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the adventures of huckleberry finnby mark twain notice: persons attempting to find a motivein this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in itwill be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot. by order of the author, per g.g., chief ofordnance. explanatory: in this book a number ofdialects are used, to wit: the missouri negro dialect; the extremest form of thebackwoods southwestern dialect; the ordinary "pike county" dialect; and fourmodified varieties of this last. the shadings have not been done in ahaphazard fashion, or by guesswork; but
painstakingly, and with the trustworthyguidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms ofspeech. i make this explanation for the reason thatwithout it many readers would suppose that all these characters were trying to talkalike and not succeeding. the author. adventures of huckleberry finnscene: 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 adventuresof 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 oranother, without it was aunt polly, or the widow, or maybe mary. aunt polly--tom's aunt polly, she is--andmary, and the widow douglas is all told about in that book, which is mostly a truebook, 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 waspiled up. well, judge thatcher he took it and put itout at interest, and it fetched us a dollar a day apiece all the year round --more thana 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 wheni 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 hewas going to start a band of robbers, and i might join if i would go back to the widowand be respectable. so i went back. the widow she cried over me, and called mea poor lost lamb, and she called me a lot of other names, too, but she never meant noharm by it. she put me in them new clothes again, and icouldn'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 youhad to come to time. when you got to the table you couldn't goright to eating, but you had to wait for
the widow to tuck down her head and grumblea little over the victuals, though there warn't really anything the matter with them,--that is, nothing only everything wascooked by itself. in a barrel of odds and ends it isdifferent; things get mixed up, and the juice kind of swaps around, and the thingsgo better. after supper she got out her book andlearned me about moses and the bulrushers, and i was in a sweat to find out all abouthim; 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 abouthim, 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 anymore. that is just the way with some people. they get down on a thing when they don'tknow nothing about it. here she was a-bothering about moses, whichwas no kin to her, and no use to anybody, being gone, you see, yet finding a power offault with me for doing a thing that had some good in it.
and she took snuff, too; of course that wasall right, because she done it herself. her sister, miss watson, a tolerable slimold maid, with goggles on, had just come to live with her, and took a set at me nowwith a spelling-book. she worked me middling hard for about anhour, 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 feetup there, huckleberry;" and "don't scrunch up like that, huckleberry--set upstraight;" 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 noharm. all i wanted was to go somewheres; all iwanted 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 tothe good place. well, i couldn't see no advantage in goingwhere 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 onand told me all about the good place.
she said all a body would have to do therewas 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 sawyerwould go there, and she said not by a considerable sight. i was glad about that, because i wanted himand me to be together. miss watson she kept pecking at me, and itgot tiresome and lonesome. by and by they fetched the niggers in andhad 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 windowand 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 leavesrustled in the woods ever so mournful; and i heard an owl, away off, who-whooing aboutsomebody that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog crying about somebody that was going to die; and the wind was trying towhisper something to me, and i couldn't make out what it was, and so it made thecold shivers run over me.
then away out in the woods i heard thatkind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that's on itsmind and can't make itself understood, and so can't rest easy in its grave, and has togo about that way every night grieving. i got so down-hearted and scared i did wishi had some company. pretty soon a spider went crawling up myshoulder, and i flipped it off and it lit in the candle; and before i could budge itwas all shriveled up. i didn't need anybody to tell me that thatwas an awful bad sign and would fetch me some bad luck, so i was scared and mostshook the clothes off of me. i got up and turned around in my tracksthree times and crossed my breast every
time; and then i tied up a little lock ofmy hair with a thread to keep witches away. but i hadn't no confidence. you do that when you've lost a horseshoethat you've found, instead of nailing it up over the door, but i hadn't ever heardanybody say it was any way to keep off bad luck when you'd killed a spider. i set down again, a-shaking all over, andgot out my pipe for a smoke; for the house was all as still as death now, and so thewidow wouldn't know. well, after a long time i heard the clockaway off in the town go boom--boom--boom-- twelve licks; and all still again--stillerthan ever.
pretty soon i heard a twig snap down in thedark 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 icould, and then i put out the light and scrambled out of the window on to the shed. then i slipped down to the ground andcrawled in among the trees, and, sure enough, there was tom sawyer waiting forme. >
chapter ii.we went tiptoeing along a path amongst the trees back towards the end of the widow'sgarden, stooping down so as the branches wouldn't scrape our heads. when we was passing by the kitchen i fellover a root and made a noise. we scrouched down and laid still. miss watson's big nigger, named jim, wassetting in the kitchen door; we could see him pretty clear, because there was a lightbehind him. he got up and stretched his neck out abouta minute, listening. then he says:"who dah?"
he listened some more; then he cometiptoeing down and stood right between us; we could a touched him, nearly. well, likely it was minutes and minutesthat there warn't a sound, and we all there so close together. there was a place on my ankle that got toitching, 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 timessince. if you are with the quality, or at afuneral, or trying to go to sleep when you
ain't sleepy--if you are anywheres where itwon't do for you to scratch, why you will itch all over in upwards of a thousandplaces. 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 ihears it agin." so he set down on the ground betwixt me andtom. he leaned his back up against a tree, andstretched 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 sightlonger than that. i was itching in eleven different placesnow. i reckoned i couldn't stand it more'n aminute longer, but i set my teeth hard and got ready to try. just then jim begun to breathe heavy; nexthe begun to snore--and then i was pretty
soon comfortable again. tom he made a sign to me--kind of a littlenoise with his mouth--and we went creeping away on our hands and knees. when we was ten foot off tom whispered tome, and wanted to tie jim to the tree for fun. but i said no; he might wake and make adisturbance, 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 inthere and got three candles, and tom laid five cents on the table for pay. then we got out, and i was in a sweat toget away; but nothing would do tom but he must crawl to where jim was, on his handsand 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 thepath, around the garden fence, and by and by fetched up on the steep top of the hillthe other side of the house. tom said he slipped jim's hat off of hishead and hung it on a limb right over him,
and jim stirred a little, but he didn'twake. afterwards jim said the witches be witchedhim and put him in a trance, and rode him all over the state, and then set him underthe trees again, and hung his hat on a limb to show who done it. and next time jim told it he said they rodehim down to new orleans; and, after that, every time he told it he spread it more andmore, 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 hegot so he wouldn't hardly notice the other
niggers. niggers would come miles to hear jim tellabout it, and he was more looked up to than any nigger in that country. strange niggers would stand with theirmouths open and look him all over, same as if he was a wonder. niggers is always talking about witches inthe dark by the kitchen fire; but whenever one was talking and letting on to know allabout such things, jim would happen in and say, "hm! what you know 'bout witches?" and thatnigger was corked up and had to take a back
seat. jim always kept that five-center pieceround his neck with a string, and said it was a charm the devil give to him with hisown hands, and told him he could cure anybody with it and fetch witches whenever he wanted to just by saying something toit; but he never told what it was he said to it. niggers would come from all around thereand give jim anything they had, just for a sight of that five-center piece; but theywouldn't touch it, because the devil had had his hands on it.
jim was most ruined for a servant, becausehe got stuck up on account of having seen the devil and been rode by witches. well, when tom and me got to the edge ofthe hilltop we looked away down into the village and could see three or four lightstwinkling, where there was sick folks, maybe; and the stars over us was sparkling ever so fine; and down by the village wasthe river, a whole mile broad, and awful still and grand. we went down the hill and found jo harperand ben rogers, and two or three more of the boys, hid in the old tanyard.
