Sister Utterback, 'n' she'll tell you so

herself. Sh-she, look at that-air rag ladder, sh-she;

'n' s'I, yes, LOOK at it, s'I -- what COULD he a-wanted

of it, s'I. Sh-she, Sister Hotchkiss, sh-she --"

"But how in the nation'd they ever GIT that grind-

stone IN there, ANYWAY? 'n' who dug that-air HOLE? 'n'

who --"

"My very WORDS, Brer Penrod! I was a-sayin' --

pass that-air sasser o' m'lasses, won't ye? -- I was

a-sayin' to Sister Dunlap, jist this minute, how DID they

git that grindstone in there, s'I. Without HELP, mind

you -- 'thout HELP! THAT'S wher 'tis. Don't tell ME,

s'I; there WUZ help, s'I; 'n' ther' wuz a PLENTY help,

too, s'I; ther's ben a DOZEN a-helpin' that nigger, 'n' I

lay I'd skin every last nigger on this place but I'D find

out who done it, s'I; 'n' moreover, s'I --"

"A DOZEN says you! -- FORTY couldn't a done every

thing 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 WELL say it, Brer Hightower! It's jist as

I was a-sayin' to Brer Phelps, his own self. S'e, what

do YOU think of it, Sister Hotchkiss, s'e? Think o'

what, Brer Phelps, s'I? Think o' that bed-leg sawed

off that a way, s'e? THINK of it, s'I? I lay it never

sawed ITSELF off, s'I -- somebody SAWED it, s'I; that's

my opinion, take it or leave it, it mayn't be no 'count,

s'I, but sich as 't is, it's my opinion, s'I, 'n' if any

body k'n start a better one, s'I, let him DO it, s'I,

that's all. I says to Sister Dunlap, s'I --"

"Why, dog my cats, they must a ben a house-full o'

niggers in there every night for four weeks to a done

all that work, Sister Phelps. Look at that shirt --

every last inch of it kivered over with secret African

writ'n done with blood! Must a ben a raft uv 'm at it

right along, all the time, amost. Why, I'd give two

dollars to have it read to me; 'n' as for the niggers

that wrote it, I 'low I'd take 'n' lash 'm t'll --"

"People to HELP him, Brother Marples! Well, I

reckon you'd THINK so if you'd a been in this house for

a while back. Why, they've stole everything they

could lay their hands on -- and we a-watching all the

time, mind you. They stole that shirt right off o' the

line! and as for that sheet they made the rag ladder out

of, ther' ain't no telling how many times they DIDN'T

steal that; and flour, and candles, and candlesticks,

and spoons, and the old warming-pan, and most a

thousand things that I disremember now, and my new

calico dress; and me and Silas and my Sid and Tom

on the constant watch day AND night, as I was a-telling

you, and not a one of us could catch hide nor hair nor

sight nor sound of them; and here at the last minute,

lo and behold you, they slides right in under our noses

and fools us, and not only fools US but the Injun Terri-

tory robbers too, and actuly gets AWAY with that nigger

safe and sound, and that with sixteen men and twenty-

two dogs right on their very heels at that very time!

I tell you, it just bangs anything I ever HEARD of.

Why, SPERITS couldn't a done better and been no

smarter. And I reckon they must a BEEN sperits -- be-

cause, YOU know our dogs, and ther' ain't no better;

well, them dogs never even got on the TRACK of 'm

once! You explain THAT to me if you can! -- ANY of


"Well, it does beat --"

"Laws alive, I never --"

"So help me, I wouldn't a be --"

"HOUSE-thieves as well as --"

"Goodnessgracioussakes, I'd a ben afeard to live in

sich a --"

"'Fraid to LIVE! -- why, I was that scared I dasn't

hardly go to bed, or get up, or lay down, or SET down,

Sister Ridgeway. Why, they'd steal the very -- why,

goodness sakes, you can guess what kind of a fluster I

was in by the time midnight come last night. I hope

to gracious if I warn't afraid they'd steal some o' the

family! I was just to that pass I didn't have no reason-

ing faculties no more. It looks foolish enough NOW, in

the daytime; but I says to myself, there's my two poor

boys asleep, 'way up stairs in that lonesome room, and

I declare to goodness I was that uneasy 't I crep' up

there and locked 'em in! I DID. And anybody would.

