The adventures of huckle.., p.27
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       The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's Comrade), p.27

           Mark Twain
 

  CHAPTER XXV

  The news was all over town in two minutes, and you could see thepeople tearing down on the run from every which way, some of themputting on their coats as they come. Pretty soon we was in the middleof a crowd, and the noise of the tramping was like a soldier march.The windows and dooryards was full; and every minute somebody wouldsay, over a fence:

  "Is it _them?_"

  And somebody trotting along with the gang would answer back and say:

  "You bet it is."

  When we got to the house the street in front of it was packed, and thethree girls was standing in the door. Mary Jane _was_ red-headed, butthat don't make no difference, she was most awful beautiful, and herface and her eyes was all lit up like glory, she was so glad heruncles was come. The king he spread his arms, and Mary Jane she jumpedfor them, and the hare-lip jumped for the duke, and there they _had_it! Everybody most, leastways women, cried for joy to see them meetagain at last and have such good times.

  Then the king he hunched the duke private--I see him do it--and thenhe looked around and see the coffin, over in the corner on two chairs;so then him and the duke, with a hand across each other's shoulder,and t'other hand to their eyes, walked slow and solemn over there,everybody dropping back to give them room, and all the talk and noisestopping, people saying "'Sh!" and all the men taking their hats offand drooping their heads, so you could 'a' heard a pin fall. And whenthey got there they bent over and looked in the coffin, and took onesight, and then they bust out a-crying so you could 'a' heard them toOrleans, most; and then they put their arms around each other's necks,and hung their chins over each other's shoulders; and then for threeminutes, or maybe four, I never see two men leak the way they done.And, mind you, everybody was doing the same; and the place was thatdamp I never see anything like it. Then one of them got on one side ofthe coffin, and t'other on t'other side, and they kneeled down andrested their foreheads on the coffin, and let on to pray all tothemselves. Well, when it come to that it worked the crowd like younever see anything like it, and everybody broke down and went tosobbing right out loud--the poor girls, too; and every woman, nearly,went up to the girls, without saying a word, and kissed them, solemn,on the forehead, and then put their hand on their head, and looked uptowards the sky, with the tears running down, and then busted out andwent off sobbing and swabbing, and give the next woman a show. I neversee anything so disgusting. Well, by and by the king he gets up andcomes forward a little, and works himself up and slobbers out aspeech, all full of tears and flapdoodle, about its being a sore trialfor him and his poor brother to lose the diseased, and to miss seeingdiseased alive after the long journey of four thousand mile, but it'sa trial that's sweetened and sanctified to us by this dear sympathyand these holy tears, and so he thanks them out of his heart and outof his brother's heart, because out of their mouths they can't, wordsbeing too weak and cold, and all that kind of rot and slush, till itwas just sickening; and then he blubbers out a pious goody-goody Amen,and turns himself loose and goes to crying fit to bust.

  And the minute the words were out of his mouth somebody over in thecrowd struck up the doxolojer, and everybody joined in with all theirmight, and it just warmed you up and made you feel as good as churchletting out. Music is a good thing; and after all that soul-butter andhogwash I never see it freshen up things so, and sound so honest andbully.

  Then the king begins to work his jaw again, and says how him and hisnieces would be glad if a few of the main principal friends of thefamily would take supper here with them this evening, and help set upwith the ashes of the diseased; and says if his poor brother layingyonder could speak he knows who he would name, for they was names thatwas very dear to him, and mentioned often in his letters; and so hewill name the same, to wit, as follows, viz.:--Rev. Mr. Hobson, andDeacon Lot Hovey, and Mr. Ben Rucker, and Abner Shackleford, and LeviBell, and Dr. Robinson, and their wives, and the widow Bartley.

  Rev. Hobson and Dr. Robinson was down to the end of the town a-huntingtogether--that is, I mean the doctor was shipping a sick man tot'other world, and the preacher was pinting him right. Lawyer Bell wasaway up to Louisville on business. But the rest was on hand, and sothey all come and shook hands with the king and thanked him and talkedto him; and then they shook hands with the duke and didn't saynothing, but just kept a-smiling and bobbing their heads like a passelof sapheads whilst he made all sorts of signs with his hands and said"Goo-goo--goo-goo-goo" all the time, like a baby that can't talk.

  So the king he blattered along, and managed to inquire about prettymuch everybody and dog in town, by his name, and mentioned all sortsof little things that happened one time or another in the town, or toGeorge's family, or to Peter. And he always let on that Peter wrotehim the things; but that was a lie: he got every blessed one of themout of that young flathead that we canoed up to the steamboat.