so we unhitched a skiff and pulled down theriver two mile and a half, to the big scar on the hillside, and went ashore. we went to a clump of bushes, and tom madeeverybody swear to keep the secret, and then showed them a hole in the hill, rightin the thickest part of the bushes. then we lit the candles, and crawled in onour hands and knees. we went about two hundred yards, and thenthe cave opened up. tom poked about amongst the passages, andpretty 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 akind of room, all damp and sweaty and cold,
and there we stopped.tom says: "now, we'll start this band of robbers andcall it tom sawyer's gang. everybody that wants to join has got totake an oath, and write his name in blood." everybody was willing. so tom got out a sheet of paper that he hadwrote 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 theband, 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 hehad killed them and hacked a cross in their
breasts, which was the sign of the band. and nobody that didn't belong to the bandcould use that mark, and if he did he must be sued; and if he done it again he must bekilled. and if anybody that belonged to the bandtold the secrets, he must have his throat cut, and then have his carcass burnt up andthe ashes scattered all around, and his name blotted off of the list with blood and never mentioned again by the gang, but havea curse put on it and be forgot forever. everybody said it was a real beautifuloath, and asked tom if he got it out of his own head.
he said, some of it, but the rest was outof 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 apencil 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 tomsawyer. "yes, he's got a father, but you can'tnever find him these days. he used to lay drunk with the hogs in thetanyard, but he hain't been seen in these
parts for a year or more." they talked it over, and they was going torule me out, because they said every boy must have a family or somebody to kill, orelse 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 ithought of a way, and so i offered them miss watson--they could kill her. everybody said:"oh, she'll do. that's all right.huck can come in."
then they all stuck a pin in their fingersto get blood to sign with, and i made my mark on the paper."now," says ben rogers, "what's the line of business of this gang?" "nothing only robbery and murder," tomsaid. "but who are we going to rob?--houses, orcattle, or--" "stuff! stealing cattle and such thingsain't robbery; it's burglary," says tom sawyer."we ain't burglars. that ain't no sort of style. we are highwaymen.we stop stages and carriages on the road,
with masks on, and kill the people and taketheir watches and money." "must we always kill the people?" "oh, certainly.it's best. some authorities think different, butmostly it's considered best to kill them-- except some that you bring to the cavehere, 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 whatit 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 fromwhat's in the books, and get things all muddled up?" "oh, that's all very fine to say, tomsawyer, but how in the nation are these fellows going to be ransomed if we don'tknow 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'reransomed, 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 todeath; and a bothersome lot they'll be, too--eating up everything, and alwaystrying to get loose." "how you talk, ben rogers. how can they get loose when there's a guardover 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 andnever get any sleep, just so as to watch them.i think that's foolishness. why can't a body take a club and ransomthem as soon as they get here?" "because it ain't in the books so--that'swhy. now, ben rogers, do you want to do thingsregular, or don't you?--that's the idea. don't you reckon that the people that madethe 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 themin 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'realways as polite as pie to them; and by and by they fall in love with you, and neverwant to go home any more." "well, if that's the way i'm agreed, but idon't take no stock in it.
mighty soon we'll have the cave socluttered up with women, and fellows waiting to be ransomed, that there won't beno place for the robbers. but go ahead, i ain't got nothing to say." little tommy barnes was asleep now, andwhen they waked him up he was scared, and cried, and said he wanted to go home to hisma, and didn't want to be a robber any more. so they all made fun of him, and called himcry-baby, and that made him mad, and he said he would go straight and tell all thesecrets. 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 somepeople. 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 wouldbe wicked to do it on sunday, and that settled the thing. they agreed to get together and fix a dayas soon as they could, and then we elected tom sawyer first captain and jo harpersecond captain of the gang, and so started home. i clumb up the shed and crept into mywindow just before day was breaking. my new clothes was all greased up andclayey, and i was dog-tired.
chapter iii. well, i got a good going-over in themorning 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 wouldbehave awhile if i could. then miss watson she took me in the closetand prayed, but nothing come of it. she told me to pray every day, and whateveri 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 makeit out no way. i set down one time back in the woods, andhad a long think about it. i says to myself, if a body can getanything 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 shesaid the thing a body could get by praying for it was "spiritual gifts." this was too many for me, but she told mewhat 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 tookit. i went out in the woods and turned it overin my mind a long time, but i couldn't see no advantage about it--except for the otherpeople; so at last i reckoned i wouldn't worry about it any more, but just let itgo.
sometimes the widow would take me one sideand talk about providence in a way to make a body's mouth water; but maybe next daymiss watson would take hold and knock it all down again. i judged i could see that there was twoprovidences, and a poor chap would stand considerable show with the widow'sprovidence, but if miss watson's got him there warn't no help for him any more. i thought it all out, and reckoned i wouldbelong 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 ayear, and that was comfortable for me; i didn't want to see him no more. he used to always whale me when he wassober and could get his hands on me; though i used to take to the woods most of thetime when he was around. well, about this time he was found in theriver drownded, about twelve mile above town, so people said. they judged it was him, anyway; said thisdrownded man was just his size, and was ragged, and had uncommon long hair, whichwas all like pap; but they couldn't make nothing out of the face, because it had
been in the water so long it warn't muchlike a face at all. they said he was floating on his back inthe water. they took him and buried him on the bank. but i warn't comfortable long, because ihappened to think of something. i knowed mighty well that a drownded mandon'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 amonth, and then i resigned.
all the boys did.we hadn't robbed nobody, hadn't killed any people, but only just pretended. we used to hop out of the woods and gocharging down on hog-drivers and women in carts taking garden stuff to market, but wenever hived any of them. tom sawyer called the hogs "ingots," and hecalled the turnips and stuff "julery," and we would go to the cave and powwow overwhat 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 townwith a blazing stick, which he called a
slogan (which was the sign for the gang toget together), and then he said he had got secret news by his spies that next day a whole parcel of spanish merchants and richa-rabs was going to camp in cave hollow with two hundred elephants, and six hundredcamels, and over a thousand "sumter" mules, all loaded down with di'monds, and they didn't have only a guard of four hundredsoldiers, and so we would lay in ambuscade, as he called it, and kill the lot and scoopthe things. he said we must slick up our swords andguns, and get ready. he never could go after even a turnip-cartbut he must have the swords and guns all
scoured up for it, though they was onlylath and broomsticks, and you might scour at them till you rotted, and then they warn't worth a mouthful of ashes more thanwhat they was before. i didn't believe we could lick such a crowdof spaniards and a-rabs, but i wanted to see the camels and elephants, so i was onhand next day, saturday, in the ambuscade; and when we got the word we rushed out ofthe 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-schoolpicnic, and only a primer-class at that.
we busted it up, and chased the children upthe hollow; but we never got anything but some doughnuts and jam, though ben rogersgot a rag doll, and jo harper got a hymn- book and a tract; and then the teacher charged in, and made us drop everything andcut. i didn't see no di'monds, and i told tomsawyer 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 hadread a book called don quixote, i would know without asking.he said it was all done by enchantment.
