Huckleberry FinnPretty 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
me for doing a thing that had some
good in it. And she took snuff, too; of
course that was fine, because she done it herself.
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
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. 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
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
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 some thing 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
category of a
sound that a
ghost makes when it wants to tell about
some thing 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.
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
I got up and turned around in my tracks three
times and crossed my
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.
"Now, we'll start this band of robbers and call it Tom Sawyer's Gang.
Everybody that wants to join has got to take an oath, and
write his name in
willing. So Tom got out a sheet of paper that he had
wrote the oath on, and
read it. It swore every
boy to stick to the band, and never
tell any of the secrets; and
if anybody done any thing to any boy
in the band, whichever boy was
ordered to kill that
individual and his
family must do it, and he mustn't
eat and he mustn't
sleep till he had
killed them and hacked a
cross in their
breasts, which was the
sign of the band.
And nobody that
didn't belong to the band could use that mark, and if he did he must be sued; and if
he done it again he must be killed. And if
anybody that belonged to the band told the
secrets, he must have his
throat cut, and then have his carcass burnt up and the ashes scattered all around,
and his name blotted off of the list with
blood and never mentioned
again by the gang, but have a curse put on it and
be forgot forever.
Everybody said it was a realbeautiful oath, and asked Tom if he got it out of his
own head. He said, some of it, but the rest was out of
robber-books, and every gang that was
high-toned had it.
"Now," says Ben Rogers, "what's the line of
business of this
murder," Tom said.
"Must we always
kill the victims?"
certainly. It's best. Some
authorities think different, but mostly it's considered best to
kill them - except some that you bring to the
cave here, and keep them till they're ransomed."
robbers now and then about a month, and
then I resigned. All the boys did. We
hadn't robbed nobody, hadn't
killed any victims, but only just
Pap got too handy with his hick'ry, and I couldn't
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
three days. It was dreadful lonesome.
I judged he had got drowned, 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
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 for a
dog to get through.
I couldn't get up
the chimbly; it was too narrow.
The door was thick, solid
Pap was pretty careful
not to leave a knife or any thing in the
cabin when he was away;
I reckon I had hunted the place over as much as a
well, I was most all the time at it, because it was about the only way
to put in the time.
time I found some thing at last; I found an
old rusty wood saw without any
it was laid in between
a rafter and the clapboards of the roof. I greased it up and went to
There was an old horse-blanket
nailed against the logs at the far end of the cabin behind the table, to keep
the wind from blowing through the chinks and
putting the candle out.
I got under
the table and raised the blanket, and went to work to saw a section of the big bottom log out
-- big enough to let me through. Well, it
was a good long job, but I was getting
towards the end of it when I heard
pap's gun in the woods.
got rid of the signs of
and dropped the blanket and hid my saw, and pretty soon pap come in. Pap warn't
in a good humor -- so he was his
pap took the jug, and said he had enough whisky
there for two drunks and one delirium tremens.
That was always his word. I
judged he would be
blind drunk in about an hour, and then I would
steal the key, or saw myself out, one or
He drank and
drank, and tumbled down on his blankets 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 around this way
and that for a long time.
At last I
got so sleepy I couldn't keep
my eyes open , and so before I knowed
what I was about I was sound asleep, and the candle
I don't know how long I was
asleep, but all of a sudden
there was an awful scream and I was up. There was
pap looking wild, and skipping
around every which way and yelling about snakes. He said they was crawling up his
legs; and then he would give a jump and scream,
and say one had bit him on the cheek - but I couldn't
see no snakes.
He started and run round and
round the cabin, hollering "Take him off! take him off! he's biting
me on the neck!" I never
seen a man look so
wild in the eyes.
Pretty soon he was all
fagged out, and fell down panting; then he rolled over and over wonderful fast,
kicking things every which way, and striking and grabbing at the
air with his
screaming and saying there was
devils a-hold of him. He wore out by and by, and
laid still a while, moaning.
Then he laid stiller, and didn't make a
sound. I could hear the
owls and the wolves away off 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
me -- don't!
hands off -- they're cold; let go.
Oh, let a poor
Then he went
down on all fours and crawled off, begging them
to let him alone, and he rolled himself up in his blanket and wallowed 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 sees
me and went for
me. He chased
me round and round the place with a
me the Angel of
Death, and saying he would kill
me, and then I couldn't come for him no
I begged, and told him I was only Huck; but
he laughed such a screechy laugh, and
roared and cussed, and kept on chasing
Once when I turned short
and dodged under his arm he made a grab and got
me by the jacket between my shoulders,
and I thought I was gone; but I slid out
of the jacket quick as lightning, and
Pretty soon he was all
tired out, and dropped down with his back against the door, and said he would
rest a minute and then kill
me. He put his
knife under him, and said he would
sleep and get strong, and
then he would see who was who.
Mark Twain, from Huckleberry
back to stacks
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