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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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This young girl kept a scrap-book when she was alive, and used to paste obituaries and accidents and cases of patient suffering in it out of the Presbyterian Observer, and write poetry after them out of her own head. It was very good poetry. This is what she wrote about a boy by the name of Stephen Dowling Bots that fell down a well and was drownded: When she was alive, this young girl had kept a scrapbook where she used to paste obituaries and reports of accidents and stories of suffering patients from the Presbyterian Observer. She’d also write poetry about these articles. It was very good poetry. For example, here’s what she wrote about a boy named Stephen Dowling Bots, who had fallen down a well and drowned:
ODE TO STEPHEN DOWLING BOTS, DEC’D ODE TO STEPHEN DOWLING BOTS, DECEASED
And did young Stephen sicken, And did young Stephen sicken,
And did young Stephen die? And did young Stephen die?
And did the sad hearts thicken, And did the sad hearts thicken,
And did the mourners cry? And did the mourners cry?
No; such was not the fate of, No; such was not the fate of,
Young Stephen Dowling Bots; Young Stephen Dowling Bots;
Though sad hearts round him thickened, Though sad hearts round him thickened,
’Twas not from sickness’ shots. ‘Twas not from sickness’s shots.
No whooping-cough did rack his frame, No whooping cough did rack his frame,
Nor measles drear with spots; Nor measles drear with spots;
Not these impaired the sacred name, Not thes impaired the sacred name,
Of Stephen Dowling Bots. Of Stephen Dowling Bots.
Despised love struck not with woe, Despised love struck not with woe,
That head of curly knots; That head of curly knots;
Nor stomach troubles laid him low, Nor stomach troubles laid him low,
Young Stephen Dowling Bots. Young Stephen Dowling Bots.
O no. Then list with tearful eye, Oh no. Then listen with tearful eye,
Whilst I his fate do tell. Whilst I his fate do tell.
His soul did from this cold world fly, His soul did from this cold world fly
By falling down a well. By falling down a well.
They got him out and emptied him; They got him out and emptied him;
Alas it was too late; Alas, it was to late;
His spirit was gone for to sport aloft, His spirit was gone to sport aloft,
In the realms of the good and great. In the realms of the good and great.
If Emmeline Grangerford could make poetry like that before she was fourteen, there ain’t no telling what she could a done by and by. Buck said she could rattle off poetry like nothing. She didn’t ever have to stop to think. He said she would slap down a line, and if she couldn’t find anything to rhyme with it would just scratch it out and slap down another one, and go ahead. She warn’t particular; she could write about anything you choose to give her to write about just so it was sadful. Every time a man died, or a woman died, or a child died, she would be on hand with her “tribute” before he was cold. She called them tributes. The neighbors said it was the doctor first, then Emmeline, then the undertaker—the undertaker never got in ahead of Emmeline but once, and then she hung fire on a rhyme for the dead person’s name, which was Whistler. She warn’t ever the same after that; she never complained, but she kinder pined away and did not live long. Poor thing, many’s the time I made myself go up to the little room that used to be hers and get out her poor old scrap-book and read in it when her pictures had been aggravating me and I had soured on her a little. I liked all that family, dead ones and all, and warn’t going to let anything come between us. Poor Emmeline made poetry about all the dead people when she was alive, and it didn’t seem right that there warn’t nobody to make some about her now she was gone; so I tried to sweat out a verse or two myself, but I couldn’t seem to make it go somehow. They kept Emmeline’s room trim and nice, and all the things fixed in it just the way she liked to have them when she was alive, and nobody ever slept there. The old lady took care of the room herself, though there was plenty of niggers, and she sewed there a good deal and read her Bible there mostly. If Emmeline Grangerford could write poetry like that before she was fourteen, there’s not telling what she could have done had she lived. Buck said she could rattle off poetry like it was nothing. She didn’t even have to stop and think about it first. He said she would write down a line and then just scratch it out and write another one if she couldn’t come up with anything to rhyme with it. She wasn’t particular—she could write about anything you wanted, just so long as it was sad. Every time a man, woman, or child died, she would be right there with her “tribute” before the body was even cold. She called them tributes, you know. The neighbors said that if someone died, they’d first expect the doctor, then Emmeline, then the undertaker, who only once got in before Emmeline. This so traumatized Emmeline that she delayed writing a tribute for the deceased, a guy named Whistler. She wasn’t the same after that. She never complained, but she kind of pined away and didn’t live much longer. Poor thing. Many times, when her pictures started bothering me and I started thinking less of her, I made myself go up to her old bedroom to read from her old scrapbook. I liked the whole family—those dead and alive—and wasn’t going to let anything come between us. Poor Emmeline had written poetry about dead people when she’d been alive, and it didn’t seem right that there wasn’t anyone to write poems for her now that she was dead. I tried to come up with a verse or two on my own, but I just couldn’t do it for some reason. The family kept Emmeline’s room nice and clean, with everything arranged just the way she had liked having them when she’d been alive. No one ever slept there. Even though they owned plenty of n------, the old lady took care of the room herself. She often sewed and read her Bible in there.
Well, as I was saying about the parlor, there was beautiful curtains on the windows: white, with pictures painted on them of castles with vines all down the walls, and cattle coming down to drink. There was a little old piano, too, that had tin pans in it, I reckon, and nothing was ever so lovely as to hear the young ladies sing “The Last Link is Broken” and play “The Battle of Prague” on it. The walls of all the rooms was plastered, and most had carpets on the floors, and the whole house was whitewashed on the outside. Well, as I said before, there were beautiful curtains on the windows of the parlor. They were white, and they had pictures of vine-covered castles and cattle coming to drink from the moat painted on them. There was also a little old piano in the room that had in pans in it. There wasn’t anything nicer than listening to the ladies sing “The Last Link is Broken” and play “The Battle of Prague” on that piano. The walls of all the rooms were plastered, and most rooms had carpets on the floors. The whole house was whitewashed on the outside.
It was a double house, and the big open place betwixt them was roofed and floored, and sometimes the table was set there in the middle of the day, and it was a cool, comfortable place. Nothing couldn’t be better. And warn’t the cooking good, and just bushels of it too! The house was a duplex, and the big open space between the two parts had a floor and roof. This space was cool and comfortable, and sometimes in the middle of the day, they set up a table there. Nothing could be better. Plus, the cooking was good, and there was a ton of it!

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