he said there was hundreds of soldiersthere, and elephants and treasure, and so on, but we had enemies which he calledmagicians; and they had turned the whole thing into an infant sunday-school, justout of spite. i said, all right; then the thing for us todo was to go for the magicians. tom sawyer said i was a numskull. "why," said he, "a magician could call up alot of genies, and they would hash you up like nothing before you could say jackrobinson. they are as tall as a tree and as bigaround as a church." "well," i says, "s'pose we got some geniesto 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 ironring, and then the genies come tearing in, with the thunder and lightning a-rippingaround and the smoke a-rolling, and everything they're told to do they up anddo it. they don't think nothing of pulling a shot-tower up by the roots, and belting a sunday-school superintendent over the headwith 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 hesays. if he tells them to build a palace fortymiles 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 nextmorning, too. and more: they've got to waltz that palacearound over the country wherever you want it, you understand." "well," says i, "i think they are a pack offlat-heads for not keeping the palace
themselves 'stead of fooling them away likethat. and what's more--if i was one of them iwould see a man in jericho before i would drop my business and come to him for therubbing of an old tin lamp." "how you talk, huck finn. why, you'd have to come when he rubbed it,whether you wanted to or not." "what! and i as high as a tree and as bigas a church? all right, then; i would come; but i layi'd make that man climb the highest tree there was in the country.""shucks, it ain't no use to talk to you, huck finn.
you don't seem to know anything, somehow--perfect saphead." i thought all this over for two or threedays, and then i reckoned i would see if there was anything in it. i got an old tin lamp and an iron ring, andwent out in the woods and rubbed and rubbed till i sweat like an injun, calculating tobuild a palace and sell it; but it warn't no use, none of the genies come. so then i judged that all that stuff wasonly just one of tom sawyer's lies. i reckoned he believed in the a-rabs andthe elephants, but as for me i think different.
it had all the marks of a sunday-school. chapter iv.well, three or four months run along, and it was well into the winter now. i had been to school most all the time andcould spell and read and write just a little, and could say the multiplicationtable up to six times seven is thirty-five, and i don't reckon i could ever get anyfurther than that if i was to live forever. i don't take no stock in mathematics,anyway. at first i hated the school, but by and byi got so i could stand it. whenever i got uncommon tired i playedhookey, and the hiding i got next day done
me good and cheered me up. so the longer i went to school the easierit got to be. i was getting sort of used to the widow'sways, too, and they warn't so raspy on me. living in a house and sleeping in a bedpulled on me pretty tight mostly, but before the cold weather i used to slide outand sleep in the woods sometimes, and so that was a rest to me. i liked the old ways best, but i wasgetting 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 icould to throw over my left shoulder and keep off the bad luck, but miss watson wasin 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, butthat warn't going to keep off the bad luck, i knowed that well enough. i started out, after breakfast, feelingworried and shaky, and wondering where it
was going to fall on me, and what it wasgoing to be. there is ways to keep off some kinds of badluck, but this wasn't one of them kind; so i never tried to do anything, but justpoked along low-spirited and on the watch- out. i went down to the front garden and clumbover 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 stoodaround 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 stoopeddown to look at the tracks first. i didn't notice anything at first, but nexti did. there was a cross in the left boot-heelmade with big nails, to keep off the devil. i was up in a second and shinning down thehill. i looked over my shoulder every now andthen, but i didn't see nobody. i was at judge thatcher's as quick as icould 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 withyour 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 sixthousand, nuther. i want you to take it; i want to give it toyou--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 menothing--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 idea." then he wrote something on a paper and readit over, and says: "there; you see it says 'for aconsideration.' that means i have bought it of you and paidyou 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-ballas big as your fist, which had been took out of the fourth stomach of an ox, and heused 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 himpap was here again, for i found his tracks in the snow. what i wanted to know was, what he wasgoing to do, and was he going to stay? jim got out his hair-ball and saidsomething over it, and then he held it up and dropped it on the floor. it fell pretty solid, and only rolled aboutan inch. jim tried it again, and then another time,and it acted just the same. jim got down on his knees, and put his earagainst it and listened. but it warn't no use; he said it wouldn'ttalk.
he said sometimes it wouldn't talk withoutmoney. i told him i had an old slick counterfeitquarter 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 onit every time. (i reckoned i wouldn't say nothing aboutthe dollar i got from the judge.) i said it was pretty bad money, but maybethe hair-ball would take it, because maybe it wouldn't know the difference. jim smelt it and bit it and rubbed it, andsaid he would manage so the hair-ball would
think it was good. he said he would split open a raw irishpotato and stick the quarter in between and keep it there all night, and next morningyou 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 ahair-ball. well, i knowed a potato would do thatbefore, 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 allright. he said it would tell my whole fortune if iwanted 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 oleman 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 littlewhile, den de black one sail in en bust it
all up.a body can't tell yit which one gwyne to fetch him at de las'. but you is all right.you gwyne to have considable trouble in yo' life, en considable joy. sometimes you gwyne to git hurt, ensometimes 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 derich one by en by.
you wants to keep 'way fum de water as muchas you kin, en don't run no resk, 'kase it's down in de bills dat you's gwyne togit hung." when i lit my candle and went up to my roomthat night there sat pap--his own self! chapter v.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 aminute i see i was mistaken--that is, after the first jolt, as you may say, when mybreath sort of hitched, he being so unexpected; but right away after i see iwarn'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, wherehis face showed; it was white; not like another man's white, but a white to make abody sick, a white to make a body's flesh crawl--a tree-toad white, a fish-bellywhite. as for his clothes--just rags, that wasall. 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 workedthem now and then. his hat was laying on the floor--an oldblack 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 hadclumb 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 frillssince i been away. i'll take you down a peg before i get donewith you. you're educated, too, they say--can readand 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 suchhifalut'n foolishness, hey?--who told you you could?""the widow.
she told me." "the widow, hey?--and who told the widowshe 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, youhear? i'll learn people to bring up a boy to puton airs over his own father and let on to be better'n what he is. you lemme catch you fooling around thatschool again, you hear? your mother couldn't read, and she couldn'twrite, nuther, before she died.
none of the family couldn't before theydied. i can't; and here you're a-swellingyourself up like this. i ain't the man to stand it--you hear? say, lemme hear you read."i took up a book and begun something about general washington and the wars. when i'd read about a half a minute, hefetched 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 onfrills. i won't have it. i'll lay for you, my smarty; and if i catchyou 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 pictureof some cows and a boy, and says: "what's this?""it's something they give me for learning my lessons good." he tore it up, and says:"i'll give you something better--i'll give you a cowhide."he set there a-mumbling and a-growling a
minute, and then he says: "ain't you a sweet-scented dandy, though?a bed; and bedclothes; and a look'n'-glass; and a piece of carpet on the floor--andyour 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'ma-standing about all i can stand now--so
don't gimme no sass. i've been in town two days, and i hain'theard 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 wantit." "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 wantthat to--" "it don't make no difference what you wantit for--you just shell it out." he took it and bit it to see if it wasgood, and then he said he was going down town to get some whisky; said he hadn't hada drink all day. when he had got out on the shed he put hishead 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 wasgoing to lay for me and lick me if i didn't drop that. next day he was drunk, and he went to judgethatcher's and bullyragged him, and tried to make him give up the money; but hecouldn't, and then he swore he'd make the law force him. the judge and the widow went to law to getthe court to take me away from him and let one of them be my guardian; but it was anew judge that had just come, and he didn't know the old man; so he said courts mustn't
interfere and separate families if theycould 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'trest. he said he'd cowhide me till i was blackand blue if i didn't raise some money for him. i borrowed three dollars from judgethatcher, and pap took it and got drunk, and went a-blowing around and cussing andwhooping and carrying on; and he kept it up all over town, with a tin pan, till most
midnight; then they jailed him, and nextday they had him before court, and jailed him again for a week. but he said he was satisfied; said he wasboss 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, anddressed him up clean and nice, and had him to breakfast and dinner and supper with thefamily, and was just old pie to him, so to speak. and after supper he talked to him abouttemperance and such things till the old man
cried, and said he'd been a fool, andfooled 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 hopedthe judge would help him and not look down on him. the judge said he could hug him for themwords; so he cried, and his wife she cried again; pap said he'd been a man that hadalways been misunderstood before, and the judge said he believed it. the old man said that what a man wantedthat 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; takea-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'lldie before he'll go back. you mark them words--don't forget i saidthem. it's a clean hand now; shake it--don't beafeard." so they shook it, one after the other, allaround, 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 onrecord, or something like that. then they tucked the old man into abeautiful room, which was the spare room, and in the night some time he got powerfulthirsty 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 clumbback 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 somebodyfound him after sun-up. and when they come to look at that spareroom 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 hedidn't know no other way. chapter vi. well, pretty soon the old man was up andaround again, and then he went for judge thatcher in the courts to make him give upthat money, and he went for me, too, for not stopping school. he catched me a couple of times andthrashed me, but i went to school just the same, and dodged him or outrun him most ofthe 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'dborrow two or three dollars off of the judge for him, to keep from getting acowhiding. every time he got money he got drunk; andevery time he got drunk he raised cain around town; and every time he raised cainhe got jailed. he was just suited--this kind of thing wasright in his line. he got to hanging around the widow's toomuch and so she told him at last that if he didn't quit using around there she wouldmake trouble for him.