Because, you know, when you get scared that way,

and it keeps running on, and getting worse and worse

all the time, and your wits gets to addling, and you get

to doing all sorts o' wild things, and by and by you

think to yourself, spos'n I was a boy, and was away up

there, and the door ain't locked, and you --" She

stopped, looking kind of wondering, and then she

turned her head around slow, and when her eye lit on

me -- I got up and took a 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 'll go."

Well, he warn't there to supper; so right after

supper uncle went.

He come back about ten a little bit uneasy; hadn't

run across Tom's track. Aunt Sally was a good DEAL

uneasy; but Uncle Silas he said there warn't no occa-

sion to be -- boys will be boys, he said, and you'll see

this one turn up in the morning all sound and right.

So she had to be satisfied. But she said she'd set up

for him a while anyway, and keep a light burning so he

could see it.

And then when I went up to bed she come up with

me and fetched her candle, and tucked me in, and

mothered me so good I felt mean, and like I couldn't

look her in the face; and she set down on the bed and

talked with me a long time, and said what a splendid

boy Sid was, and didn't seem to want to ever stop

talking about him; and kept asking me every now and

then if I reckoned he could a got lost, or hurt, or

maybe drownded, and might be laying at this minute

somewheres suffering or dead, and she not by him to

help him, and so the tears would drip down silent, and

I would tell her that Sid was all right, and would be

home in the morning, sure; and she would squeeze my

hand, or maybe kiss me, and tell me to say it again,

and keep on saying it, because it done her good, and

she was in so much trouble. And when she was going

away she looked down in my eyes so steady and gentle,

and says:

"The door ain't going to be locked, Tom, and

there's the window and the rod; but you'll be good,

WON'T you? And you won't go? For MY sake."

Laws knows I WANTED to go bad enough to see about

Tom, and was all intending to go; but after that I

wouldn't a went, not for kingdoms.

But she was on my mind and Tom was on my mind,

so I slept very restless. And twice I went down the

rod away in the night, and slipped around front, and

see her setting there by her candle in the window with

her eyes towards the road and the tears in them; and

I wished I could do something for her, but I couldn't,

only to swear that I wouldn't never do nothing to

grieve her any more. And the third time I waked up

at dawn, and slid down, and she was there yet, and

her candle was most out, and her old gray head was

resting on her hand, and she was asleep.



THE old man was uptown again before breakfast, but

couldn't get no track of Tom; and both of them

set at the table thinking, and not saying nothing, and

looking mournful, and their coffee getting cold, and

not eating anything. And by and by the old man


"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 some-

wheres where he had laid it down, and fetched it, and

give it to her. She says:

"Why, it's from St. Petersburg -- it's from Sis."

I allowed another walk would do me good; but I

couldn't stir. But before she could break it open she

dropped it and run -- for she see something. And so

did I. It was Tom Sawyer on a mattress; and that old

doctor; and Jim, in HER calico dress, with his hands

tied behind him; and a lot of people. I hid the letter

behind the first thing that come handy, and rushed.

She flung herself at Tom, crying, and says:

"Oh, he's dead, he's dead, I know he's dead!"

And Tom he turned his head a little, and muttered

something or other, which showed he warn't in his

right mind; then she flung up her hands, and says:

"He's alive, thank God! And that's enough!"

and she snatched a kiss of him, and flew for the house

to get the bed ready, and scattering orders right and left

at the niggers and everybody else, as fast as her tongue

could go, every jump of the way.

I followed the men to see what they was going to do

with Jim; and the old doctor and Uncle Silas followed

after Tom into the house. The men was very huffy,

and some of them wanted to hang Jim for an example

to all the other niggers around there, so they wouldn't

be trying to run away like Jim done, and making such

a raft of trouble, and keeping a whole family scared

most to death for days and nights. But the others said,

don't do it, it wouldn't answer at all; he ain't our

nigger, and his owner would turn up and make us pay

for him, sure. So that cooled them down a little, be-

cause the people that's always the most anxious for to

hang a nigger that hain't done just right is always the

very ones that ain't the most anxious to pay for him

when they've got their satisfaction out of him.

