The adventures of huckle.., p.43
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       The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's Comrade), p.43

           Mark Twain
 

  CHAPTER XLI

  The doctor was an old man; a very nice, kind-looking old man when Igot him up. I told him me and my brother was over on Spanish Islandhunting yesterday afternoon, and camped on a piece of a raft we found,and about midnight he must 'a' kicked his gun in his dreams, for itwent off and shot him in the leg, and we wanted him to go over thereand fix it and not say nothing about it, nor let anybody know, becausewe wanted to come home this evening and surprise the folks.

  "Who is your folks?" he says.

  "The Phelpses, down yonder."

  "Oh," he says. And after a minute, he says:

  "How'd you say he got shot?"

  "He had a dream," I says, "and it shot him."

  "Singular dream," he says.

  So he lit up his lantern, and got his saddle-bags, and we started. Butwhen he see the canoe he didn't like the look of her--said she was bigenough for one, but didn't look pretty safe for two. I says:

  "Oh, you needn't be afeard, sir, she carried the three of us easyenough."

  "What three?"

  "Why, me and Sid, and--and--and _the guns_; that's what I mean."

  "Oh," he says.

  But he put his foot on the gunnel and rocked her, and shook his head,and said he reckoned he'd look around for a bigger one. But they wasall locked and chained; so he took my canoe, and said for me to waittill he come back, or I could hunt around further, or maybe I bettergo down home and get them ready for the surprise if I wanted to. But Isaid I didn't; so I told him just how to find the raft, and then hestarted.

  I struck an idea pretty soon. I says to myself, spos'n he can't fixthat leg just in three shakes of a sheep's tail, as the saying is?spos'n it takes him three or four days? What are we going to do?--layaround there till he lets the cat out of the bag? No, sir; I know what_I'll_ do. I'll wait, and when he comes back if he says he's got to goany more I'll get down there, too, if I swim; and we'll take and tiehim, and keep him, and shove out down the river; and when Tom's donewith him we'll give him what it's worth, or all we got, and then lethim get ashore.

  So then I crept into a lumber-pile to get some sleep; and next time Iwaked up the sun was away up over my head! I shot out and went for thedoctor's house, but they told me he'd gone away in the night some timeor other, and warn't back yet. Well, thinks I, that looks powerful badfor Tom, and I'll dig out for the island right off. So away I shoved,and turned the corner, and nearly rammed my head into Uncle Silas'sstomach! He says:

  "Why, _Tom!_ Where you been all this time, you rascal?"

  "_I_ hain't been nowheres," I says, "only just hunting for the runawaynigger--me and Sid."

  "Why, where ever did you go?" he says. "Your aunt's been mightyuneasy."

  "She needn't," I says, "because we was all right. We followed the menand the dogs, but they outrun us, and we lost them; but we thought weheard them on the water, so we got a canoe and took out after them andcrossed over, but couldn't find nothing of them; so we cruised alongup-shore till we got kind of tired and beat out; and tied up the canoeand went to sleep, and never waked up till about an hour ago; then wepaddled over here to hear the news, and Sid's at the post-office tosee what he can hear, and I'm a-branching out to get something to eatfor us, and then we're going home."

  So then we went to the post-office to get "Sid"; but just as Isuspicioned, he warn't there; so the old man he got a letter out ofthe office, and we waited awhile longer, but Sid didn't come; so theold man said, come along, let Sid foot it home, or canoe it, when hegot done fooling around--but we would ride. I couldn't get him to letme stay and wait for Sid; and he said there warn't no use in it, and Imust come along, and let Aunt Sally see we was all right.

  When we got home Aunt Sally was that glad to see me she laughed andcried both, and hugged me, and give me one of them lickings of hernthat don't amount to shucks, and said she'd serve Sid the same when hecome.

  And the place was plum full of farmers and farmers' wives, to dinner;and such another clack a body never heard. Old Mrs. Hotchkiss was theworst; her tongue was a-going all the time. She says:

  "Well, Sister Phelps, I've ransacked that-air cabin over, an' Ib'lieve the nigger was crazy. I says to Sister Damrell--didn't I,Sister Damrell?--s'I, he's crazy, s'I--them's the very words I said.You all hearn me: he's crazy, s'I; everything shows it, s'I. Look atthat-air grindstone, s'I; want to tell _me't_ any cretur 't's in hisright mind 's a goin' to scrabble all them crazy things onto agrindstone? s'I. Here sich 'n' sich a person busted his heart; 'n'here so 'n' so pegged along for thirty-seven year, 'n' allthat--natcherl son o' Louis somebody, 'n' sich everlast'n rubbage.He's plumb crazy, s'I; it's what I says in the fust place, it's what Isays in the middle, 'n' it's what I says last 'n' all the time--thenigger's crazy--crazy 's Nebokoodneezer, s'I."