well, wasn't he mad? he said he would show who was huck finn'sboss. so he watched out for me one day in thespring, and catched me, and took me up the river about three mile in a skiff, andcrossed 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 wasso 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 alwayslocked 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 wentdown 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 andby, and she sent a man over to try to get hold of me; but pap drove him off with thegun, and it warn't long after that till i was used to being where i was, and likedit--all but the cowhide part.
it was kind of lazy and jolly, laying offcomfortable all day, smoking and fishing, and no books nor study. two months or more run along, and myclothes got to be all rags and dirt, and i didn't see how i'd ever got to like it sowell 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 foreverbothering 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 widowdidn't like it; but now i took to it again because pap hadn't no objections.it was pretty good times up in the woods
there, take it all around. but by and by pap got too handy with hishick'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 threedays. it was dreadful lonesome.i judged he had got drownded, and i wasn't ever going to get out any more. i was scared.i made up my mind i would fix up some way to leave there.i had tried to get out of that cabin many a
time, but i couldn't find no way. there warn't a window to it big enough fora dog to get through. i couldn't get up the chimbly; it was toonarrow. the door was thick, solid oak slabs. pap was pretty careful not to leave a knifeor anything in the cabin when he was away; i reckon i had hunted the place over asmuch as a hundred times; well, i was most all the time at it, because it was aboutthe only way to put in the time. but this time i found something at last; ifound an old rusty wood-saw without any handle; it was laid in between a rafter andthe clapboards of the roof.
i greased it up and went to work. there was an old horse-blanket nailedagainst the logs at the far end of the cabin behind the table, to keep the windfrom blowing through the chinks and putting the candle out. i got under the table and raised theblanket, and went to work to saw a section of the big bottom log out--big enough tolet me through. well, it was a good long job, but i wasgetting towards the end of it when i heard pap's gun in the woods. i got rid of the signs of my work, anddropped 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 everythingwas going wrong. his lawyer said he reckoned he would winhis lawsuit and get the money if they ever got started on the trial; but then therewas ways to put it off a long time, and judge thatcher knowed how to do it. and he said people allowed there'd beanother trial to get me away from him and give me to the widow for my guardian, andthey guessed it would win this time. this shook me up considerable, because ididn't want to go back to the widow's any
more and be so cramped up and sivilized, asthey called it. then the old man got to cussing, and cussedeverything and everybody he could think of, and then cussed them all over again to makesure he hadn't skipped any, and after that he polished off with a kind of a general cuss all round, including a considerableparcel 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 getme. he said he would watch out, and if theytried to come any such game on him he
knowed of a place six or seven mile off tostow me in, where they might hunt till they dropped and they couldn't find me. that made me pretty uneasy again, but onlyfor a minute; i reckoned i wouldn't stay on hand till he got that chance.the old man made me go to the skiff and fetch the things he had got. there was a fifty-pound sack of corn meal,and a side of bacon, ammunition, and a four-gallon jug of whisky, and an old bookand two newspapers for wadding, besides some tow. i toted up a load, and went back and setdown on the bow of the skiff to rest.
i thought it all over, and i reckoned iwould 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, butjust tramp right across the country, mostly night times, and hunt and fish to keepalive, and so get so far away that the old man nor the widow couldn't ever find me anymore. i judged i would saw out and leave thatnight if pap got drunk enough, and i reckoned he would. i got so full of it i didn't notice howlong i was staying till the old man hollered and asked me whether i was asleepor drownded.
i got the things all up to the cabin, andthen it was about dark. while i was cooking supper the old man tooka swig or two and got sort of warmed up, and went to ripping again. he had been drunk over in town, and laid inthe 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 mostalways went for the govment, this time he says:"call this a govment! why, just look at it and see what it's like.
here's the law a-standing ready to take aman's son away from him--a man's own son, which he has had all the trouble and allthe anxiety and all the expense of raising. yes, just as that man has got that sonraised at last, and ready to go to work and begin to do suthin' for him and give him arest, 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' myproperty. here's what the law does: the law takes aman worth six thousand dollars and up'ards, and jams him into an old trap of a cabinlike 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 thatcherso to his face. lots of 'em heard me, and can tell what isaid. says i, for two cents i'd leave the blamedcountry and never come a-near it agin. them's the very words. i says look at my hat--if you call it ahat--but the lid raises up and the rest of
it goes down till it's below my chin, andthen it ain't rightly a hat at all, but more like my head was shoved up through ajint o' stove-pipe. look at it, says i --such a hat for me towear--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 fineclothes as what he had; and he had a gold
watch and chain, and a silver-headed cane-- the awfulest old gray-headed nabob in thestate. 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 athome. well, that let me out.thinks i, what is the country a-coming to? it was 'lection day, and i was just aboutto go and vote myself if i warn't too drunk to get there; but when they told me therewas 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 allme--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 niggerput 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 tillhe'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 afree nigger till he's been in the state six months. here's a govment that calls itself agovment, and lets on to be a govment, and thinks it is a govment, and yet's got toset 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 wherehis old limber legs was taking him to, so he went head over heels over the tub ofsalt pork and barked both shins, and the rest of his speech was all the hottest kind of language--mostly hove at the nigger andthe govment, though he give the tub some,
too, all along, here and there. he hopped around the cabin considerable,first on one leg and then on the other, holding first one shin and then the otherone, and at last he let out with his left foot all of a sudden and fetched the tub arattling kick. but it warn't good judgment, because thatwas the boot that had a couple of his toes leaking out of the front end of it; so nowhe 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; andthe cussing he done then laid over anything he had ever done previous.he said so his own self afterwards.
he had heard old sowberry hagan in his bestdays, 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 hehad enough whisky there for two drunks and one delirium tremens.that was always his word. i judged he would be blind drunk in aboutan hour, and then i would steal the key, or saw myself out, one or t'other. he drank and drank, and tumbled down on hisblankets 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 aroundthis way and that for a long time.