They cussed Jim considerble, though, and give him

a cuff or two side the head once in a while, but Jim

never said nothing, and he never let on to know me,

and they took him to the same cabin, and put his own

clothes on him, and chained him again, and not to no

bed-leg this time, but to a big staple drove into the bot-

tom 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 auc-

tion because he didn't come in a certain length of time,

and filled up our hole, and said a couple of farmers

with guns must stand watch around about the cabin

every night, and a bulldog tied to the door in the day-

time; and about this time they was through with the

job and was tapering off with a kind of generl good-bye

cussing, and then the old doctor comes and takes a

look, and says:

"Don't be no rougher on him than you're obleeged

to, because he ain't a bad nigger. When I got to

where I found the boy I see I couldn't cut the bullet

out without some help, and he warn't in no condition

for me to leave to go and get help; and he got a little

worse and a little worse, and after a long time he went

out of his head, and wouldn't let me come a-nigh him

any more, and said if I chalked his raft he'd kill me,

and no end of wild foolishness like that, and I see I

couldn't do anything at all with him; so I says, I got

to have HELP somehow; and the minute I says it out

crawls this nigger from somewheres and says he'll help,

and he done it, too, and done it very well. Of course

I judged he must be a runaway nigger, and there I WAS!

and there I had to stick right straight along all the rest

of the day and all night. It was a fix, I tell you! I

had a couple of patients with the chills, and of course

I'd of liked to run up to town and see them, but I

dasn't, because the nigger might get away, and then I'd

be to blame; and yet never a skiff come close enough

for me to hail. So there I had to stick plumb until

daylight this morning; and I never see a nigger that

was a better nuss or 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 lately.

I liked the nigger for that; I tell you, gentlemen, a

nigger like that is worth a thousand dollars -- and kind

treatment, too. I had everything I needed, and the

boy was doing as well there as he would a done at

home -- better, maybe, because it was so quiet; but

there I WAS, with both of 'm on my hands, and there

I had to stick till about dawn this morning; then some

men in a skiff come by, and as good luck would have

it the nigger was setting by the pallet with his head

propped on his knees sound asleep; so I motioned

them in quiet, and they slipped up on him and grabbed

him and tied him before he knowed what he was

about, and we never had no trouble. And the boy

being in a kind of a flighty sleep, too, we muffled the

oars and hitched the raft on, and towed her over very

nice and quiet, and the nigger never made the least

row nor said a word from the start. He ain't no bad

nigger, gentlemen; that's what I think about him."

Somebody says:

"Well, it sounds very good, doctor, I'm obleeged to


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 judg-

ment of him, too; because I thought he had a good

heart in him and was a good man the first time I see

him. Then they all agreed that Jim had acted very

well, and was deserving to have some notice took of

it, and reward. So every one of them promised, right

out and hearty, that they wouldn't cuss him no more.

Then they come out and locked him up. I hoped

they was going to say he could have one or two of the

chains took off, because they was rotten heavy, or could

have meat and greens with his bread and water; but

they didn't think of it, and I reckoned it warn't best

for me to mix in, but I judged I'd get the doctor's yarn

to Aunt Sally somehow or other as soon as I'd got

through the breakers that was laying just ahead of me --

explanations, I mean, of how I forgot to mention about

Sid being shot when I was telling how him and me put

in that dratted night paddling around hunting the run-

away nigger.

But I had plenty time. Aunt Sally she stuck to the

sick-room all day and all night, and every time I see

Uncle Silas mooning around I dodged him.

Next morning I heard Tom was a good deal better,

and they said Aunt Sally was gone to get a nap. So

I slips to the sick-room, and if I found him awake I

reckoned we could put up a yarn for the family that

would wash. But he was sleeping, and sleeping very

peaceful, too; and pale, not fire-faced the way he was

when he come. So I set down and laid for him to

wake. In about half an hour Aunt Sally comes gliding

in, and there I was, up a stump again! She motioned

me to be still, and set down by me, and begun to

whisper, and said we could all be joyful now, because

all the symptoms was first-rate, and he'd been sleeping

like that for ever so long, and looking better and peace-

fuller all the time, and ten to one he'd wake up in his

right mind.

So we set there watching, and by and by he stirs a

bit, and opened his eyes very natural, and takes a look,

and says:

"Hello! -- why, I'm at HOME! How's that?

Where's the raft?"

"It's all right," I says.

"And JIM?"

"The same," I says, but couldn't say it pretty

brash. But he never noticed, but says:

"Good! Splendid! NOW we're all right and safe!

Did you tell Aunty?"