  "An' look at that-air ladder made out'n rags, Sister Hotchkiss," saysold Mrs. Damrell; "what in the name o' goodness _could_ he ever wantof--"

  "The very words I was a-sayin' no longer ago th'n this minute toSister Utterback, 'n' she'll tell you so herself. Sh-she, look atthat-air rag ladder, sh-she; 'n' s'I, yes, look at it, s'I--what_could_ he 'a' wanted of it, s'I. Sh-she, Sister Hotchkiss, sh-she--"

  "But how in the nation'd they ever _git_ that grindstone _in_ there,_anyway?_ 'n' who dug that-air _hole?_ 'n' who--"

  "My very _words_, Brer Penrod! I was a-sayin'--pass that-air sasser o'm'lasses, won't ye?--I was a-sayin' to Sister Dunlap, jist thisminute, how _did_ they git that grindstone in there? s'I. Without_help,_ mind you--'thout _help! Thar's_ where 'tis. Don't tell _me,_s'I; there _wuz_ help, s'I; 'n' ther' wuz a _plenty_ help, too, s'I;ther's ben a _dozen_ a-helpin' that nigger, 'n' I lay I'd skin everylast nigger on this place but _I'd_ find out who done it, s'I;moreover, s'I--"

  "A _dozen_ says you!--_forty_ couldn't 'a' done everything that's beendone. Look at them case-knife saws and things, how tedious they'vebeen made; look at that bed-leg sawed off with 'm, a week's work forsix men: look at that nigger made out'n straw on the bed; and lookat--"

  "You may _well_ say it, Brer Hightower! It's jist as I was a-sayin' toBrer Phelps, his own self. S'e, what do _you_ think of it, SisterHotchkiss? s'e. Think o' what, Brer Phelps? s'I. Think o' that bed-legsawed off that a way? s'e? _Think_ of it? s'I. I lay it never sawed_itself_ off, s'I--somebody _sawed_ it, s'I; that's my opinion, takeit or leave it, it mayn't be no 'count, s'I, but sich as 't is, it'smy opinion, s'I, 'n' if anybody k'n start a better one, s'I, let him_do_ it, s'I, that's all. I says to Sister Dunlap, s'I--"

  "Why, dog my cats, they must 'a' ben a house-full o' niggers in thereevery night for four weeks to 'a' done all that work, Sister Phelps.Look at that shirt--every last inch of it kivered over with secretAfrican writ'n done with blood! Must 'a' ben a raft uv 'm at it rightalong, all the time, amost. Why, I'd give two dollars to have it readto me; 'n' as for the niggers that wrote it, I 'low I'd take 'n' lash'm t'll--"

  "People to _help_ him, Brother Marples! Well, I reckon you'd _think_so if you'd 'a' been in this house for a while back. Why, they'vestole everything they could lay their hands on--and we a-watching allthe time, mind you. They stole that shirt right off o' the line! andas for that sheet they made the rag ladder out of, ther' ain't notelling how many times they _didn't_ steal that; and flour, andcandles, and candlesticks, and spoons, and the old warming-pan, andmost a thousand things that I disremember now, and my new calicodress; and me and Silas and my Sid and Tom on the constant watch day_and_ night, as I was a-telling you, and not a one of us could catchhide nor hair nor sight nor sound of them; and here at the lastminute, lo and behold you, they slides right in under our noses andfools us, and not only fools _us_ but the Injun Territory robbers too,and actuly gets _away_ with that nigger safe and sound, and that withsixteen men and twenty-two dogs right on their very heels at that verytime! I tell you, it just bangs anything I ever _heard_ of. Why,_sperits_ couldn't 'a' done better and been no smarter. And I reckonthey must 'a' _been_ sperits--because, because, _you_ know our dogs,and ther' ain't no better; well, them dogs ne
ver even got on the_track_ of 'm once! You explain _that_ to me if you can!--_any_ ofyou!"

