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  • THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN By Mark Twain

  • NOTICE: PERSONS attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted;

  • persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to

  • find a plot in it will be shot.

  • BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR, Per G.G., Chief of Ordnance.

  • EXPLANATORY: IN this book a number of dialects are used, to wit: the Missouri

  • negro dialect; the extremest form of the backwoods Southwestern dialect; the

  • ordinary "Pike County" dialect; and four modified varieties of this last.

  • The shadings have not been done in a haphazard fashion, or by guesswork; but

  • painstakingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal

  • familiarity with these several forms of speech.

  • I make this explanation for the reason that without it many readers would suppose that

  • all these characters were trying to talk alike and not succeeding.

  • THE AUTHOR.

  • ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN Scene: The Mississippi Valley Time: Forty

  • to fifty years ago

  • Chapter I. YOU don't know about me without you have

  • read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter.

  • That book was made by Mr.

  • Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but

  • mainly he told the truth. That is nothing.

  • I never seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it was Aunt Polly, or the

  • widow, or maybe Mary.

  • Aunt Polly--Tom's Aunt Polly, she is--and Mary, and the Widow Douglas is all told

  • about in that book, which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as I said

  • before.

  • Now the way that the book winds up is this: Tom and me found the money that the robbers

  • hid in the cave, and it made us rich. We got six thousand dollars apiece--all

  • gold.

  • It was an awful sight of money when it was piled up.

  • Well, Judge Thatcher he took it and put it out at interest, and it fetched us a dollar

  • a day apiece all the year round --more than a body could tell what to do with.

  • The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it

  • was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent

  • the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn't stand it no longer I lit out.

  • I got into my old rags and my sugar- hogshead again, and was free and satisfied.

  • But Tom Sawyer he hunted me up and said he was going to start a band of robbers, and I

  • might join if I would go back to the widow and be respectable.

  • So I went back.

  • The widow she cried over me, and called me a poor lost lamb, and she called me a lot

  • of other names, too, but she never meant no harm by it.

  • She put me in them new clothes again, and I couldn't do nothing but sweat and sweat,

  • and feel all cramped up. Well, then, the old thing commenced again.

  • The widow rung a bell for supper, and you had to come to time.

  • When you got to the table you couldn't go right to eating, but you had to wait for

  • the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little over the victuals, though there

  • warn't really anything the matter with

  • them,--that is, nothing only everything was cooked by itself.

  • In a barrel of odds and ends it is different; things get mixed up, and the

  • juice kind of swaps around, and the things go better.

  • After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers,

  • and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by and by she let it out that

  • Moses had been dead a considerable long

  • time; so then I didn't care no more about him, because I don't take no stock in dead

  • people. Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked

  • the widow to let me.

  • But she wouldn't. She said it was a mean practice and wasn't

  • clean, and I must try to not do it any more.

  • That is just the way with some people.

  • They get down on a thing when they don't know nothing about it.

  • Here she was a-bothering about Moses, which was no kin to her, and no use to anybody,

  • being gone, you see, yet finding a power of fault with me for doing a thing that had

  • some good in it.

  • And she took snuff, too; of course that was all right, because she done it herself.

  • Her sister, Miss Watson, a tolerable slim old maid, with goggles on, had just come to

  • live with her, and took a set at me now with a spelling-book.

  • She worked me middling hard for about an hour, and then the widow made her ease up.

  • I couldn't stood it much longer. Then for an hour it was deadly dull, and I

  • was fidgety.

  • Miss Watson would say, "Don't put your feet up there, Huckleberry;" and "Don't scrunch

  • up like that, Huckleberry--set up straight;" and pretty soon she would say,

  • "Don't gap and stretch like that, Huckleberry--why don't you try to behave?"

  • Then she told me all about the bad place, and I said I wished I was there.

  • She got mad then, but I didn't mean no harm.

  • All I wanted was to go somewheres; all I wanted was a change, I warn't particular.

  • She said it was wicked to say what I said; said she wouldn't say it for the whole

  • world; she was going to live so as to go to the good place.

  • Well, I couldn't see no advantage in going where she was going, so I made up my mind I

  • wouldn't try for it. But I never said so, because it would only

  • make trouble, and wouldn't do no good.

