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Mark Twain > Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn > Chapter I

Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

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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