  "Well, it does beat--"

  "Laws alive, I never--"

  "So help me, I wouldn't 'a' be--"

  "_House_-thieves as well as--"

  "Goodnessgracioussakes, I'd 'a' ben afeard to _live_ in sich a--"

  "Fraid to _live!_--why, I was that scared I dasn't hardly go to bed,or get up, or lay down, or _set_ down, Sister Ridgeway. Why, they'dsteal the very--why, goodness sakes, you can guess what kind of afluster I was in by the time midnight come last night. I hope togracious if I warn't afraid they'd steal some o' the family! I wasjust to that pass I didn't have no reasoning faculties no more. Itlooks foolish enough _now_, in the daytime; but I says to myself,there's my two poor boys asleep, 'way upstairs in that lonesome room,and I declare to goodness I was that uneasy 't I crep' up there andlocked 'em in! I _did_. And anybody would. Because, you know, when youget scared that way, and it keeps running on, and getting worse andworse all the time, and your wits gets to addling, and you get todoing all sorts o' wild things, and by and by you think to yourself,spos'n I was a boy, and was away up there, and the door ain't locked,and you--" She stopped, looking kind of wondering, and then she turnedher head around slow, and when her eye lit on me--I got up and took awalk.

  Says I to myself, I can explain better how we come to not be in thatroom this morning if I go out to one side and study over it a little.So I done it. But I dasn't go fur, or she'd 'a' sent for me. And whenit was late in the day the people all went, and then I come in andtold her the noise and shooting waked up me and "Sid," and the doorwas locked, and we wanted to see the fun, so we went down thelightning-rod, and both of us got hurt a little, and we didn't neverwant to try _that_ no more. And then I went on and told her all what Itold Uncle Silas before; and then she said she'd forgive us, and maybeit was all right enough anyway, and about what a body might expect ofboys, for all boys was a pretty harum-scarum lot as fur as she couldsee; and so, as long as no harm hadn't come of it, she judged shebetter put in her time being grateful we was alive and well and shehad us still, stead of fretting over what was past and done. So thenshe kissed me, and patted me on the head, and dropped into a kind of abrown-study; and pretty soon jumps up, and says:

  "Why, lawsamercy, it's most night, and Sid not come yet! What _has_become of that boy?"

  I see my chance; so I skips up and says:

  "I'll run right up to town and get him," I says.

  "No you won't," she says. "You'll stay right wher' you are; _one's_enough to be lost at a time. If he ain't here to supper, your uncle'll go."

  Well, he warn't there to supper; so right after supper uncle went.

  He come back about ten a little bit uneasy; hadn't run across Tom'strack. Aunt Sally was a good _deal_ uneasy; but Uncle Silas he saidthere warn't no occasion to be--boys will be boys, he said, and you'llsee this one turn up in the morning all sound and right. So she had tobe satisfied. But she said she'd set up for him awhile anyway, andkeep a light burning so he could see it.

  And then when I went up to bed she come up with me and fetched hercandle, and tucked me in, and mothered me so good I felt mean, andlike I couldn't look her in the face; and she set down on the bed andtalked with me a long time, and said what a splendid boy Sid was, anddidn't seem to want to ever stop talking about him; and kept asking meevery now and then if I reckoned he could 'a' got lost, or hurt, ormaybe drownded, and might be laying at this minute somewheressuffering or dead, and she not by him to help him, and so the tearswould drip down silent, and I would tell her that Sid was all right,and would be home in the morning, sure; and she would squeeze my hand,or maybe kiss me, and tell me to say it again, and keep on saying it,because it done her good, and she was in so much trouble. And when shewas going away she looked down in my eyes so steady and gentle, andsays:

  "The door ain't going to be locked, Tom, and there's the window andthe rod; but you'll be good, _won't_ you? And you won't go? For _my_sake."

  Laws knows I _wanted_ to go bad enough to see about Tom, and was allintending to go; but after that I wouldn't 'a' went, not for kingdoms.

  But she was on my mind and Tom was on my mind, so I slept veryrestless. And twice I went down the rod away in the night, and slippedaround front, and see her setting there by her candle in the windowwith her eyes towards the road and the tears in them; and I wished Icould do something for her, but I couldn't, only to swear that Iwouldn't never do nothing to grieve her any more. And the third time Iwaked up at dawn, and slid down, and she was there yet, and her candlewas most out, and her old gray head was resting on her hand, and shewas asleep.