at last i got so sleepy i couldn't keep myeyes open all i could do, and so before i knowed what i was about i was sound asleep,and the candle burning. i don't know how long i was asleep, but allof a sudden there was an awful scream and i was up. there was pap looking wild, and skippingaround every which way and yelling about snakes. he said they was crawling up his legs; andthen he would give a jump and scream, and say one had bit him on the cheek--but icouldn't see no snakes. he started and run round and round thecabin, 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 felldown panting; then he rolled over and over wonderful fast, kicking things every whichway, and striking and grabbing at the air with his hands, and screaming and sayingthere was devils a-hold of him. he wore out by and by, and laid still awhile, moaning. then he laid stiller, and didn't make asound. i could hear the owls and the wolves awayoff in the woods, and it seemed terrible still. he was laying over by the corner.by and by he raised up part way and
listened, with his head to one side.he says, very low: "tramp--tramp--tramp; that's the dead;tramp--tramp--tramp; they're coming after me; but i won't go.oh, they're here! don't touch me --don't! hands off--they're cold; let go. oh, let a poor devil alone!" then he went down on all fours and crawledoff, begging them to let him alone, and he rolled himself up in his blanket andwallowed 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 andwent for me. he chased me round and round the place witha clasp-knife, calling me the angel of death, and saying he would kill me, andthen i couldn't come for him no more. i begged, and told him i was only huck; buthe laughed such a screechy laugh, and roared and cussed, and kept on chasing meup. once when i turned short and dodged underhis arm he made a grab and got me by the jacket between my shoulders, and i thoughti was gone; but i slid out of the jacket quick as lightning, and saved myself. pretty soon he was all tired out, anddropped down with his back against the
door, and said he would rest a minute andthen kill me. he put his knife under him, and said hewould 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 chairand 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 sureit was loaded, then i laid it across the turnip barrel, pointing towards pap, andset down behind it to wait for him to stir. and how slow and still the time did dragalong. chapter vii."git up!
what you 'bout?"i opened my eyes and looked around, trying to make out where i was. it was after sun-up, and i had been soundasleep. pap was standing over me looking sour andsick, too. he says: "what you doin' with this gun?"i judged he didn't know nothing about what he had been doing, so i says:"somebody tried to get in, so i was laying for him." "why didn't you roust me out?""well, i tried to, but i couldn't; i
couldn't budge you.""well, all right. don't stand there palavering all day, butout 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 upthe river-bank. i noticed some pieces of limbs and suchthings floating down, and a sprinkling of bark; so i knowed the river had begun torise. i reckoned i would have great times now ifi was over at the town. the june rise used to be always luck forme; because as soon as that rise begins here comes cordwood floating down, andpieces 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 andthe sawmill. i went along up the bank with one eye outfor pap and t'other one out for what the rise might fetch along. well, all at once here comes a canoe; justa beauty, too, about thirteen or fourteen foot long, riding high like a duck. i shot head-first off of the bank like afrog, clothes and all on, and struck out for the canoe. i just expected there'd be somebody layingdown in it, because people often done that
to fool folks, and when a chap had pulled askiff 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 sightyet, and as i was running her into a little creek like a gully, all hung over withvines and willows, i struck another idea: i judged i'd hide her good, and then, 'stead of taking to the woods when i runoff, i'd go down the river about fifty mile
and camp in one place for good, and nothave such a rough time tramping on foot. it was pretty close to the shanty, and ithought i heard the old man coming all the time; but i got her hid; and then i out andlooked around a bunch of willows, and there was the old man down the path a piece justdrawing 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 wenthome. while we laid off after breakfast to sleepup, both of us being about wore out, i got to thinking that if i could fix up some wayto keep pap and the widow from trying to follow me, it would be a certainer thing than trusting to luck to get far enough offbefore they missed me; you see, all kinds of things might happen. well, i didn't see no way for a while, butby 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 sleepagain; 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 wentalong up the bank. the river was coming up pretty fast, andlots 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 itashore.
then we had dinner. anybody but pap would a waited and seen theday 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, andstarted 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 goodstart; then i out with my saw, and went to work on that log again. before he was t'other side of the river iwas 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 towhere 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 adipper and a tin cup, and my old saw and two blankets, and the skillet and thecoffee-pot. i took fish-lines and matches and otherthings--everything that was worth a cent. i cleaned out the place.
i wanted an axe, but there wasn't any, onlythe 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 crawlingout of the hole and dragging out so many things. so i fixed that as good as i could from theoutside by scattering dust on the place, which covered up the smoothness and thesawdust. then i fixed the piece of log back into itsplace, and put two rocks under it and one against it to hold it there, for it wasbent up at that place and didn't quite touch ground.
if you stood four or five foot away anddidn't know it was sawed, you wouldn't never notice it; and besides, this was theback of the cabin, and it warn't likely anybody would go fooling around there. it was all grass clear to the canoe, so ihadn'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 intothe woods, and was hunting around for some birds when i see a wild pig; hogs soon wentwild in them bottoms after they had got
away from the prairie farms. i shot this fellow and took him into camp.i took the axe and smashed in the door. i beat it and hacked it considerable a-doing it. i fetched the pig in, and took him backnearly to the table and hacked into his throat with the axe, and laid him down onthe 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 lotof big rocks in it--all i could drag--and i started it from the pig, and dragged it tothe 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 beendragged over the ground. i did wish tom sawyer was there; i knowedhe 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 thecorner. then i took up the pig and held him to mybreast with my jacket (so he couldn't drip) till i got a good piece below the house andthen dumped him into the river. now i thought of something else.
so i went and got the bag of meal and myold 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 andforks on the place --pap done everything with his clasp-knife about the cooking. then i carried the sack about a hundredyards across the grass and through the willows east of the house, to a shallowlake that was five mile wide and full of rushes--and ducks too, you might say, inthe season. there was a slough or a creek leading outof it on the other side that went miles
away, i don't know where, but it didn't goto the river. the meal sifted out and made a little trackall the way to the lake. i dropped pap's whetstone there too, so asto look like it had been done by accident. then i tied up the rip in the meal sackwith a string, so it wouldn't leak no more, and took it and my saw to the canoe again. it was about dark now; so i dropped thecanoe down the river under some willows that hung over the bank, and waited for themoon to rise. i made fast to a willow; then i took a biteto 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 trackof that sackful of rocks to the shore and then drag the river for me. and they'll follow that meal track to thelake and go browsing down the creek that leads out of it to find the robbers thatkilled me and took the things. they won't ever hunt the river for anythingbut my dead carcass. they'll soon get tired of that, and won'tbother no more about me. all right; i can stop anywhere i want to. jackson's island is good enough for me; iknow 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 littlescared. then i remembered.the river looked miles and miles across. the moon was so bright i could a countedthe drift logs that went a-slipping along, black and still, hundreds of yards out fromshore. everything was dead quiet, and it lookedlate, and smelt late.
you know what i mean--i don't know thewords to put it in. i took a good gap and a stretch, and wasjust 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 soundthat 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 abreastof me i see there warn't but one man in it.
