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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The

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<SPAN name="c32" id="c32"></SPAN> </p> <div class="fig" style="width:80%;"> <ANTIMG alt="c32-277.jpg (169K)" src="images/c32-277.jpg" width="100%" /><br /> </div> <p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> CHAPTER XXXII. </p> <p> WHEN I got there it was all still and Sunday-like, and hot and sunshiny; the hands was gone to the fields; and there was them kind of faint dronings of bugs and flies in the air that makes it seem so lonesome and like everybody's dead and gone; and if a breeze fans along and quivers the leaves it makes you feel mournful, because you feel like it's spirits whispering&mdash;spirits that's been dead ever so many years&mdash;and you always think they're talking about <i>you</i>. &nbsp;As a general thing it makes a body wish <i>he</i> was dead, too, and done with it all. </p> <p> Phelps' was one of these little one-horse cotton plantations, and they all look alike. &nbsp;A rail fence round a two-acre yard; a stile made out of logs sawed off and up-ended in steps, like barrels of a different length, to climb over the fence with, and for the women to stand on when they are going to jump on to a horse; some sickly grass-patches in the big yard, but mostly it was bare and smooth, like an old hat with the nap rubbed off; big double log-house for the white folks&mdash;hewed logs, with the chinks stopped up with mud or mortar, and these mud-stripes been whitewashed some time or another; round-log kitchen, with a big broad, open but roofed passage joining it to the house; log smoke-house back of the kitchen; three little log nigger-cabins in a row t'other side the smoke-house; one little hut all by itself away down against the back fence, and some outbuildings down a piece the other side; ash-hopper and big kettle to bile soap in by the little hut; bench by the kitchen door, with bucket of water and a gourd; hound asleep there in the sun; more hounds asleep round about; about three shade trees away off in a corner; some currant bushes and gooseberry bushes in one place by the fence; outside of the fence a garden and a watermelon patch; then the cotton fields begins, and after the fields the woods. </p> <p> I went around and clumb over the back stile by the ash-hopper, and started for the kitchen. &nbsp;When I got a little ways I heard the dim hum of a spinning-wheel wailing along up and sinking along down again; and then I knowed for certain I wished I was dead&mdash;for that <i>is</i> the lonesomest sound in the whole world. </p> <p> I went right along, not fixing up any particular plan, but just trusting to Providence to put the right words in my mouth when the time come; for I'd noticed that Providence always did put the right words in my mouth if I left it alone. </p> <p> When I got half-way, first one hound and then another got up and went for me, and of course I stopped and faced them, and kept still. &nbsp;And such another powwow as they made! &nbsp;In a quarter of a minute I was a kind of a hub of a wheel, as you may say&mdash;spokes made out of dogs&mdash;circle of fifteen of them packed together around me, with their necks and noses stretched up towards me, a-barking and howling; and more a-coming; you could see them sailing over fences and around corners from everywheres. </p> <p> A nigger woman come tearing out of the kitchen with a rolling-pin in her hand, singing out, "Begone <i>you</i> Tige! you Spot! begone sah!" and she fetched first one and then another of them a clip and sent them howling, and then the rest followed; and the next second half of them come back, wagging their tails around me, and making friends with me. &nbsp;There ain't no harm in a hound, nohow. </p> <p> And behind the woman comes a little nigger girl and two little nigger boys without anything on but tow-linen shirts, and they hung on to their mother's gown, and peeped out from behind her at me, bashful, the way they always do. &nbsp;And here comes the white woman running from the house, about forty-five or fifty year old, bareheaded, and her spinning-stick in her hand; and behind her comes her little white children, acting the same way the little niggers was doing. &nbsp;She was smiling all over so she could hardly stand&mdash;and says: </p> <p> "It's <i>you</i>, at last!