  Then Mary Jane she fetched the letter her father left behind, and theking he read it out loud and cried over it. It give the dwelling-houseand three thousand dollars, gold, to the girls; and it give thetanyard (which was doing a good business), along with some otherhouses and land (worth about seven thousand), and three thousanddollars in gold to Harvey and William, and told where the six thousandcash was hid down cellar. So these two frauds said they'd go and fetchit up, and have everything square and above-board; and told me to comewith a candle. We shut the cellar door behind us, and when they foundthe bag they spilt it out on the floor, and it was a lovely sight, allthem yaller-boys. My, the way the king's eyes did shine! He slaps theduke on the shoulder and says:

  "Oh, _this_ ain't bully nor noth'n! Oh, no, I reckon not! Why, Biljy,it beats the Nonesuch, _don't_ it?"

  The duke allowed it did. They pawed the yaller-boys, and sifted themthrough their fingers and let them jingle down on the floor; and theking says:

  "It ain't no use talkin'; bein' brothers to a rich dead man andrepresentatives of furrin heirs that's got left is the line for youand me, Bilge. Thish yer comes of trust'n to Providence. It's the bestway, in the long run. I've tried 'em all, and ther' ain't no betterway."

  Most everybody would 'a' been satisfied with the pile, and took it ontrust; but no, they must count it. So they counts it, and it comes outfour hundred and fifteen dollars short. Says the king:

  "Dern him, I wonder what he done with that four hundred and fifteendollars?"

  They worried over that awhile, and ransacked all around for it. Thenthe duke says:

  "Well, he was a pretty sick man, and likely he made a mistake--Ireckon that's the way of it. The best way's to let it go, and keepstill about it. We can spare it."

  "Oh, shucks, yes, we can _spare_ it. I don't k'yer noth'n 'boutthat--it's the _count_ I'm thinkin' about. We want to be awful squareand open and above-board here, you know. We want to lug this h'yermoney up-stairs and count it before everybody--then ther' ain't noth'nsuspicious. But when the dead man says ther's six thous'n dollars, youknow, we don't want to--"

  "Hold on," says the duke. "Le's make up the deffisit," and he begun tohaul out yaller-boys out of his pocket.

  "It's a most amaz'n' good idea, duke--you _have_ got a rattlin' cleverhead on you," says the king. "Blest if the old Nonesuch ain't aheppin' us out ag'in," and _he_ begun to haul out yaller-jackets andstack them up.

  It most busted them, but they made up the six thousand clean andclear.

  "Say," says the duke, "I got another idea. Le's go up-stairs and countthis money, and then take and _give it to the girls."_

  "Good land, duke, lemme hug you! It's the most dazzling idea 'at evera man struck. You have cert'nly got the most astonishin' head I eversee. Oh, this is the boss dodge, ther' ain't no mistake 'bout it. Let'em fetch along their suspicions now if they want to--this 'll lay 'emout."

  When we got up-stairs everybody gethered around the table, and theking he counted it and stacked it up, three hundred dollars in apile--twenty elegant little piles. Everybody looked hungry at it, andlicked their chops. Then they raked it into the bag again, and I seethe
king begin to swell himself up for another speech. He says:

  "Friends all, my poor brother that lays yonder has done generous bythem that's left behind in the vale of sorrers. He has done generousby these yer poor little lambs that he loved and sheltered, and that'sleft fatherless and motherless. Yes, and we that knowed him knows thathe would 'a' done _more_ generous by 'em if he hadn't ben afeard o'woundin' his dear William and me. Now, _wouldn't_ he? Ther' ain't noquestion 'bout it in _my_ mind. Well, then, what kind o' brotherswould it be that 'd stand in his way at sech a time? And what kind o'uncles would it be that 'd rob--yes, _Rob_--sech poor sweet lambs asthese 'at he loved so at sech a time? If I know William--and I _think_I do--he--well, I'll jest ask him." He turns around and begins to makea lot of signs to the duke with his hands, and the duke he looks athim stupid and leather-headed awhile; then all of a sudden he seems tocatch his meaning, and jumps for the king, goo-gooing with all hismight for joy, and hugs him about fifteen times before he lets up.Then the king says, "I knowed it; I reckon _that_ 'll convince anybodythe way _he_ feels about it. Here, Mary Jane, Susan, Joanner, take themoney--take it _all._ It's the gift of him that lays yonder, cold butjoyful."