  • Now she had got a start, and she went on and told me all about the good place.

  • She said all a body would have to do there was to go around all day long with a harp

  • and sing, forever and ever.

  • So I didn't think much of it. But I never said so.

  • I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she said not by a

  • considerable sight.

  • I was glad about that, because I wanted him and me to be together.

  • Miss Watson she kept pecking at me, and it got tiresome and lonesome.

  • By and by they fetched the niggers in and had prayers, and then everybody was off to

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

  • candle, and put it on the table.

  • Then I set down in a chair by the window and tried to think of something cheerful,

  • but it warn't no use. I felt so lonesome I most wished I was

  • dead.

  • The stars were shining, and the leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and

  • I heard an owl, away off, who-whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill

  • and a dog crying about somebody that was

  • going to die; and the wind was trying to whisper something to me, and I couldn't

  • make out what it was, and so it made the cold shivers run over me.

  • Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it

  • wants to tell about something that's on its mind and can't make itself understood, and

  • so can't rest easy in its grave, and has to go about that way every night grieving.

  • I got so down-hearted and scared I did wish I had some company.

  • Pretty soon a spider went crawling up my shoulder, and I flipped it off and it lit

  • in the candle; and before I could budge it was all shriveled up.

  • I didn't need anybody to tell me that that was an awful bad sign and would fetch me

  • some bad luck, so I was scared and most shook the clothes off of me.

  • I got up and turned around in my tracks three times and crossed my breast every

  • time; and then I tied up a little lock of my hair with a thread to keep witches away.

  • But I hadn't no confidence.

  • You do that when you've lost a 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.

  • >

  • Chapter II. 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 shoulders.

  • Seemed like I'd die if I couldn't scratch.

  • Well, I've noticed that thing plenty times since.

  • If you are with the quality, or at a funeral, or trying to go to sleep when you

  • ain't sleepy--if you are anywheres where it won't do for you to scratch, why you will

  • itch all over in upwards of a thousand places.

  • Pretty soon Jim says: "Say, who is you?

  • Whar is you?

  • Dog my cats ef I didn' hear sumf'n. Well, I 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 underneath.

  • I didn't know how I was going to set still. This miserableness went on as much as six

  • or seven minutes; but it seemed a sight longer than that.

  • I was itching in eleven different places now.

  • I reckoned I couldn't stand it more'n a minute longer, but I set my teeth hard and

  • got ready to try.

  • Just then Jim begun to breathe heavy; next he begun to snore--and then I was pretty

  • soon comfortable again.

  • Tom he made a sign to me--kind of a little noise with his mouth--and we went creeping

  • away on our hands and knees.

  • When we was ten foot off Tom whispered to me, and wanted to tie Jim to the tree for

  • fun.

  • But I said no; he might wake and make a disturbance, and then they'd find out I

  • warn't in.

  • Then Tom said he hadn't got candles enough, and he would slip in the kitchen and get

  • some more. I didn't want him to try.

  • I said Jim might wake up and come.

  • But Tom wanted to resk it; so we slid in there and got three candles, and Tom laid

  • five cents on the table for pay.

  • Then we got out, and I was in a sweat to get away; but nothing would do Tom but he

  • must crawl to where Jim was, on his hands and knees, and play something on him.

  • I waited, and it seemed a good while, everything was so still and lonesome.

  • As soon as Tom was back we cut along the path, around the garden fence, and by and

  • by fetched up on the steep top of the hill the other side of the house.

  • Tom said he slipped Jim's hat off of his head and hung it on a limb right over him,

  • and Jim stirred a little, but he didn't wake.

  • 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 something to it; but he never told what it was he said

  • to it.

  • Niggers would come from all around there and give Jim anything they had, just for a

  • sight of that five-center piece; but they wouldn't touch it, because the devil had

  • had his hands on it.

  • Jim was most ruined for a servant, because he got stuck up on account of having seen

  • the devil and been rode by witches.

  • Well, when Tom and me got to the edge of the hilltop we looked away down into the

  • village and could see three or four lights twinkling, where there was sick folks,

  • maybe; and the stars over us was sparkling

  • ever so fine; and down by the village was the river, a whole mile broad, and awful

  • still and grand.

  • We went down the hill and found 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