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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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“Gentlemen,” says the young man, very solemn, “I will reveal it to you, for I feel I may have confidence in you. By rights I am a duke!” “Gentlemen,” said the younger man very solemnly. “I will reveal the secret of my birth to you, since I feel like I can trust you. By birth I am a duke!”
Jim’s eyes bugged out when he heard that; and I reckon mine did, too. Then the baldhead says: “No! you can’t mean it?” Jim’s eyes bugged out of his head when he heard that. I imagine mine did too. Then the bald guy said: “No! Really?”
“Yes. My great-grandfather, eldest son of the Duke of Bridgewater, fled to this country about the end of the last century, to breathe the pure air of freedom; married here, and died, leaving a son, his own father dying about the same time. The second son of the late duke seized the titles and estates—the infant real duke was ignored. I am the lineal descendant of that infant—I am the rightful Duke of Bridgewater; and here am I, forlorn, torn from my high estate, hunted of men, despised by the cold world, ragged, worn, heart-broken, and degraded to the companionship of felons on a raft!” “Yes, my great grandfather was the eldest son of the Duke of Bridgewater. He fled to this country at the end of the last century to breathe the pure air of freedom. He was married here and died, leaving a son. His own father died about the same time, and his second eldest son took all the titles and the land—the little baby, who was the rightful heir, was born here in America, and was ignored. I am the direct descendant of that infant. I am the rightful Duke of Bridgewater. Yet here I am, shabby, torn from my noble birth, hunted by other men, despised by the cold world, ragged, worn out, heart broken, and degraded to be companions with criminals on a raft!”
Jim pitied him ever so much, and so did I. We tried to comfort him, but he said it warn’t much use, he couldn’t be much comforted; said if we was a mind to acknowledge him, that would do him more good than most anything else; so we said we would, if he would tell us how. He said we ought to bow when we spoke to him, and say “Your Grace,” or “My Lord,” or “Your Lordship"—and he wouldn’t mind it if we called him plain “Bridgewater,” which, he said, was a title anyway, and not a name; and one of us ought to wait on him at dinner, and do any little thing for him he wanted done. Jim felt an awful lot of pity for him, and so did I. We tried to comfort him, but he said it wasn’t much use—he couldn’t be comforted. He said that us acknowledging his true identity would do him more good than anything else, so we said we would, if he’d just tell us how to do so. He said we ought to bow when we spoke to him and say, “Your Grace,” “My Lord,” or “Your Lordship.” He also said he wouldn’t mind it if we simply called him “Bridgewater,” which, he said, was a title in and of itself and not just a name. One of us ought to wait on him at dinner, too, and do whatever he wanted.
Well, that was all easy, so we done it. All through dinner Jim stood around and waited on him, and says, “Will yo’ Grace have some o’ dis or some o’ dat?” and so on, and a body could see it was mighty pleasing to him. Well, that was easy enough, so we did it. Jim stood around and waited on him throughout dinner, saying, “Will your Grace have some of this or some of that?” and so on. You coud just see that it pleased him greatly.
But the old man got pretty silent by and by—didn’t have much to say, and didn’t look pretty comfortable over all that petting that was going on around that duke. He seemed to have something on his mind. So, along in the afternoon, he says: Soon after, the old man got quiet. He didn’t have much to say, and he didn’t look very comfortable about us fawning all over the duke. He seemed to have something on his mind. So, at one point in the afternoon, he said:
“Looky here, Bilgewater,” he says, “I’m nation sorry for you, but you ain’t the only person that’s had troubles like that.” “Look here, Bilgewater. I’m extremely sorry for you, but you aren’t the only person who’s had troubles like that.”
“No?” “No?”
“No you ain’t. You ain’t the only person that’s ben snaked down wrongfully out’n a high place.” “No, you aren’t. You aren’t the only person that’s been wrongfully dragged down from a high station.”
“Alas!” “Oh no!”
“No, you ain’t the only person that’s had a secret of his birth.” And, by jings, HE begins to cry. “No, you aren’t the only person who has a secret about his birth.” Then, by golly, HE began to cry!
“Hold! What do you mean?” “Wait a minute! What do you mean?”
“Bilgewater, kin I trust you?” says the old man, still sort of sobbing. “Bilgewater, can I trust you?” asked the old man, still sobbing a little.
“To the bitter death!” He took the old man by the hand and squeezed it, and says, “That secret of your being: speak!” “To the bitter end!” The duke took the old man by the hand, squeezed it, and said, “Tell me your secret!”
“Bilgewater, I am the late Dauphin!” “Bilgewater, I am the late

