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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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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. You wouldn’t have heard of me unless you’ve read a book called The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. But that’s okay. Mr. Mark Twain wrote that book, and what he wrote was mostly true. He exaggerated some things, but most of it was true. That’s not a big deal. I never met anybody who hasn’t lied at one time or another, except for maybe Aunt Polly, the widow, or Mary. Aunt Polly—Tom’s Aunt Polly, that is—and Mary and the Widow Douglas are all in that book, which was mostly true, except for some exaggerations, 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. Now at the end of that book, Tom and I had found the money that the robbers hid in the cave. That money made us rich. We got six thousand dollars each, all in gold. It looked awesome when it was all piled up. Well, Judge Thatcher took that money and invested it. It earned each of us a dollar a day for every day of the year, which was more money than we knew what to do with. The Widow Douglas adopted me and said she’d teach me manners, but it was really hard for me to live in her house because she was so prim and proper. When I couldn’t stand it any longer, I ran away. I put on my old ratty clothes and hung out in my favorite sugar barrel. I was happy and free again. But then Tom Sawyer found me. He said he was forming a band of robbers and that I could join if I returned to the widow’s house and acted respectably. 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. The widow cried when I came back. She called me a poor lost lamb and a lot of other names, but she didn’t mean any harm. She made me wear those new clothes, which made me sweat and feel cooped up all over again. Then all the fuss over rules started up again. For example, whenever the widow rang the supper bell, you had to drop what you were doing and come to the table. When you sat down to eat, you had to wait for her to bow her head and pray, even though there wasn’t anything wrong with the food—except for the fact that she separated everything on the plate, which doesn’t make the food taste as good as it does when it gets jumbled together and the flavors mix.
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. After supper she got out her Bible and taught me all about Moses and the

Bulrushers

water reeds

Bulrushers
. I was pretty excited to hear about him, until she told me that he’d been dead a long time. After that, I didn’t really care to hear more, since I’m not interested 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. Pretty soon, I wanted a smoke, and I asked the widow if that would be okay, but she said no. She said that smoking was filthy and disgusting, and that I had to stop. That’s just the way it is with some people—they badmouth things they don’t know anything about. Here she was going on and on about Moses, who wasn’t related to her and couldn’t help anybody since he’s dead. But then she picks on me for trying to do something that would have done me some good. And she even takes snuff. Of course, she thought that was okay because it was something she liked to do.
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. The widow’s sister, Miss Watson, had just moved in with her. She was skinny old maid who wore glasses and was pretty nice, I guess. One day she sat me down and tried to teach me how to read out of a spelling book. She taught me for about an hour until the widow made her stop, which was good since I couldn’t take it any more. Another boring hour passed, and I started fidgeting. So Miss Watson would say things like “Don’t put your feet on the table, Huckleberry,” and “Don’t slouch, Huckleberry—sit up straight.” Then she’d say, “Don’t yawn and stretch like that, Huckleberry. Why don’t you behave?” Then she told me all about Hell, and I told her that I wished I were there already. That made her angry, but I didn’t really mean any harm. All I wanted was a change of scenery—to go anywhere else. She said it was wicked to say what I had said, and that she would never say such a thing because she wanted to live a good life and go to Heaven. Well, I didn’t see what going to Heaven would get me, so I decided not to even try to get there. I didn’t tell her this, though, because I figured it wouldn’t do any good and would only get me in trouble.

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