  CHAPTER XLII

  The old man was uptown again before breakfast, but couldn't get notrack of Tom; and both of them set at the table thinking, and notsaying nothing, and looking mournful, and their coffee getting cold,and not eating anything. And by and by the old man says:

  "Did I give you the letter?"

  "What letter?"

  "The one I got yesterday out of the post-office."

  "No, you didn't give me no letter."

  "Well, I must 'a' forgot it."

  So he rummaged his pockets, and then went off somewheres where he hadlaid it down, and fetched it, and give it to her. She says:

  "Why, it's from St. Petersburg--it's from Sis."

  I allowed another walk would do me good; but I couldn't stir. Butbefore she could break it open she dropped it and run--for she seesomething. And so did I. It was Tom Sawyer on a mattress; and that olddoctor; and Jim, in _her_ calico dress, with his hands tied behindhim; and a lot of people. I hid the letter behind the first thing thatcome handy, and rushed. She flung herself at Tom, crying, and says:

  "Oh, he's dead, he's dead, I know he's dead!"

  And Tom he turned his head a little, and muttered something or other,which showed he warn't in his right mind; then she flung up her hands,and says:

  "He's alive, thank God! And that's enough!" and she snatched a kiss ofhim, and flew for the house to get the bed ready, and scatteringorders right and left at the niggers and everybody else, as fast asher tongue could go, every jump of the way.

  I followed the men to see what they was going to do with Jim; and theold doctor and Uncle Silas followed after Tom into the house. The menwas very huffy, and some of them wanted to hang Jim for an example toall the other niggers around there, so they wouldn't be trying to runaway like Jim done, and making such a raft of trouble, and keeping awhole family scared most to death for days and nights. But the otherssaid, don't do it, it wouldn't answer at all; he ain't our nigger, andhis owner would turn up and make us pay for him, sure. So that cooledthem down a little, because the people that's always the most anxiousfor to hang a nigger that hain't done just right is always the veryones that ain't the most anxious to pay for him when they've got theirsatisfaction out of him.

  They cussed Jim considerble, though, and give him a cuff or two sidethe head once in a while, but Jim never said nothing, and he never leton to know me, and they took him to the same cabin, and put his ownclothes on him, and chained him again, and not to no bed-leg thistime, but to a big staple drove into the bottom log, and chained hishands, too, and both legs, and said he warn't to have nothing butbread and water to eat after this till his owner come, or he was soldat auction because he didn't come in a certain length of time, andfilled up our hole, and said a couple of farmers with guns must standwatch around about the cabin every night, and a bulldog tied to thedoor in the daytime; and about this time they was through with the joband was tapering off with a kind of generl good-by cussing, and thenthe old doctor comes and takes a look, and says:

  "Don't be no rougher on him than you're obleeged to, because he ain'ta bad nigger. When I got to where I found the boy I see I couldn't cutthe bullet out without some help, and he warn't in no condition for meto leave to go and get help; and he got a little worse and a littleworse, and after a long time he went out of his head, and wouldn't letme come a-nigh him any more, and
said if I chalked his raft he'd killme, and no end of wild foolishness like that, and I see I couldn't doanything at all with him; so I says, I got to have _help_ somehow; andthe minute I says it out crawls this nigger from somewheres and sayshe'll help, and he done it, too, and done it very well. Of course Ijudged he must be a runaway nigger, and there I _was!_ and there I hadto stick right straight along all the rest of the day and all night.It was a fix, I tell you! I had a couple of patients with the chills,and of course I'd of liked to run up to town and see them, but Idasn't, because the nigger might get away, and then I'd be to blame;and yet never a skiff come close enough for me to hail. So there I hadto stick plumb until daylight this morning; and I never see a niggerthat was a better nuss or faithfuler, and yet he was risking hisfreedom to do it, and was all tired out, too, and I see plain enoughhe'd been worked main hard lately. I liked the nigger for that; I tellyou, gentlemen, a nigger like that is worth a thousand dollars--andkind treatment, too. I had everything I needed, and the boy was doingas well there as he would 'a' done at home--better, maybe, because itwas so quiet; but there I _was_, with both of 'm on my hands, andthere I had to stick till about dawn this morning; then some men in askiff come by, and as good luck would have it the nigger was settingby the pallet with his head propped on his knees sound asleep; so Imotioned them in quiet, and they slipped up on him and grabbed him andtied him before he knowed what he was about, and we never had notrouble. And the boy being in a kind of a flighty sleep, too, wemuffled the oars and hitched the raft on, and towed her over very niceand quiet, and the nigger never made the least row nor said a wordfrom the start. He ain't no bad nigger, gentlemen; that's what I thinkabout him."

