Adventures of huckleberry finn



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ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
By Mark Twain

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EXPLANATORY


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

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

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

last. The shadings have not been done in a haphazard fashion, or by

guesswork; but painstakingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and

support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech.


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

would suppose that all these characters were trying to talk alike and

not succeeding.
THE AUTHOR.

HUCKLEBERRY FINN


Scene: The Mississippi Valley Time: Forty to fifty years ago

CHAPTER I.
YOU don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The

Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was made

by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things

which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I

never seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it was Aunt

Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary. Aunt Polly—Tom's Aunt Polly, she

is—and Mary, and the Widow Douglas is all told about in that book, which

is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as I said before.


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

that the robbers hid in the cave, and it made us rich. We got six

thousand dollars apiece—all gold. It was an awful sight of money when

it was piled up. Well, Judge Thatcher he took it and put it out

at interest, and it fetched us a dollar a day apiece all the year

round—more than a body could tell what to do with. The Widow Douglas

she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was

rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular

and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn't stand

it no longer I lit out. I got into my old rags and my sugar-hogshead

again, and was free and satisfied. But Tom Sawyer he hunted me up and

said he was going to start a band of robbers, and I might join if I

would go back to the widow and be respectable. So I went back.
The widow she cried over me, and called me a poor lost lamb, and she

called me a lot of other names, too, but she never meant no harm by

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

sweat and sweat, and feel all cramped up. Well, then, the old thing

commenced again. The widow rung a bell for supper, and you had to come

to time. When you got to the table you couldn't go right to eating, but

you had to wait for the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little

over the victuals, though there warn't really anything the matter with

them,—that is, nothing only everything was cooked by itself. In a

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

juice kind of swaps around, and the things go better.
After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the

Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by and

by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so

then I didn't care no more about him, because I don't take no stock in

dead people.
Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked the widow to let me. But she

wouldn't. She said it was a mean practice and wasn't clean, and I must

try to not do it any more. That is just the way with some people. They

get down on a thing when they don't know nothing about it. Here she was

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

being gone, you see, yet finding a power of fault with me for doing a

thing that had some good in it. And she took snuff, too; of course that

was all right, because she done it herself.


Her sister, Miss Watson, a tolerable slim old maid, with goggles on,

had just come to live with her, and took a set at me now with a

spelling-book. She worked me middling hard for about an hour, and then

the widow made her ease up. I couldn't stood it much longer. Then for

an hour it was deadly dull, and I was fidgety. Miss Watson would say,

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

like that, Huckleberry—set up straight;" and pretty soon she would

say, "Don't gap and stretch like that, Huckleberry—why don't you try to

behave?" Then she told me all about the bad place, and I said I wished

I was there. She got mad then, but I didn't mean no harm. All I wanted

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

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

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

Well, I couldn't see no advantage in going where she was going, so I

made up my mind I wouldn't try for it. But I never said so, because it

would only make trouble, and wouldn't do no good.


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

place. She said all a body would have to do there was to go around all

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

much of it. But I never said so. I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer

would go there, and she said not by a considerable sight. I was glad

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


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

By and by they fetched the niggers in and had prayers, and then

everybody was off to bed. I went up to my room with a piece of candle,

and put it on the table. Then I set down in a chair by the window and

tried to think of something cheerful, but it warn't no use. I felt

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

leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and I heard an owl, away

off, who-whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill and a

dog crying about somebody that was going to die; and the wind was trying

to whisper something to me, and I couldn't make out what it was, and so

it made the cold shivers run over me. Then away out in the woods I heard

that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about

something that's on its mind and can't make itself understood, and so

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

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

company. Pretty soon a spider went crawling up my shoulder, and I

flipped it off and it lit in the candle; and before I could budge it

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

an awful bad sign and would fetch me some bad luck, so I was scared

and most shook the clothes off of me. I got up and turned around in my

tracks three times and crossed my breast every time; and then I tied

up a little lock of my hair with a thread to keep witches away. But

I hadn't no confidence. You do that when you've lost a horseshoe that

you've found, instead of nailing it up over the door, but I hadn't ever

heard anybody say it was any way to keep off bad luck when you'd killed

a spider.


I set down again, a-shaking all over, and got out my pipe for a smoke;

for the house was all as still as death now, and so the widow wouldn't

know. Well, after a long time I heard the clock away off in the town

go boom—boom—boom—twelve licks; and all still again—stiller than

ever. Pretty soon I heard a twig snap down in the dark amongst the

trees—something was a stirring. I set still and listened. Directly I

could just barely hear a "me-yow! me-yow!" down there. That was good!

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

light and scrambled out of the window on to the shed. Then I slipped

down to the ground and crawled in among the trees, and, sure enough,



there was Tom Sawyer waiting for me.


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