  Mary Jane she went for him, Susan and the hare-lip went for the duke,and then such another hugging and kissing I never see yet. Andeverybody crowded up with the tears in their eyes, and most shook thehands off of them frauds, saying all the time:

  "You _dear_ good souls!--how _lovely!_--how _could_ you!"

  Well, then, pretty soon all hands got to talking about the diseasedagain, and how good he was, and what a loss he was, and all that; andbefore long a big iron-jawed man worked himself in there from outside,and stood a-listening and looking, and not saying anything; and nobodysaying anything to him either, because the king was talking and theywas all busy listening. The king was saying--in the middle ofsomething he'd started in on--

  "--they bein' partickler friends o' the diseased. That's why they'reinvited here this evenin'; but tomorrow we want _all_ tocome--everybody; for he respected everybody, he liked everybody, andso it's fitten that his funeral orgies sh'd be public."

  And so he went a-mooning on and on, liking to hear himself talk, andevery little while he fetched in his funeral orgies again, till theduke he couldn't stand it no more; so he writes on a little scrap ofpaper, "_Obsequies_, you old fool," and folds it up, and goes togoo-gooing and reaching it over people's heads to him. The king hereads it and puts it in his pocket, and says:

  "Poor William, afflicted as he is, his _heart's_ aluz right. Asks meto invite everybody to come to the funeral--wants me to make 'em allwelcome. But he needn't 'a' worried--it was jest what I was at."

  Then he weaves along again, perfectly ca'm, and goes to dropping inhis funeral orgies again every now and then, just like he done before.And when he done it the third time he says:

  "I say orgies, not because it's the common term, because itain't--obsequies bein' the common term--but because orgies is theright term. Obsequies ain't used in England no more now--it's goneout. We say orgies now in England. Orgies is better, because it meansthe thing you're after more exact. It's a word that's made up out'nthe Greek _orgo_, outside, open, abroad; and the Hebrew _jeesum_, toplant, cover up; hence in_ter_. So, you see, funeral orgies is an opener public funeral."

  He was the _worst_ I ever struck. Well, the iron-jawed man he laughedright in his face. Everybody was shocked. Everybody says, "Why,_doctor!_" and Abner Shackleford says:

  "Why, Robinson, hain't you heard the news? This is Harvey Wilks."

  The king he smiled eager, and shoved out his flapper, and says:

  "_Is_ it my poor brother's dear good friend and physician? I--"

  "Keep your hands off me!" says the doctor. "_You_ talk like anEnglishman, _don't_ you? It's the worst imitation I ever heard. _You_Peter Wilks's brother! You're a fraud, that's what you are!"

  Well, how they all took on! They crowded around the doctor and triedto quiet him down, and tried to explain to him and tell him howHarvey's showed in forty ways that he _was_ Harvey, and knowedeverybody by name, and the names of the very dogs, and begged and_begged_ him not to hurt Harvey's feelings and the poor girls'feelings, and all that. But it warn't no use; he stormed right along,and said any man that pretended to be an Englishman and couldn'timitate the lingo no better than what he did was a fraud and a liar.The poor girls was hanging to the king and crying; and all of a suddenthe doctor ups and turns on _them._ He says:

  "I was your father's friend, and I'm your friend; and I warn you as afriend, and an honest one that wants to protect you and keep you outof harm and trouble, to turn your backs on that scoundrel and havenothing to do with him, the ignorant tramp, with his idiotic Greek andHebrew, as he calls it. He is the thinnest kind of an impostor--hascome here with a lot of empty names and facts which he picked upsomewheres; and you take them for _proofs_, and are helped to foolyourselves by these foolish friends here, who ought to know better.Mary Jane Wilks, you know me for your friend, and for your unselfishfriend, too. Now listen to me; turn this pitiful rascal out--I _beg_you to do it. Will you?"

  Mary Jane straightened herself up, and my, but she was handsome! Shesays:

  "_Here_ is my answer." She hove up the bag of money and put it in theking's hands, and says, "Take this six thousand dollars, and investfor me and my sisters any way you want to, and don't give us noreceipt for it."

  Then she put her arm around the king on one side, and Susan and thehare-lip done the same on the other. Everybody clapped their hands andstomped on the floor like a perfect storm, whilst the king held up hishead and smiled proud. The doctor says:

  "All right; I wash _my_ hands of the matter. But I warn you all that atime's coming when you're going to feel sick whenever you think ofthis day." And away he went.

  "All right, doctor," says the king, kinder mocking him; "we'll try andget 'em to send for you;" which made them all laugh, and they said itwas a prime good hit.

 
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