Dauphin

title of the crown prince in France

Dauphin
!”
You bet you, Jim and me stared this time. Then the duke says: You can bet Jim and I just stared this time. Then the duke said:
“You are what?” “You’re a… a what?”
“Yes, my friend, it is too true—your eyes is lookin’ at this very moment on the pore disappeared Dauphin, Looy the Seventeen, son of Looy the Sixteen and Marry Antonette.” “Yes, my friend, it’s true. The man you’re looking at right now is the poor Dauphin, Louis the XVII, son of Louix the XVI and Marie Antoinette, who disappeared so long ago.”
“You! At your age! No! You mean you’re the late Charlemagne; you must be six or seven hundred years old, at the very least.” “No! At your age? No! You mean you’re the late

Charlemagne

the duke is mixing up his history by confusing Charlemagne with Louis XVII and by confusing the dates of Charlemane’s rule

Charlemagne
? You must be at least six or seven hundred years old!”
“Trouble has done it, Bilgewater, trouble has done it; trouble has brung these gray hairs and this premature balditude. Yes, gentlemen, you see before you, in blue jeans and misery, the wanderin’, exiled, trampled-on, and sufferin’ rightful King of France.” “Trouble has done it, Bilgewater, trouble has done it. Trouble has brought gray hairs and premature baldness. Yes, gentlemen, the man you see before you, miserable and dressed in blue jeans, is the wandering, exiled, trampled on, suffering rightful king of France.”
Well, he cried and took on so that me and Jim didn’t know hardly what to do, we was so sorry—and so glad and proud we’d got him with us, too. So we set in, like we done before with the duke, and tried to comfort HIM. But he said it warn’t no use, nothing but to be dead and done with it all could do him any good; though he said it often made him feel easier and better for a while if people treated him according to his rights, and got down on one knee to speak to him, and always called him “Your Majesty,” and waited on him first at meals, and didn’t set down in his presence till he asked them. So Jim and me set to majestying him, and doing this and that and t’other for him, and standing up till he told us we might set down. This done him heaps of good, and so he got cheerful and comfortable. But the duke kind of soured on him, and didn’t look a bit satisfied with the way things was going; still, the king acted real friendly towards him, and said the duke’s great-grandfather and all the other Dukes of Bilgewater was a good deal thought of by HIS father, and was allowed to come to the palace considerable; but the duke stayed huffy a good while, till by and by the king says: Well, he cried and carried on so much that Jim and I didn’t know what to do. We felt so sorry for him—and so happy and proud that he was now with us. So we tried to comfort him by doing the same thing that we’d been doing for the duke. But he said it wasn’t any use and that he wouldn’t feel better until he was dead and gone. He did say it often made him feel better when people treated him with the respect due to a king by doing things such as bending down on one knee when speaking to him, always addressing him as “Your Majesty,” waiting on him first during meals, and not sitting down in his presence until he’d asked them. So Jim and I started treating him like royalty, too, by doing this and that for him and standing up until he told us we could sit down. This made him feel a lot better, and he grew more cheerful and comfortable. But the duke started to look sour. He didn’t seem to be happy with the way things were going. Nevertheless, the king acted friendly toward the duke. He said that his father had had always though highly of the duke’s great-grandfather and all the other Dukes of Bilgewater and often invited them to the palace. Still, the duke stayed huffy for quite a while until the king eventually said:

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