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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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COL. GRANGERFORD was a gentleman, you see. He was a gentleman all over; and so was his family. He was well born, as the saying is, and that’s worth as much in a man as it is in a horse, so the Widow Douglas said, and nobody ever denied that she was of the first aristocracy in our town; and pap he always said it, too, though he warn’t no more quality than a mudcat himself. Col. Grangerford was very tall and very slim, and had a darkish-paly complexion, not a sign of red in it anywheres; he was cleanvshaved every morning all over his thin face, and he had the thinnest kind of lips, and the thinnest kind of nostrils, and a high nose, and heavy eyebrows, and the blackest kind of eyes, sunk so deep back that they seemed like they was looking out of caverns at you, as you may say. His forehead was high, and his hair was black and straight and hung to his shoulders. His hands was long and thin, and every day of his life he put on a clean shirt and a full suit from head to foot made out of linen so white it hurt your eyes to look at it; and on Sundays he wore a blue tail-coat with brass buttons on it. He carried a mahogany cane with a silver head to it. There warn’t no frivolishness about him, not a bit, and he warn’t ever loud. He was as kind as he could be—you could feel that, you know, and so you had confidence. Sometimes he smiled, and it was good to see; but when he straightened himself up like a liberty-pole, and the lightning begun to flicker out from under his eyebrows, you wanted to climb a tree first, and find out what the matter was afterwards. He didn’t ever have to tell anybody to mind their manners—everybody was always good-mannered where he was. Everybody loved to have him around, too; he was sunshine most always—I mean he made it seem like good weather. When he turned into a cloudbank it was awful dark for half a minute, and that was enough; there wouldn’t nothing go wrong again for a week. Colonel Grangerford was a gentleman, you see. He was pure gentleman, and his family was just as noble. He was of good breeding, as the saying goes, and the widow Douglas always said breeding is just as valuable for a man as it is for a racehorse. No one ever denied that she was of the finest aristocratic stock in our town, either. Pap had always said that too, though he was from about as fine a quality lineage as a catfish. Col. Grangerford was very tall and very slim, and he had a gray complexion. There was no sign of red anywhere in his face. He sahved his face clean every morning. He had very thin lips and nostrils, a high nose, heavy eyebrows, and very black eyes sunk so deeply into his head that you would swear they were looking out at you from within a cavern. He had a high forehead, his hair was black and straight and fell to his shoulders, and his hands were long and thin. Every day he put on a clean shirt and a full suit that was made out of linen so white it hurt your eyes when you looked at it. On Sundays, he wore a suit with blue tailcoats and brass buttons. He carried a mahogany cane that had a silver head. There was nothing frivolous about him, not one bit. And he was never loud. He was as kind as a person could be—you could just feel that, you know, and so you could rest at ease a bit. Sometimes he smiled, which was good to see. But whenever he straightened himself up like a

liberty pole

patriotic totems made from straight logs

liberty pole
and the lightning began to flicker out from under his eyebrows, you wanted to climb a tree first and ask questions later. He never had to remind anyone to mind their manners, because everyone was always on their best behavior around him. Everyone loved to have him around, too. He was fairly sunny most of the time—I mean, he made you feel like there was good weather about. When his mood became stormy, things would be awfully dark for a moment. But then his mood clear up, and everything would be fine again for about a week.
When him and the old lady come down in the morning all the family got up out of their chairs and give them good-day, and didn’t set down again till they had set down. Then Tom and Bob went to the sideboard where the decanter was, and mixed a glass of bitters and handed it to him, and he held it in his hand and waited till Tom’s and Bob’s was mixed, and then they bowed and said, “Our duty to you, sir, and madam;” and THEY bowed the least bit in the world and said thank you, and so they drank, all three, and Bob and Tom poured a spoonful of water on the sugar and the mite of whisky or apple brandy in the bottom of their tumblers, and give it to me and Buck, and we drank to the old people too. When he and the old lady came downstairs in the morning, the whole family got out of their chairs to say good morning to them, and they wouldn’t sit down again until the two of them had sat down. Then Tom and Bob mixed a glass of

bitters

alcoholic drinks made from roots or herbs

bitters
from the decanter on the counter and handed it to him. He held it in his hand and waited until Tom and Bob’s drinks were mixed. Then they all bowed and said, “Our duty to you, sir and madam.” And then THEY made a small bow, said thank you, and all three of them drank. Then Bob and Tom poured a spoonful of water on the sugar and smidge of whisky or apple brandy that was in the bottom of their tumblers, and gave it to Buck and me. Then we toasted and drank to the old people, too.
Bob was the oldest and Tom next—tall, beautiful men with very broad shoulders and brown faces, and long black hair and black eyes. They dressed in white linen from head to foot, like the old gentleman, and wore broad Panama hats. Bob was the oldest, and Tom was the second oldest. They were tall, beautiful men with very broad shoulders, brown faces, long black hair, and black eyes. They dressed in white linen from head to toe, just like the old gentleman, and they wore

Panama hat

white, lightweight brimmed fedora hat made of woven straw

Panama hat
s.
Then there was Miss Charlotte; she was twenty-five, and tall and proud and grand, but as good as she could be when she warn’t stirred up; but when she was she had a look that would make you wilt in your tracks, like her father. She was beautiful. Then there was Miss Charlotte. She was twenty-five years old, tall, proud, and grand. She was as good as a person could be when she wasn’t worked up, but when something stirred her, she could give you a look that would make you wilt on the spot, just like her father could. She was beautiful.
So was her sister, Miss Sophia, but it was a different kind. She was gentle and sweet like a dove, and she was only twenty. Her sister, Miss Sophia, was also beautiful, but it a different kind of beautiful. She was as gentle and sweet as a dove, and she was only twenty.
Each person had their own nigger to wait on them—Buck too. My nigger had a monstrous easy time, because I warn’t used to having anybody do anything for me, but Buck’s was on the jump most of the time. Each person had their own n----- to wait on them—even Buck. My n----- had it pretty easy, because I wasn’t used to having someone do things for me. Buck’s n-----, however, was on the go most of the time.
This was all there was of the family now, but there used to be more—three sons; they got killed; and Emmeline that died. That was all that was left of the family, but there used to be more—three sons had been killed, and Emmeline had died.
The old gentleman owned a lot of farms and over a hundred niggers. Sometimes a stack of people would come there, horseback, from ten or fifteen mile around, and stay five or six days, and have such junketings round about and on the river, and dances and picnics in the woods daytimes, and balls at the house nights. These people was mostly kinfolks of the family. The men brought their guns with them. It was a handsome lot of quality, I tell you. The old gentleman owned a lot of farms and over a hundred n------. Sometimes a ton of people would come to the house, having traveled on horseback from ten or fifteen miles away. They’d stay five or six days, and make such a ruckus around the house and river. They would dance and picnic in the woods during the day, and throw balls at the house at night. Most of these people were relatives. The men brought their guns with them. They were a finely-bred group, let me tell you.

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