  Somebody says:

  "Well, it sounds very good, doctor, I'm obleeged to say."

  Then the others softened up a little, too, and I was mighty thankfulto that old doctor for doing Jim that good turn; and I was glad it wasaccording to my judgment of him, too; because I thought he had a goodheart in him and was a good man the first time I see him. Then theyall agreed that Jim had acted very well, and was deserving to havesome notice took of it, and reward. So every one of them promised,right out and hearty, that they wouldn't cuss him no more.

  Then they come out and locked him up. I hoped they was going to say hecould have one or two of the chains took off, because they was rottenheavy, or could have meat and greens with his bread and water; butthey didn't think of it, and I reckoned it warn't best for me to mixin, but I judged I'd get the doctor's yarn to Aunt Sally somehow orother as soon as I'd got through the breakers that was laying justahead of me--explanations, I mean, of how I forgot to mention aboutSid being shot when I was telling how him and me put in that drattednight paddling around hunting the runaway nigger.

  But I had plenty time. Aunt Sally she stuck to the sick-room all dayand all night, and every time I see Uncle Silas mooning around Idodged him.

  Next morning I heard Tom was a good deal better, and they said AuntSally was gone to get a nap. So I slips to the sick-room, and if Ifound him awake I reckoned we could put up a yarn for the family thatwould wash. But he was sleeping, and sleeping very peaceful, too; andpale, not fire-faced the way he was when he come. So I set down andlaid for him to wake. In about half an hour Aunt Sally comes glidingin, and there I was, up a stump again! She motioned me to be still,and set down by me, and begun to whisper, and said we could all bejoyful now, because all the symptoms was first-rate, and he'd beensleeping like that for ever so long, and looking better and peacefulerall the time, and ten to one he'd wake up in his right mind.

  So we set there watching, and by and by he stirs a bit, and opened hiseyes very natural, and takes a look, and says:

  "Hello!--why, I'm at _home!_ How's that? Where's the raft?"

  "It's all right," I says.

  "And _Jim?_"

  "The same," I says, but couldn't say it pretty brash. But he nevernoticed, but says:

  "Good! Splendid! _Now_ we're all right and safe! Did you tell Aunty?"

  I was going to say yes; but she chipped in and says:

  "About what, Sid?"

  "Why, about the way the whole thing was done."

  "What whole thing?"

  "Why, _the_ whole thing. There ain't but one; how we set the runawaynigger free--me and Tom."

  "Good land! Set the run--What _is_ the child talking about! Dear,dear, out of his head again!"

  "_No_, I ain't out of my HEAD; I know all what I'm talking about. We_did_ set him free--me and Tom. We laid out to do it, and we _done_it. And we done it elegant, too." He'd got a start, and she neverchecked him up, just set and stared and stared, and let him clipalong, and I see it warn't no use for _me_ to put in. "Why, Aunty, itcost us a power of work--weeks of it--hours and hours, every night,whilst you was all asleep. And we had to steal candles, and the sheet,and the shirt, and your dress, and spoons, and tin plates, andcase-knives, and the warming-pan, and the grindstone, and flour, andjust no end of things, and you can't think what work it was to makethe saws, and pens, and inscriptions, and one thing or another, andyou can't think half the fun it was. And we had to make up thepictures of coffins and things, and nonnamous letters from therobbers, and get up and down the lightning-rod, and dig the hole intothe cabin, and make the rope ladder and send it in cooked up in a pie,and send in spoons and things to work with in your apron pocket--"

  "Mercy sakes!"

  "--and load up the cabin with rats and snake's and so on, for companyfor Jim; and then you kept Tom here so long with the butter in his hatthat you come near spiling the whole business, because the men comebefore we was out of the cabin, and we had to rush, and they heard usand let drive at us, and I got my share, and we dodged out of the pathand let them go by, and when the dogs come they warn't interested inus, but went for the most noise, and we got our canoe, and made forthe raft, and was all safe, and Jim was a free man, and we done it allby ourselves, and _wasn't_ it bully. Aunty!"

