Skip over navigation

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Original Text

Modern Text

IN about a minute somebody spoke out of a window without putting his head out, and says: In a minute, a voice called out from an open window:
“Be done, boys! Who’s there?” “That’s enough, boys! Who’s there?”
I says: I said:
“It’s me.” “It’s me.”
“Who’s me?” “Who’s me?”
“George Jackson, sir.” “George Jackson, sir.”
“What do you want?” “What do you want?”
“I don’t want nothing, sir. I only want to go along by, but the dogs won’t let me.” “I don’t want anything, sir. I was just walking by, but your dogs won’t let me.”
“What are you prowling around here this time of night for—hey?” “What are you doing prowling around here at this time of night, huh?”
“I warn’t prowling around, sir, I fell overboard off of the steamboat.” “I wasn’t prowling around, sir. I fell overboard off the steamboat.”
“Oh, you did, did you? Strike a light there, somebody. What did you say your name was?” “Oh, really? Will someone strike a match and light a lantern? What did you say your name was?”
“George Jackson, sir. I’m only a boy.” “George Jackson, sir. I’m only a boy.”
“Look here, if you’re telling the truth you needn’t be afraid—nobody’ll hurt you. But don’t try to budge; stand right where you are. Rouse out Bob and Tom, some of you, and fetch the guns. George Jackson, is there anybody with you?” “Look here. If you’re telling the truth, then you needn’t be afraid—nobody will hurt you. But don’t try to move. Stand right where you are. One of you, go wake up Bob and Tom and bring the guns. George Jackson, is there anyone with you?”
“No, sir, nobody.” “No, sir, nobody.”
I heard the people stirring around in the house now, and see a light. The man sung out: By now I could hear people stirring around in the house, and I saw a light. A man called out:
“Snatch that light away, Betsy, you old fool—ain’t you got any sense? Put it on the floor behind the front door. Bob, if you and Tom are ready, take your places.” “Snuff that light out, Besty, you old fool. Don’t you have any common sense? Put it on the floor behind the door. Bob, if you and Tom are ready, take your places.
“All ready.” “All ready.”
“Now, George Jackson, do you know the Shepherdsons?” “Now, George Jackson, do you know the Shepherdons?”
“No, sir; I never heard of them.” “No, sir. I’ve never heard of them.”
“Well, that may be so, and it mayn’t. Now, all ready. Step forward, George Jackson. And mind, don’t you hurry—come mighty slow. If there’s anybody with you, let him keep back—if he shows himself he’ll be shot. Come along now. Come slow; push the door open yourself—just enough to squeeze in, d’ you hear?” “Well, that might be true—then it again, it might not. Okay, we’re all ready. Step forward, George Jackson. And I warn you—don’t hurry. Come over here slowly. If there’s anybody with you, he should keep his distance. If he shows himself, he’ll get shot. Come on now. Approach slowly. Push the door open a little bit by yourself—just squeeze in, okay?”
I didn’t hurry; I couldn’t if I’d a wanted to. I took one slow step at a time and there warn’t a sound, only I thought I could hear my heart. The dogs were as still as the humans, but they followed a little behind me. When I got to the three log doorsteps I heard them unlocking and unbarring and unbolting. I put my hand on the door and pushed it a little and a little more till somebody said, “There, that’s enough—put your head in.” I done it, but I judged they would take it off. I didn’t hurry. I couldn’t have, even if wanted to. I took one slow step at a time. I didn’t make a sound, though I thought I could hear my own heart beating. The dogs were as quiet as the people, but they followed a little behind me. When I got to the three log doorsteps I heard the people inside unlocking, unbarring, and unbolting the doors. I put my hand on the door and pushed it little by little until somebody said, “That’s far enough—poke your head in.” I did, but I figured they’d probably shoot it off.
The candle was on the floor, and there they all was, looking at me, and me at them, for about a quarter of a minute: Three big men with guns pointed at me, which made me wince, I tell you; the oldest, gray and about sixty, the other two thirty or more—all of them fine and handsome—and the sweetest old gray-headed lady, and back of her two young women which I couldn’t see right well. The old gentleman says: There was a candle on the floor. For a few seconds, everyone in the room was looking at me and I was looking at them. There were three big men with guns pointed at me. This sure made me wince. The oldest one had gray hair and looked about sixty. The other two were about thirty years old or so. All of them looked strong and handsome. There was also a sweet old gray-haired lady. Behind her were two young women, but I couldn’t see them very well. The old gentleman said:
“There; I reckon it’s all right. Come in.” “Okay, I suppose it’s all right. Come on in.”
As soon as I was in the old gentleman he locked the door and barred it and bolted it, and told the young men to come in with their guns, and they all went in a big parlor that had a new rag carpet on the floor, and got together in a corner that was out of the range of the front windows—there warn’t none on the side. They held the candle, and took a good look at me, and all said, “Why, HE ain’t a Shepherdson—no, there ain’t any Shepherdson about him.” Then the old man said he hoped I wouldn’t mind being searched for arms, because he didn’t mean no harm by it—it was only to make sure. So he didn’t pry into my pockets, but only felt outside with his hands, and said it was all right. He told me to make myself easy and at home, and tell all about myself; but the old lady says: As soon as I was inside the old gentleman locked the door, barred it, and bolted it. He told the young men to come in with their guns, and they all went in a big parlor that had a new rag carpet on the floor. They got together in a corner that was out of range of the front windows—there weren’t any windows on the sides. They held the candle and took a good look at me, and they all said, “Why, HE’S not a Shepherdson. No, there isn’t anything about him that looks like a Shepherdson.” Then the old man said he hoped I wouldn’t mind being searched for weapons, because he didn’t mean any harm by it—he only wanted to make sure. He didn’t look in my pockets, but just felt the outside with his hands before saying it was all right. He told me to make myself comfortable and at home and tell them all about myself. But the old lady said:
“Why, bless you, Saul, the poor thing’s as wet as he can be; and don’t you reckon it may be he’s hungry?” “Bless you, Saul, the poor thing is as wet as he can be! And don’t you think he’s hungry?”
“True for you, Rachel—I forgot.” “You’re right, Rachel, I forgot.”
So the old lady says: So the old lady said:
“Betsy” (this was a nigger woman), “you fly around and get him something to eat as quick as you can, poor thing; and one of you girls go and wake up Buck and tell him—oh, here he is himself. Buck, take this little stranger and get the wet clothes off from him and dress him up in some of yours that’s dry.” “Betsy,” (she was referring to the n----- woman) “Go and get him something to eat as quick as you can, the poor thing. And one of you girls go and wake up Buck and tell him… oh, here he comes. Buck, take this little stranger and get the wet clothes off him. Lend him some of your dry clothes.”

More Help

Previous Next