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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Buck looked about as old as me—thirteen or fourteen or along there, though he was a little bigger than me. He hadn’t on anything but a shirt, and he was very frowzy-headed. He came in gaping and digging one fist into his eyes, and he was dragging a gun along with the other one. He says: Buck looked to be around my age—thirteen or fourteen or so—though he was bigger than me. He was only wearing a shirt, and he was pretty groggy from having been woken up. He came in yawning and rubbing his eyes with one fist and dragging a gun along with the other hand. He said:
“Ain’t they no Shepherdsons around?” “There aren’t any Shepherdsons around?”
They said, no, ’twas a false alarm. The said, no, that it was a false alarm.
“Well,” he says, “if they’d a ben some, I reckon I’d a got one.” “Well,” he said, “if there had been some, I imagine I would have killed one.”
They all laughed, and Bob says: They all laughed, and Bob said:
“Why, Buck, they might have scalped us all, you’ve been so slow in coming.” “Why, Buck, you were so slow in getting here they might have scalped us all.”
“Well, nobody come after me, and it ain’t right I’m always kept down; I don’t get no show.” “Well, nobody came and woke me up. It isn’t right that I’m always held back. I never get to see the action.”
“Never mind, Buck, my boy,” says the old man, “you’ll have show enough, all in good time, don’t you fret about that. Go ’long with you now, and do as your mother told you.” “Never mind, Buck, my boy,” said the old man. “You’ll see plenty of action in good time. Don’t you worry about it. Go on now, and do as your mother told you.”
When we got up-stairs to his room he got me a coarse shirt and aroundabout and pants of his, and I put them on. While I was at it he asked me what my name was, but before I could tell him he started to tell me about a bluejay and a young rabbit he had catched in the woods day before yesterday, and he asked me where Moses was when the candle went out. I said I didn’t know; I hadn’t heard about it before, no way. When we got upstairs to his room, he gave me a coarse shirt, a jacket, and some pants. I put them on. While I was doing that, he asked me what my name was. But before I could tell him, he started to tell me about a bluejay and young rabbit he had caught in the woods the day before yesterday. Then he asked me where Moses was when the candle went out. I said I didn’t know because I’d never heard anything about Moses and a candle.
“Well, guess,” he says. “Well, guess,” he said.
“How’m I going to guess,” says I, “when I never heard tell of it before?” “How can I guess,” I asked, “if I’ve never heard of any of this before?”
“But you can guess, can’t you? It’s just as easy.” “But you can guess, can’t you? It’s easy.”
“WHICH candle?” I says. “WHICH candle?” I asked.
“Why, any candle,” he says. “Well, any candle,” he said.
“I don’t know where he was,” says I; “where was he?” “I don’t know where he was,” I said. “Where was he?”
“Why, he was in the DARK! That’s where he was!” “Why, he was in the DARK! That’s where he was!”
“Well, if you knowed where he was, what did you ask me for?” “Well, if you knew where he was, why did you ask me?”
“Why, blame it, it’s a riddle, don’t you see? Say, how long are you going to stay here? You got to stay always. We can just have booming times—they don’t have no school now. Do you own a dog? I’ve got a dog—and he’ll go in the river and bring out chips that you throw in. Do you like to comb up Sundays, and all that kind of foolishness? You bet I don’t, but ma she makes me. Confound these ole britches! I reckon I’d better put ’em on, but I’d ruther not, it’s so warm. Are you all ready? All right. Come along, old hoss.” “Darn it, it’s a riddle. Don’t you get it? Hey, how long are you going to stay here? You should stay here forever. We can have a lot of fun together—there isn’t any school now. Do you have a dog? I’ve got a dog, and he’ll go in the river and fetch wood chips that you throw in. Do you like to get all dress up on Sundays and do all that kind of nonsense? You can be sure I don’t like to, but ma makes me. Darn these awful pants! I guess I’d better put them on, but I’d rather not because it’s so warm. Are you all set? All right, come along, you old horse.”
Cold corn-pone, cold corn-beef, butter and buttermilk—that is what they had for me down there, and there ain’t nothing better that ever I’ve come across yet. Buck and his ma and all of them smoked cob pipes, except the nigger woman, which was gone, and the two young women. They all smoked and talked, and I eat and talked. The young women had quilts around them, and their hair down their backs. They all asked me questions, and I told them how pap and me and all the family was living on a little farm down at the bottom of Arkansaw, and my sister Mary Ann run off and got married and never was heard of no more, and Bill went to hunt them and he warn’t heard of no more, and Tom and Mort died, and then there warn’t nobody but just me and pap left, and he was just trimmed down to nothing, on account of his troubles; so when he died I took what there was left, because the farm didn’t belong to us, and started up the river, deck passage, and fell overboard; and that was how I come to be here. So they said I could have a home there as long as I wanted it. Then it was most daylight and everybody went to bed, and I went to bed with Buck, and when I waked up in the morning, drat it all, I had forgot what my name was. So I laid there about an hour trying to think, and when Buck waked up I says: Downstairs, they had cold cornpone, cold corned beef, and buttermilk waiting for me. It was the best of that food I’ve ever had. Buck, his ma, and the rest of them smoked cob pipes, except for the two young women and the n----- woman, who was gone. They all smoked and talked, and I ate and talked. The young women had their hair loose, and it hung down their backs. They also had quilts wrapped around them. They all asked me questions. I told them how pap and me and the family were living on a little farm at the bottom of Arkansas. I told them how my sister Mary Ann had run off and gotten married and that we hadn’t heard from her since, and how Bill had gone off to find them and we hadn’t heard from HIM since. I told them about how Tom and Mort died leaving just me and pap, who was just skin and bones because of all our troubles. When he died, I took what was left, because the farm didn’t belong to us, and booked deck passage on the steamboat headed up the river. Then I’d fallen overboard. That was how I’d come to be here. They said I could live with them as I long I wanted. By then it was almost daylight, so everyone went to bed. I went to bed with Buck. When I woke in the morning, darn it, I’d forgotten what I’d said my name was. I laid there for about an hour trying to remember. When Buck woke up, I said:
“Can you spell, Buck?” “Can you spell, Buck?”
“Yes,” he says. “Yes,” he said.
“I bet you can’t spell my name,” says I. “I bet you can’t spell my name,” I said.
“I bet you what you dare I can,” says he. “I bet you I can, even if you think I can’t,” he said.
“All right,” says I, “go ahead.” “All right,” I said. “Go ahead.”

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