  "Well, I never heard the likes of it in all my born days! So it was_you_, you little rapscallions, that's been making all this trouble,and turned everybody's wits clean inside out and scared us all most todeath. I've as good a notion as ever I had in my life to take it outo' you this very minute. To think, here I've been, night after night,a--_you_ just get well once, you young scamp, and I lay I'll tan theOld Harry out o' both o' ye!"

  But Tom, he _was_ so proud and joyful, he just _couldn't_ hold in, andhis tongue just _went_ it--she a-chipping in, and spitting fire allalong, and both of them going it at once, like a cat convention; andshe says:

  "_Well_, you get all the enjoyment you can out of it _now_, for mind Itell you if I catch you meddling with him again--"

  "Meddling with _who_ Tom says, dropping his smile and lookingsurprised.

  "With _who?_ Why, the runaway nigger, of course. Who'd you reckon?"

  Tom looks at me very grave, and says:

  "Tom, didn't you just tell me he was all right? Hasn't he got away?"

  "_Him?_" says Aunt Sally; "the runaway nigger? 'Deed he hasn't.They've got him back, safe and sound, and he's in that cabin again, onbread and water, and loaded down with chains, till he's claimed orsold!"

  Tom rose square up in bed, with his eye hot, and his nostrils openingand shutting like gills, and sings out to me:

  "They hain't no _right_ to shut him up! _Shove!_--and don't you lose aminute. Turn him loose! he ain't no slave; he's as free as any creturthat walks this earth!"

  "What _does_ the child mean?"

  "I mean every word I _say_, Aunt Sally, and if somebody don't go,_I'll_ go. I've knowed him all his life, and so has Tom, there. OldMiss Watson died two months ago, and she was ashamed she ever wasgoing to sell him down the river, and _said_ so; and she set him freein her will."

  "Then what on earth did _you_ want to set him free for, seeing he wasalready free?"

  "Well, that _is_ a question, I must say; and _just_ like women! Why, Iwanted the _adventure_ of it; and I'd 'a' waded neck-deep in bloodto--goodness alive, _Aunt Polly!"_
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  If she warn't standing right there, just inside the door, looking assweet and contented as an angel half full of pie, I wish I may never!

  Aunt Sally jumped for her, and most hugged the head off of her, andcried over her, and I found a good enough place for me under the bed,for it was getting pretty sultry for _us_, seemed to me. And I peepedout, and in a little while Tom's Aunt Polly shook herself loose andstood there looking across at Tom over her spectacles--kind ofgrinding him into the earth, you know. And then she says:

  "Yes, you _better_ turn y'r head away--I would if I was you, Tom."

  "Oh, deary me!" says Aunt Sally; "_is_ he changed so? Why, that ain't_Tom_, it's Sid; Tom's--Tom's--why, where is Tom? He was here a minuteago."

  "You mean where's Huck _Finn_--that's what you mean! I reckon I hain'traised such a scamp as my Tom all these years not to know him when I_see_ him. That _would_ be a pretty howdy-do. Come out from under thatbed, Huck Finn."

  So I done it. But not feeling brash.

  Aunt Sally she was one of the mixed-upest-looking persons I eversee--except one, and that was Uncle Silas, when he come in and theytold it all to him. It kind of made him drunk, as you may say, and hedidn't know nothing at all the rest of the day, and preached aprayer-meeting sermon that night that gave him a rattling ruputation,because the oldest man in the world couldn't 'a' understood it. SoTom's Aunt Polly, she told all about who I was, and what; and I had toup and tell how I was in such a tight place that when Mrs. Phelps tookme for Tom Sawyer--she chipped in and says, "Oh, go on and call meAunt Sally, I'm used to it now, and 'taint no need to change"--thatwhen Aunt Sally took me for Tom Sawyer I had to stand it--there warn'tno other way, and I knowed he wouldn't mind, because it would be nutsfor him, being a mystery, and he'd make an adventure out of it, and beperfectly satisfied. And so it turned out, and he let on to be Sid,and made things as soft as he could for me.

  And his Aunt Polly she said Tom was right about old Miss Watsonsetting Jim free in her will; and so, sure enough, Tom Sawyer had goneand took all that trouble and bother to set a free nigger free! and Icouldn't ever understand before, until that minute and that talk, howhe _could_ help a body set a nigger free with his bringing-up.