think's i, maybe it's pap, though i warn'texpecting him. he dropped below me with the current, andby and by he came a-swinging up shore in the easy water, and he went by so close icould a reached out the gun and touched 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 downstream soft but quick in the shade of the bank. i made two mile and a half, and then struckout a quarter of a mile or more towards the middle of the river, because pretty soon iwould be passing the ferry landing, and
people might see me and hail me. i got out amongst the driftwood, and thenlaid down in the bottom of the canoe and let her float. i laid there, and had a good rest and asmoke out of my pipe, looking away into the sky; not a cloud in it. the sky looks ever so deep when you laydown 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 ferrylanding.
i heard what they said, too--every word ofit. one man said it was getting towards thelong days and the short nights now. t'other one said this warn't one of theshort ones, he reckoned--and then they laughed, and he said it over again, andthey laughed again; then they waked up another fellow and told him, and laughed, but he didn't laugh; he ripped outsomething brisk, and said let him alone. the first fellow said he 'lowed to tell itto his old woman--she would think it was pretty good; but he said that warn'tnothing to some things he had said in his time.
i heard one man say it was nearly threeo'clock, and he hoped daylight wouldn't wait more than about a week longer. after that the talk got further and furtheraway, and i couldn't make out the words any more; but i could hear the mumble, and nowand 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 themiddle of the river, big and dark and solid, like a steamboat without any lights.
there warn't any signs of the bar at thehead--it was all under water now. it didn't take me long to get there. i shot past the head at a ripping rate, thecurrent was so swift, and then i got into the dead water and landed on the sidetowards the illinois shore. i run the canoe into a deep dent in thebank that i knowed about; i had to part the willow branches to get in; and when i madefast nobody could a seen the canoe from the outside. i went up and set down on a log at the headof the island, and looked out on the big river and the black driftwood and away overto the town, three mile away, where there
was three or four lights twinkling. a monstrous big lumber-raft was about amile up stream, coming along down, with a lantern in the middle of it. i watched it come creeping down, and whenit was most abreast of where i stood i heard a man say, "stern oars, there! heaveher head to stabboard!" i heard that just as plain as if the manwas by my side. there was a little gray in the sky now; soi stepped into the woods, and laid down for a nap before breakfast. chapter viii.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 coolshade thinking about things, and feeling rested and ruther comfortable andsatisfied. i could see the sun out at one or twoholes, but mostly it was big trees all about, and gloomy in there amongst them. there was freckled places on the groundwhere the light sifted down through the leaves, and the freckled places swappedabout a little, showing there was a little breeze up there. a couple of squirrels set on a limb andjabbered at me very friendly.
i was powerful lazy and comfortable--didn'twant to get up and cook breakfast. well, i was dozing off again when i thinksi 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 ahole 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 peoplefloating along down. i knowed what was the matter now."boom!" i see the white smoke squirt out of theferryboat's side.
you see, they was firing cannon over thewater, trying to make my carcass come to the top. i was pretty hungry, but it warn't going todo 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 italways looks pretty on a summer morning--so i was having a good enough time seeing themhunt for my remainders if i only had a bite to eat. well, then i happened to think how theyalways put quicksilver in loaves of bread
and float them off, because they always goright to the drownded carcass and stop there. so, says i, i'll keep a lookout, and if anyof them's floating around after me i'll give them a show. i changed to the illinois edge of theisland to see what luck i could have, and i warn't disappointed. a big double loaf come along, and i mostgot it with a long stick, but my foot slipped and she floated out further. of course i was where the current set inthe 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 thelittle dab of quicksilver, and set my teeth in.it was "baker's bread"--what the quality eat; none of your low-down corn-pone. i got a good place amongst the leaves, andset there on a log, munching the bread and watching the ferry-boat, and very wellsatisfied. and then something struck me. i says, now i reckon the widow or theparson or somebody prayed that this bread
would find me, and here it has gone anddone it. so there ain't no doubt but there issomething in that thing --that is, there's something in it when a body like the widowor the parson prays, but it don't work for me, and i reckon it don't work for onlyjust the right kind. i lit a pipe and had a good long smoke, andwent on watching. the ferryboat was floating with thecurrent, 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 downtowards me, i put out my pipe and went to
where i fished out the bread, and laid downbehind 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 aplank and walked ashore. most everybody was on the boat. pap, and judge thatcher, and bessiethatcher, and jo harper, and tom sawyer, and his old aunt polly, and sid and mary,and plenty more. everybody was talking about the murder, butthe captain broke in and says: "look sharp, now; the current sets in theclosest here, and maybe he's washed ashore
and got tangled amongst the brush at thewater's edge. i hope so, anyway." i didn't hope so.they all crowded up and leaned over the rails, nearly in my face, and kept still,watching with all their might. i could see them first-rate, but theycouldn't see me. then the captain sung out: "stand away!" and the cannon let off such ablast right before me that it made me deef with the noise and pretty near blind withthe smoke, and i judged i was gone. if they'd a had some bullets in, i reckonthey'd a got the corpse they was after.
well, i see i warn't hurt, thanks togoodness. the boat floated on and went out of sightaround 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 islandand started up the channel on the missouri side, under steam, and booming once in awhile as they went. i crossed over to that side and watchedthem.
when they got abreast the head of theisland they quit shooting and dropped over to the missouri shore and went home to thetown. 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 blanketsto put my things under so the rain couldn't get at them. i catched a catfish and haggled him openwith my saw, and towards sundown i started my camp fire and had supper.then i set out a line to catch some fish
for breakfast. when it was dark i set by my camp firesmoking, and feeling pretty well satisfied; but by and by it got sort of lonesome, andso i went and set on the bank and listened to the current swashing along, and counted the stars and drift logs and rafts thatcome down, and then went to bed; there ain't no better way to put in time when youare lonesome; you can't stay so, you soon get over it. and so for three days and nights.no difference--just the same thing. but the next day i went exploring arounddown through the island.
i was boss of it; it all belonged to me, soto say, and i wanted to know all about it; but mainly i wanted to put in the time. i found plenty strawberries, ripe andprime; and green summer grapes, and green razberries; and the green blackberries wasjust beginning to show. they would all come handy by and by, ijudged. well, i went fooling along in the deepwoods till i judged i warn't far from the foot of the island. i had my gun along, but i hadn't shotnothing; it was for protection; thought i would kill some game nigh home.
about this time i mighty near stepped on agood-sized snake, and it went sliding off through the grass and flowers, and i afterit, trying to get a shot at it. i clipped along, and all of a sudden ibounded right on to the ashes of a camp fire that was still smoking.my heart jumped up amongst my lungs. i never waited for to look further, butuncocked my gun and went sneaking back on my tiptoes as fast as ever i could. every now and then i stopped a secondamongst the thick leaves and listened, but my breath come so hard i couldn't hearnothing else. i slunk along another piece further, thenlistened again; and so on, and so on.