I was going to say yes; but she chipped in and says:

"About what, Sid?"

"Why, about the way the whole thing was done."

"What whole thing?"

"Why, THE whole thing. There ain't but one; how

we set the runaway nigger free -- me and Tom."

"Good land! Set the run -- What IS the child

talking about! Dear, dear, out of his head again!"

"NO, I ain't out of my HEAD; I know all what I'm

talking about. We DID set him free -- me and Tom.

We laid out to do it, and we DONE it. And we done

it elegant, too." He'd got a start, and she never

checked him up, just set and stared and stared, and let

him clip along, and I see it warn't no use for ME to put

in. "Why, Aunty, it cost us a power of work --

weeks of it -- hours and hours, every night, whilst you

was all asleep. And we had to steal candles, and the

sheet, and the shirt, and your dress, and spoons, and

tin plates, and case-knives, and the warming-pan, and

the grindstone, and flour, and just no end of things, and

you can't think what work it was to make the saws, and

pens, and inscriptions, and one thing or another, and

you can't think HALF the fun it was. And we had to

make up the pictures of coffins and things, and non-

namous letters from the robbers, and get up and down

the lightning-rod, and dig the hole into the cabin, and

made 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 WASN'T

it bully, Aunty!"

"Well, I never heard the likes of it in all my born

days! So it was YOU, you little rapscallions, that's been

making all this trouble, and turned everybody's wits

clean inside out and scared us all most to death. I've as

good a notion as ever I had in my life to take it out o'

you this very minute. To think, here I've been, night

after night, a -- YOU just get well once, you young

scamp, and I lay I'll tan the Old Harry out o' both o'


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?"

"HIM?" says Aunt Sally; "the runaway nigger?

'Deed he hasn't. They've got him back, safe and

sound, and he's in that cabin again, on bread and

water, and loaded down with chains, till he's claimed

or sold!"

Tom rose square up in bed, with his eye hot, and

his nostrils opening and shutting like gills, and sings

out to me:

"They hain't no RIGHT to shut him up! SHOVE! --

and don't you lose a minute. Turn him loose! he

ain't no slave; he's as free as any cretur that walks

this earth!"

"What DOES the child mean?"

"I mean every word I SAY, Aunt Sally, and if some-

body don't go, I'LL go. I've knowed him all his life,

and so has Tom, there. Old Miss Watson died two

months ago, and she was ashamed she ever was going

to sell him down the river, and SAID so; and she set

him free in her will."

"Then what on earth did YOU want to set him free

for, seeing he was already free?"

"Well, that IS a question, I must say; and just like

women! Why, I wanted the ADVENTURE of it; and I'd

a waded neck-deep in blood to -- goodness alive, AUNT


If she warn't standing right there, just inside the

door, looking as sweet and contented as an angel half

full of pie, I wish I may never!

Aunt Sally jumped for her, and most hugged the

head off of her, and cried over her, and I found a

good enough place for me under the bed, for it was

getting pretty sultry for us, seemed to me. And I

peeped out, and in a little while Tom's Aunt Polly

shook herself loose and stood there looking across at

Tom over her spectacles -- kind of grinding him into

the earth, you know. And then she says:

"Yes, you BETTER turn y'r head away -- I would if I

was you, Tom."

"Oh, deary me!" says Aunt Sally; "IS he changed

so? Why, that ain't TOM, it's Sid; Tom's -- Tom's

-- why, where is Tom? He was here a minute ago."

"You mean where's Huck FINN -- that's what you

mean! I reckon I hain't raised such a scamp as my

Tom all these years not to know him when I SEE him.

That WOULD be a pretty howdy-do. Come out from

under that bed, Huck Finn."

So I done it. But not feeling brash.

Aunt Sally she was one of the mixed-upest-looking

persons I ever see -- except one, and that was Uncle

Silas, when he come in and they told it all to him. It

kind of made him drunk, as you may say, and he

didn't know nothing at all the rest of the day, and

preached a prayer-meeting sermon that night that gave

him a rattling ruputation, because the oldest man in

the world couldn't a understood it. So Tom's Aunt

Polly, she told all about who I was, and what; and I

had to up and tell how I was in such a tight place that

when Mrs. Phelps took me for Tom Sawyer -- she

chipped in and says, "Oh, go on and call me Aunt

Sally, I'm used to it now, and '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 ad-

venture out of it, and be perfectly satisfied. And so

it turned out, and he let on to be Sid, and made things

as soft as he could for me.