  Well, Aunt Polly she said that when Aunt Sally wrote to her that Tomand _Sid_ had come all right and safe, she says to herself:

  "Look at that, now! I might have expected it, letting him go off thatway without anybody to watch him. So now I got to go and trapse allthe way down the river, eleven hundred mile, and find out what thatcreetur's up to _this_ time, as long as I couldn't seem to get anyanswer out of you about it."

  "Why, I never heard nothing from you," says Aunt Sally.

  "Well, I wonder! Why, I wrote you twice to ask you what you could meanby Sid being here."

  "Well, I never got 'em. Sis."

  Aunt Polly she turns around slow and severe, and says:

  "You, Tom!"

  "Well--_what?_" he says, kind of pettish.

  "Don't you what _me_, you impudent thing--hand out them letters."

  "What letters?"

  "_Them_ letters. I be bound, if I have to take a-holt of you I'll--"

  "They're in the trunk. There, now. And they're just the same as theywas when I got them out of the office. I hain't looked into them, Ihain't touched them. But I knowed they'd make trouble, and I thoughtif you warn't in no hurry, I'd--"

  "Well, you _do_ need skinning, there ain't no mistake about it. And Iwrote another one to tell you I was coming; and I s'pose he--"

  "No, it come yesterday; I hain't read it yet, but _it's_ all right,I've got that one."

  I wanted to offer to bet two dollars she hadn't, but I reckoned maybeit was just as safe to not to. So I never said nothing.

  CHAPTER THE LAST

  The first time I catched Tom private I asked him what was his idea,time of the evasion?--what it was he'd planned to do if the evasionworked all right and he managed to set a nigger free that was alreadyfree before? And he said, what he had planned in his head from thestart, if we got Jim out all safe, was for us to run him down theriver on the raft, and have adventures plumb to the mouth of theriver, and then tell him about his being free, and take him back uphome on a steamboat, in style, and pay him for his lost time, andwrite word ahead and get out all the niggers around, and have themwaltz him into town with a torchlight procession and a brass-band, andthen he would be a hero, and so would we. But I reckoned it was aboutas well the way it was.

  We had Jim out of the chains in no time, and when Aunt Polly and UncleSilas and Aunt Sally found out how good he helped the doctor nurseTom, they made a heap of fuss over him, and fixed him up prime, andgive him all he wanted to eat, and a good time, and nothing to do. Andwe had him up to the sick-room, and had a high talk; and Tom give Jimforty dollars for being prisoner for us so patient, and doing it up sogood, and Jim was pleased most to death and busted out, and says:

  "_Dah_, now, Huck, what I tell you?--what I tell you up dah on JacksonIslan'? I tole you I got a hairy breas', en what's de sign un it; en I_tole_ you I ben rich wunst, en gwineter to be rich _ag'in;_ en it'scome true; en heah she _is! Dah_, now! doan' talk to _me_--signs is_signs_, mine I tell you; en I knowed jis' 's well 'at I 'uz gwineterbe rich ag'in as I's a-stannin' heah dis minute!"

  And then Tom he talked along and talked along, and says, le's allthree slide out of here one of these nights and get an outfit, and gofor howling adventures amongst the Injuns, over in the territory, fora couple of weeks or two; and I says, all right, that suits me, but Iain't got no money for to buy the outfit, and I reckon I couldn't getnone from home, because it's likely pap's been back before now, andgot it all away from Judge Thatcher and drunk it up.

  "No, he hain't," Tom says; "it's all there yet--six thousand dollarsand more; and your pap hain't ever been back since. Hadn't when I comeaway, anyhow."

  Jim says, kind of solemn:

  "He ain't a-comin' back no mo', Huck."

  I says:

  "Why, Jim?"

  "Nemmine why, Huck--but he ain't comin' back no mo'."

  But I kept at him; so at last he says:

  "Doan' you 'member de house dat was float'n down de river, en dey wuza man in dah, kivered up, en I went in en unkivered him and didn' letyou come in? Well, den, you kin git yo' money when you wants it, kasedat wuz him."

  Tom's most well now, and got his bullet around his neck on awatch-guard for a watch, and is always seeing what time it is, and sothere ain't nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it,because if I'd 'a' knowed what a trouble it was to make a book Iwouldn't 'a' tackled it, and ain't a-going to no more. But I reckon Igot to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because AuntSally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. Ibeen there before.

  THE END

 
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