if i see a stump, i took it for a man; if itrod on a stick and broke it, it made me feel like a person had cut one of mybreaths in two and i only got half, and the short half, too. when i got to camp i warn't feeling verybrash, there warn't much sand in my craw; but i says, this ain't no time to befooling around. so i got all my traps into my canoe againso as to have them out of sight, and i put out the fire and scattered the ashes aroundto 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 asmuch as a thousand things. well, i couldn't stay up there forever; soat 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 prettyhungry. so when it was good and dark i slid outfrom shore before moonrise and paddled over to the illinois bank--about a quarter of amile. i went out in the woods and cooked asupper, and i had about made up my mind i would stay there all night when i hear aplunkety-plunk, plunkety-plunk, and says to
myself, horses coming; and next i hearpeople's voices. i got everything into the canoe as quick asi 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 paddledaway easy. i tied up in the old place, and reckoned iwould 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 livethis way; i'm a-going to find out who it is that's here on the island with me; i'llfind it out or bust. well, i felt better right off. so i took my paddle and slid out from shorejust a step or two, and then let the canoe drop along down amongst the shadows.the moon was shining, and outside of the shadows it made it most as light as day. i poked along well on to an hour,everything still as rocks and sound asleep. well, by this time i was most down to thefoot 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 brungher 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 thedarkness begin to blanket the river. but in a little while i see a pale streakover the treetops, and knowed the day was coming. so i took my gun and slipped off towardswhere 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 aglimpse of fire away through the trees. i went for it, cautious and slow.by and by i was close enough to have a look, and there laid a man on the ground. it most give me the fan-tods.he had a blanket around his head, and his head was nearly in the fire. i set there behind a clump of bushes, inabout six foot of him, and kept my eyes on him steady.it was getting gray daylight now.
pretty soon he gapped and stretched himselfand 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 putshis 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 youb'longs, en doan' do nuffn to ole jim, 'at
'uz awluz yo' fren'."well, i warn't long making him understand i warn't dead. i was ever so glad to see jim.i warn't lonesome now. i told him i warn't afraid of him tellingthe people where i was. i talked along, but he only set there andlooked 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 denstrawbries." "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 ofrubbage 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 defire." so we went over to where the canoe was, andwhile he built a fire in a grassy open place amongst the trees, i fetched meal andbacon and coffee, and coffee-pot and frying-pan, and sugar and tin cups, and the
nigger was set back considerable, becausehe reckoned it was all done with witchcraft.i catched a good big catfish, too, and jim cleaned him with his knife, and fried him. when breakfast was ready we lolled on thegrass and eat it smoking hot. jim laid it in with all his might, for hewas 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 hesaid it was smart.
he said tom sawyer couldn't get up nobetter plan than what i had. then i says: "how do you come to be here, jim, and how'dyou get here?" he looked pretty uneasy, and didn't saynothing 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.""jim!" "but mind, you said you wouldn' tell--youknow 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-downabolitionist 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 onme all de time, en treats me pooty rough,
but she awluz said she wouldn' sell me downto 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' pootylate, en de do' warn't quite shet, en i hear old missus tell de widder she gwyne tosell 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' moneyshe couldn' resis'. de widder she try to git her to say shewouldn' 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 'specto 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 foreverybody to go 'way. well, i wuz dah all night.dey wuz somebody roun' all de time. 'long 'bout six in de mawnin' skifts beginto go by, en 'bout eight er nine every skift dat went 'long wuz talkin' 'bout howyo' pap come over to de town en say you's killed. dese las' skifts wuz full o' ladies engenlmen a-goin' over for to see de place.
sometimes dey'd pull up at de sho' en takea 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 iknowed ole missus en de widder wuz goin' to start to de camp-meet'n' right arterbreakfas' 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, kasedey'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 deriver 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 awayafoot, 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 mytrack. so i says, a raff is what i's arter; itdoan' make no track.
"i see a light a-comin' roun' de p'intbymeby, so i wade' in en shove' a log ahead o' me en swum more'n half way acrost deriver, en got in 'mongst de drift-wood, en kep' my head down low, en kinder swum aginde 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 alittle 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 goodcurrent; so i reck'n'd 'at by fo' in de mawnin' i'd be twenty-five mile down deriver, en den i'd slip in jis b'fo'
daylight en swim asho', en take to de woodson de illinois side. "but i didn' have no luck. when we 'uz mos' down to de head er deislan' a man begin to come aft wid de lantern, i see it warn't no use fer towait, 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' ifound' 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 somematches 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; enhow'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 bankin de daytime." "well, that's so.you've had to keep in the woods all the time, of course.
did you hear 'em shooting the cannon?""oh, yes. i knowed dey was arter you.i see um go by heah--watched um thoo de bushes." some young birds come along, flying a yardor two at a time and lighting. jim said it was a sign it was going torain. he said it was a sign when young chickensflew 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 hisold granny said his father would die, and he did. and jim said you mustn't count the thingsyou 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 andthat man died, the bees must be told about it before sun-up next morning, or else thebees would all weaken down and quit work and die. jim said bees wouldn't sting idiots; but ididn't believe that, because i had tried
them lots of times myself, and theywouldn't sting me. i had heard about some of these thingsbefore, 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 signswas about bad luck, and so i asked him if there warn't any good-luck signs.he says: "mighty few--an' dey ain't no use to abody. 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 ahairy 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 longtime fust, en so you might git discourage' en kill yo'sef 'f you didn' know by de signdat you gwyne to be rich bymeby." "have you got hairy arms and a hairybreast, jim?" "what's de use to ax dat question?don't you see i has?" "well, are you rich?" "no, but i ben rich wunst, and gwyne to berich agin. wunst i had foteen dollars, but i tuck tospecalat'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 instock. 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 datb'longs to old misto bradish? well, he sot up a bank, en say anybody datput in a dollar would git fo' dollars mo' at de en' er de year. well, all de niggers went in, but deydidn't have much. i wuz de on'y one dat had much. so i stuck out for mo' dan fo' dollars, eni said 'f i didn' git it i'd start a bank mysef. well, o' course dat nigger want' to keep meout er de business, bekase he says dey warn't business 'nough for two banks, so hesay 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 ketcheda wood-flat, en his marster didn' know it; en i bought it off'n him en told him totake de thirty-five dollars when de en' er de year come; but somebody stole de wood- flat dat night, en nex day de one-laiggednigger say de bank's busted. so dey didn' none uv us git no money.""what did you do with the ten cents, jim?" "well, i 'uz gwyne to spen' it, but i had adream, en de dream tole me to give it to a
nigger name' balum--balum's ass dey callhim for short; he's one er dem chuckleheads, you know. but he's lucky, dey say, en i see i warn'tlucky. de dream say let balum inves' de ten centsen he'd make a raise for me. well, balum he tuck de money, en when hewuz in church he hear de preacher say dat whoever give to de po' len' to de lord, enboun' to git his money back a hund'd times. so balum he tuck en give de ten cents to depo', 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 noway; en balum he couldn'. i ain' gwyne to len' no mo' money 'dout isee 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 callit squah, en be glad er de chanst." "well, it's all right anyway, jim, long asyou'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'ddollars. i wisht i had de money, i wouldn' want nomo'." chapter ix.
i wanted to go and look at a place rightabout the middle of the island that i'd found when i was exploring; so we startedand soon got to it, because the island was only three miles long and a quarter of amile wide. this place was a tolerable long, steep hillor ridge about forty foot high. we had a rough time getting to the top, thesides 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 sidetowards illinois. the cavern was as big as two or three roomsbunched together, and jim could stand up straight in it.it was cool in there.
jim was for putting our traps in thereright 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 goodplace, and had all the traps in the cavern, we could rush there if anybody was to cometo the island, and they would never find us without dogs. and, besides, he said them little birds hadsaid it was going to rain, and did i want the things to get wet? so we went back and got the canoe, andpaddled 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 setthem again, and begun to get ready for dinner. the door of the cavern was big enough toroll a hogshead in, and on one side of the door the floor stuck out a little bit, andwas flat and a good place to build a fire on. so we built it there and cooked dinner.we spread the blankets inside for a carpet, and eat our dinner in there.we put all the other things handy at the back of the cavern.