&mdash;<i>ain't</i> it?" </p> <p> I out with a "Yes'm" before I thought. </p> <p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <SPAN name="c32-279" id="c32-279"></SPAN><br /> <br /> </p> <div class="fig" style="width:80%;"> <ANTIMG alt="c32-279.jpg (55K)" src="images/c32-279.jpg" width="100%" /><br /> </div> <p> <br /> <br /> <br /> </p> <p> She grabbed me and hugged me tight; and then gripped me by both hands and shook and shook; and the tears come in her eyes, and run down over; and she couldn't seem to hug and shake enough, and kept saying, "You don't look as much like your mother as I reckoned you would; but law sakes, I don't care for that, I'm so glad to see you! &nbsp;Dear, dear, it does seem like I could eat you up! &nbsp;Children, it's your cousin Tom!&mdash;tell him howdy." </p> <p> But they ducked their heads, and put their fingers in their mouths, and hid behind her. &nbsp;So she run on: </p> <p> "Lize, hurry up and get him a hot breakfast right away&mdash;or did you get your breakfast on the boat?" </p> <p> I said I had got it on the boat. &nbsp;So then she started for the house, leading me by the hand, and the children tagging after. &nbsp;When we got there she set me down in a split-bottomed chair, and set herself down on a little low stool in front of me, holding both of my hands, and says: </p> <p> "Now I can have a <i>good</i> look at you; and, laws-a-me, I've been hungry for it a many and a many a time, all these long years, and it's come at last! We been expecting you a couple of days and more. &nbsp;What kep' you?&mdash;boat get aground?" </p> <p> "Yes'm&mdash;she&mdash;" </p> <p> "Don't say yes'm&mdash;say Aunt Sally. &nbsp;Where'd she get aground?" </p> <p> I didn't rightly know what to say, because I didn't know whether the boat would be coming up the river or down. &nbsp;But I go a good deal on instinct; and my instinct said she would be coming up&mdash;from down towards Orleans. That didn't help me much, though; for I didn't know the names of bars down that way. &nbsp;I see I'd got to invent a bar, or forget the name of the one we got aground on&mdash;or&mdash;Now I struck an idea, and fetched it out: </p> <p> "It warn't the grounding&mdash;that didn't keep us back but a little. &nbsp;We blowed out a cylinder-head." </p> <p> "Good gracious! anybody hurt?" </p> <p> "No'm. &nbsp;Killed a nigger." </p> <p> "Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt. &nbsp;Two years ago last Christmas your uncle Silas was coming up from Newrleans on the old Lally Rook, and she blowed out a cylinder-head and crippled a man. &nbsp;And I think he died afterwards. &nbsp;He was a Baptist. &nbsp;Your uncle Silas knowed a family in Baton Rouge that knowed his people very well. &nbsp;Yes, I remember now, he <i>did</i> die. &nbsp;Mortification set in, and they had to amputate him. But it didn't save him. &nbsp;Yes, it was mortification&mdash;that was it. &nbsp;He turned blue all over, and died in the hope of a glorious resurrection. They say he was a sight to look at. &nbsp;Your uncle's been up to the town every day to fetch you. And he's gone again, not more'n an hour ago; he'll be back any minute now. You must a met him on the road, didn't you?&mdash;oldish man, with a&mdash;" </p> <p> "No, I didn't see nobody, Aunt Sally. &nbsp;The boat landed just at daylight, and I left my baggage on the wharf-boat and went looking around the town and out a piece in the country, to put in the time and not get here too soon; and so I come down the back way." </p> <p> "Who'd you give the baggage to?" </p> <p> "Nobody." </p> <p> "Why, child, it 'll be stole!" </p> <p> "Not where I hid it I reckon it won't," I says. </p> <p> "How'd you get your breakfast so early on the boat?" </p> <p> It was kinder thin ice, but I says: </p> <p> "The captain see me standing around, and told me I better have something to eat before I went ashore; so he took me in the texas to the officers' lunch, and give me all I wanted." </p> <p> I was getting so uneasy I couldn't listen good. &nbsp;I had my mind on the children all the time; I wanted to get them out to one side and pump them a little, and find out who I was. &nbsp;But I couldn't get no show, Mrs. Phelps kept it up and run on so. &nbsp;Pretty soon she made the cold chills streak all down my back, because she says: </p> <p> "But here we're a-running on this way, and you hain't told me a word about Sis, nor any of them. &nbsp;Now I'll rest my works a little, and you start up yourn; just tell me <i>everything</i>&mdash;tell me all about 'm all every one of 'm; and how they are, and what they're doing, and what they told you to tell me; and every last thing you can think of." </p> <p> Well, I see I was up a stump&mdash;and up it good. &nbsp;Providence had stood by me this fur all right, but I was hard and tight aground now. &nbsp;I see it warn't a bit of use to try to go ahead&mdash;I'd got