And his Aunt Polly she said Tom was right about

old Miss Watson setting Jim free in her will; and so,

sure enough, Tom Sawyer had gone and took all that

trouble and bother to set a free nigger free! and I

couldn't ever understand before, until that minute and

that talk, how he COULD help a body set a nigger free

with his bringing-up.

Well, Aunt Polly she said that when Aunt Sally

wrote to her that Tom and SID had come all right and

safe, she says to herself:

"Look at that, now! I might have expected it,

letting him go off that way without anybody to watch

him. So now I got to go and trapse all the way down

the river, eleven hundred mile, and find out what that

creetur's up to THIS time, as long as I couldn't seem to

get any answer out of you about it."

"Why, I never heard nothing from you," says

Aunt Sally.

"Well, I wonder! Why, I wrote you twice to ask

you what you could mean by Sid being here."

"Well, I never got 'em, Sis."

Aunt Polly she turns around slow and severe, and


"You, Tom!"

"Well -- WHAT?" he says, kind of pettish.

"Don t you what ME, you impudent thing -- hand

out them letters."

"What letters?"

"THEM letters. I be bound, if I have to take a-

holt of you I'll --"

"They're in the trunk. There, now. And they're

just the same as they was when I got them out of the

office. I hain't looked into them, I hain't touched

them. But I knowed they'd make trouble, and I

thought if you warn't in no hurry, I'd --"

"Well, you DO need skinning, there ain't no mistake

about it. And I wrote another one to tell you I was

coming; and I s'pose he --"

"No, it come yesterday; I hain't read it yet, but

IT'S all right, I've got that one."

I wanted to offer to bet two dollars she hadn't, but I

reckoned maybe it was just as safe to not to. So I

never said nothing.



THE first time I catched Tom private I asked him

what was his idea, time of the evasion? -- what it

was he'd planned to do if the evasion worked all right

and he managed to set a nigger free that was already

free before? And he said, what he had planned in his

head from the start, if we got Jim out all safe, was for

us to run him down the river on the raft, and have

adventures plumb to the mouth of the river, and then

tell him about his being free, and take him back up

home on a steamboat, in style, and pay him for his

lost time, and write word ahead and get out all the

niggers around, and have them waltz him into town

with a torchlight procession and a brass-band, and then

he would be a hero, and so would we. But I reckoned

it was about as well the way it was.

We had Jim out of the chains in no time, and when

Aunt Polly and Uncle Silas and Aunt Sally found out

how good he helped the doctor nurse Tom, they made

a heap of fuss over him, and fixed him up prime, and

give him all he wanted to eat, and a good time, and

nothing to do. And we had him up to the sick-room,

and had a high talk; and Tom give Jim forty dollars

for being prisoner for us so patient, and doing it up so

good, and Jim was pleased most to death, and busted

out, and says:

"DAH, now, Huck, what I tell you? -- what I tell

you up dah on Jackson islan'? I TOLE you I got a

hairy breas', en what's de sign un it; en I TOLE you I

ben rich wunst, en gwineter to be rich AGIN; 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 outfit, and go for howling adventures

amongst the Injuns, over in the Territory, for a couple

of weeks or two; and I says, all right, that suits me,

but I ain't got no money for to buy the outfit, and I

reckon I couldn't get none from home, because it's

likely pap's been back before now, and got it all away

from Judge Thatcher and drunk it up.

"No, he hain't," Tom says; "it's all there yet --

six thousand dollars and more; and your pap hain't

ever been back since. Hadn't when I come away,


Jim says, kind of solemn:

"He ain't a-comin' back no mo', Huck."

I says:

"Why, Jim?"

"Nemmine why, Huck -- but he ain't comin' back

no mo."

But I kept at him; so at last he says:

"Doan' you 'member de house dat was float'n down

de river, en dey wuz a man in dah, kivered up, en I

went in en unkivered him and didn' let you come in?

Well, den, you kin git yo' money when you wants it,

kase dat wuz him."

Tom's most well now, and got his bullet around his

neck on a watch-guard for a watch, and is always

seeing what time it is, and so there ain't nothing more

to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if

I'd a knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I

wouldn't a tackled it, and ain't a-going to no more.

But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead

of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt

me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there