pretty soon it darkened up, and begun tothunder and lighten; so the birds was right about it. directly it begun to rain, and it rainedlike 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 allblue-black outside, and lovely; and the rain would thrash along by so thick thatthe trees off a little ways looked dim and spider-webby; and here would come a blast of wind that would bend the trees down andturn up the pale underside of the leaves; and then a perfect ripper of a gust wouldfollow along and set the branches to
tossing their arms as if they was just wild; and next, when it was just about thebluest and blackest--fst! it was as bright as glory, and you'd have a little glimpseof tree-tops a-plunging about away off yonder in the storm, hundreds of yards further than you could see before; dark assin again in a second, and now you'd hear the thunder let go with an awful crash, andthen go rumbling, grumbling, tumbling, down the sky towards the under side of the world, like rolling empty barrels downstairs--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 buthere. pass me along another hunk of fish and somehot corn-bread." "well, you wouldn't a ben here 'f it hadn'ta ben for jim. you'd a ben down dah in de woods widout anydinner, en gittn' mos' drownded, too; dat you would, honey. chickens knows when it's gwyne to rain, enso do de birds, chile." the river went on raising and raising forten or twelve days, till at last it was over the banks. the water was three or four foot deep onthe 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--becausethe missouri shore was just a wall of high bluffs. daytimes we paddled all over the island inthe canoe, it was mighty cool and shady in the deep woods, even if the sun was blazingoutside. we went winding in and out amongst thetrees, and sometimes the vines hung so thick we had to back away and go some otherway. well, on every old broken-down tree youcould see rabbits and snakes and such
things; and when the island had beenoverflowed a day or two they got so tame, on account of being hungry, that you could paddle right up and put your hand on themif 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 wantedthem. one night we catched a little section of alumber raft--nice pine planks. it was twelve foot wide and about fifteenor 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 daylightsometimes, but we let them go; we didn't show ourselves in daylight. another night when we was up at the head ofthe 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 atan upstairs window. but it was too dark to see yet, so we madethe canoe fast and set in her to wait for daylight. the light begun to come before we got tothe foot of the island.
then we looked in at the window. we could make out a bed, and a table, andtwo old chairs, and lots of things around about on the floor, and there was clotheshanging against the wall. there was something laying on the floor inthe 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 cardsscattered around over the floor, and old whisky bottles, and a couple of masks madeout of black cloth; and all over the walls was the ignorantest kind of words andpictures made with charcoal. there was two old dirty calico dresses, anda sun-bonnet, and some women's underclothes
hanging against the wall, and some men'sclothing, too. we put the lot into the canoe--it mightcome good. there was a boy's old speckled straw hat onthe floor; i took that, too. and there was a bottle that had had milk init, 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 oldhair trunk with the hinges broke. they stood open, but there warn't nothingleft in them that was any account. the way things was scattered about wereckoned the people left in a hurry, and
warn't fixed so as to carry off most oftheir stuff. we got an old tin lantern, and a butcher-knife without any handle, and a bran-new barlow knife worth two bits in any store,and a lot of tallow candles, and a tin candlestick, and a gourd, and a tin cup, and a ratty old bedquilt off the bed, and areticule with needles and pins and beeswax and buttons and thread and all such truckin it, and a hatchet and some nails, and a fishline as thick as my little finger with some monstrous hooks on it, and a roll ofbuckskin, and a leather dog-collar, and a horseshoe, and some vials of medicine thatdidn'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 oldfiddle-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 longenough for jim, and we couldn't find the other one, though we hunted all around. and so, take it all around, we made a goodhaul. when we was ready to shove off we was aquarter of a mile below the island, and it was pretty broad day; so i made jim laydown in the canoe and cover up with the quilt, because if he set up people couldtell he was a nigger a good ways off.
i paddled over to the illinois shore, anddrifted 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. chapter x.after breakfast i wanted to talk about the dead man and guess out how he come to bekilled, but jim didn't want to. he said it would fetch bad luck; andbesides, he said, he might come and ha'nt us; he said a man that warn't buried wasmore likely to go a-ha'nting around than one that was planted and comfortable. that sounded pretty reasonable, so i didn'tsay no more; but i couldn't keep from
studying over it and wishing i knowed whoshot the man, and what they done it for. we rummaged the clothes we'd got, and foundeight dollars in silver sewed up in the lining of an old blanket overcoat. jim said he reckoned the people in thathouse stole the coat, because if they'd a knowed the money was there they wouldn't aleft it. i said i reckoned they killed him, too; butjim didn't want to talk about that. "now you think it's bad luck; but what didyou say when i fetched in the snake-skin that i found on the top of the ridge daybefore yesterday? you said it was the worst bad luck in theworld 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 likethis 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 layingaround 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 footof jim's blanket, ever so natural, thinking there'd be some fun when jim found himthere. well, by night i forgot all about thesnake, and when jim flung himself down on the blanket while i struck a light thesnake's mate was there, and bit him. he jumped up yelling, and the first thingthe 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 asto not remember that wherever you leave a dead snake its mate always comes there andcurls around it. jim told me to chop off the snake's headand 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 tiethem around his wrist, too. he said that that would help. then i slid out quiet and throwed thesnakes clear away amongst the bushes; for i
warn't going to let jim find out it was allmy fault, not if i could help it. jim sucked and sucked at the jug, and nowand then he got out of his head and pitched around and yelled; but every time he cometo himself he went to sucking at the jug again. his foot swelled up pretty big, and so didhis leg; but by and by the drunk begun to come, and so i judged he was all right; buti'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 wassuch awful bad luck that maybe we hadn't got to the end of it yet. he said he druther see the new moon overhis left shoulder as much as a thousand times than take up a snake-skin in hishand. well, i was getting to feel that waymyself, though i've always reckoned that looking at the new moon over your leftshoulder is one of the carelessest and
foolishest things a body can do. old hank bunker done it once, and braggedabout it; and in less than two years he got drunk and fell off of the shot-tower, andspread himself out so that he was just a kind of a layer, as you may say; and they slid him edgeways between two barn doorsfor 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 themoon that way, like a fool. well, the days went along, and the riverwent down between its banks again; and about the first thing we done was to baitone 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 incheslong, and weighed over two hundred pounds. we couldn't handle him, of course; he woulda flung us into illinois. we just set there and watched him rip andtear around till he drownded. we found a brass button in his stomach anda 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, tocoat it over so and make a ball of it. it was as big a fish as was ever catched inthe 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 thepound in the market-house there; everybody buys some of him; his meat's as white assnow and makes a good fry. next morning i said it was getting slow anddull, 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 mustgo in the dark and look sharp. then he studied it over and said, couldn'ti 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 kneesand got into it. jim hitched it behind with the hooks, andit was a fair fit. i put on the sun-bonnet and tied it undermy chin, and then for a body to look in and see my face was like looking down a jointof stove-pipe. jim said nobody would know me, even in thedaytime, hardly. i practiced around all day to get the hangof the things, and by and by i could do pretty well in them, only jim said i didn'twalk like a girl; and he said i must quit pulling up my gown to get at my britches-pocket.
i took notice, and done better.i started up the illinois shore in the canoe just after dark. i started across to the town from a littlebelow the ferry-landing, and the drift of the current fetched me in at the bottom ofthe town. i tied up and started along the bank. there was a light burning in a littleshanty that hadn't been lived in for a long time, and i wondered who had took upquarters there. i slipped up and peeped in at the window. there was a woman about forty year old inthere 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 wasweakening; 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 littletown 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.