to throw up my hand. &nbsp;So I says to myself, here's another place where I got to resk the truth. &nbsp;I opened my mouth to begin; but she grabbed me and hustled me in behind the bed, and says: </p> <p> "Here he comes! &nbsp;Stick your head down lower&mdash;there, that'll do; you can't be seen now. &nbsp;Don't you let on you're here. &nbsp;I'll play a joke on him. Children, don't you say a word." </p> <p> I see I was in a fix now. &nbsp;But it warn't no use to worry; there warn't nothing to do but just hold still, and try and be ready to stand from under when the lightning struck. </p> <p> I had just one little glimpse of the old gentleman when he come in; then the bed hid him. &nbsp;Mrs. Phelps she jumps for him, and says: </p> <p> "Has he come?" </p> <p> "No," says her husband. </p> <p> "Good-<i>ness</i> gracious!" she says, "what in the warld can have become of him?" </p> <p> "I can't imagine," says the old gentleman; "and I must say it makes me dreadful uneasy." </p> <p> "Uneasy!" she says; "I'm ready to go distracted! &nbsp;He <i>must</i> a come; and you've missed him along the road. &nbsp;I <i>know</i> it's so&mdash;something tells me so." </p> <p> "Why, Sally, I <i>couldn't</i> miss him along the road&mdash;<i>you</i> know that." </p> <p> "But oh, dear, dear, what <i>will</i> Sis say! &nbsp;He must a come! &nbsp;You must a missed him. &nbsp;He&mdash;" </p> <p> "Oh, don't distress me any more'n I'm already distressed. &nbsp;I don't know what in the world to make of it. &nbsp;I'm at my wit's end, and I don't mind acknowledging 't I'm right down scared. &nbsp;But there's no hope that he's come; for he <i>couldn't</i> come and me miss him. &nbsp;Sally, it's terrible&mdash;just terrible&mdash;something's happened to the boat, sure!" </p> <p> "Why, Silas! &nbsp;Look yonder!&mdash;up the road!&mdash;ain't that somebody coming?" </p> <p> He sprung to the window at the head of the bed, and that give Mrs. Phelps the chance she wanted. &nbsp;She stooped down quick at the foot of the bed and give me a pull, and out I come; and when he turned back from the window there she stood, a-beaming and a-smiling like a house afire, and I standing pretty meek and sweaty alongside. &nbsp;The old gentleman stared, and says: </p> <p> "Why, who's that?" </p> <p> "Who do you reckon 't is?" </p> <p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <SPAN name="c32-283" id="c32-283"></SPAN><br /> <br /> </p> <div class="fig" style="width:80%;"> <ANTIMG alt="c32-283.jpg (60K)" src="images/c32-283.jpg" width="100%" /><br /> </div> <p> <br /> <br /> <br /> </p> <p> "I hain't no idea. &nbsp;Who <i>is</i> it?" </p> <p> "It's <i>Tom Sawyer!</i>" </p> <p> By jings, I most slumped through the floor! &nbsp;But there warn't no time to swap knives; the old man grabbed me by the hand and shook, and kept on shaking; and all the time how the woman did dance around and laugh and cry; and then how they both did fire off questions about Sid, and Mary, and the rest of the tribe. </p> <p> But if they was joyful, it warn't nothing to what I was; for it was like being born again, I was so glad to find out who I was. &nbsp;Well, they froze to me for two hours; and at last, when my chin was so tired it couldn't hardly go any more, I had told them more about my family&mdash;I mean the Sawyer family&mdash;than ever happened to any six Sawyer families. &nbsp;And I explained all about how we blowed out a cylinder-head at the mouth of White River, and it took us three days to fix it. &nbsp;Which was all right, and worked first-rate; because <i>they</i> didn't know but what it would take three days to fix it. &nbsp;If I'd a called it a bolthead it would a done just as well. </p> <p> Now I was feeling pretty comfortable all down one side, and pretty uncomfortable all up the other. &nbsp;Being Tom Sawyer was easy and comfortable, and it stayed easy and comfortable till by and by I hear a steamboat coughing along down the river. &nbsp;Then I says to myself, s'pose Tom Sawyer comes down on that boat? &nbsp;And s'pose he steps in here any minute, and sings out my name before I can throw him a wink to keep quiet? </p> <p> Well, I couldn't <i>have</i> it that way; it wouldn't do at all. &nbsp;I must go up the road and waylay him. &nbsp;So I told the folks I reckoned I would go up to the town and fetch down my baggage. &nbsp;The old gentleman was for going along with me, but I said no, I could drive the horse myself, and I druther he wouldn't take no trouble about me. </p> <p> <br /> <br /> <br /> </p> <hr /> <p> <br /> <br /> <br /> <SPAN name="c33-284" id="c33-284"></SPAN><br /> <br />
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