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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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“Must we always kill the people?” “Do we always have to kill the people?”
“Oh, certainly. It’s best. Some authorities think different, but mostly it’s considered best to kill them—except some that you bring to the cave here, and keep them till they’re ransomed.” “Of course. That’s the best way. Some experts think differently, but it’s generally considered best to kill them—except for the people you kidnap and bring back to the cave until they’re ransomed.”
“Ransomed? What’s that?” “Ransomed? What’s that?”
“I don’t know. But that’s what they do. I’ve seen it in books; and so of course that’s what we’ve got to do.” “I don’t know. But that’s what highwaymen do. I’ve seen it in books, so of course that’s what we’ve got to do.”
“But how can we do it if we don’t know what it is?” “But how can we do it if we don’t even know what it is?”
“Why, blame it all, we’ve GOT to do it. Don’t I tell you it’s in the books? Do you want to go to doing different from what’s in the books, and get things all muddled up?” “Why, darn it, we’ve GOT to do it. Didn’t I say that’s what it says in the books? Do you want to do it differently than it’s done in the books and mess it all up?”
“Oh, that’s all very fine to SAY, Tom Sawyer, but how in the nation are these fellows going to be ransomed if we don’t know how to do it to them? —that’s the thing I want to get at. Now, what do you reckon it is?” “Easier said than done, Tom Sawyer. What I’m trying to say is how in the world are the people we kidnap going to be ransomed if we don’t even know how to ransom them? What do you think it means?”
“Well, I don’t know. But per’aps if we keep them till they’re ransomed, it means that we keep them till they’re dead.” “Well, I don’t know. But maybe it means that we keep them til they’re dead.”
“Now, that’s something LIKE. That’ll answer. Why couldn’t you said that before? We’ll keep them till they’re ransomed to death; and a bothersome lot they’ll be, too—eating up everything, and always trying to get loose.” “Now that makes sense. That’ll do. Why didn’t you just say that before? We’ll keep them until they’re ransomed to death. And what a pain they’ll be too, eating everything and always trying to escape.”
“How you talk, Ben Rogers. How can they get loose when there’s a guard over them, ready to shoot them down if they move a peg?” “Just listen to yourself, Ben Rogers. How can they get loose when someone will be guarding them, ready to shoot them down if they move an inch?”
“A guard! Well, that IS good. So somebody’s got to set up all night and never get any sleep, just so as to watch them. I think that’s foolishness. Why can’t a body take a club and ransom them as soon as they get here?” “A guard! Well, that IS a good idea. So someone has got to stay up all night and never get any sleep, just to keep an eye on them. I think that’s ridiculous. Why can’t we just take a club and ransom them as soon as they get here?”
“Because it ain’t in the books so—that’s why. Now, Ben Rogers, do you want to do things regular, or don’t you?—that’s the idea. Don’t you reckon that the people that made the books knows what’s the correct thing to do? Do you reckon YOU can learn ’em anything? Not by a good deal. No, sir, we’ll just go on and ransom them in the regular way.” “Because that’s not how it’s done in the books, that’s why. Now, Ben Rogers, do you want to do this right or not? Don’t you think that the people who wrote the books on robbers know what’s best? Do you think YOU can teach them anything new? Not likely. No sir, we’ll just go on and ransom them the way the book says.”
“All right. I don’t mind; but I say it’s a fool way, anyhow. Say, do we kill the women, too?” “All right. I don’t care. But I say it’s foolish anyway. Hey, are we going to kill the women, too?”
“Well, Ben Rogers, if I was as ignorant as you I wouldn’t let on. Kill the women? No; nobody ever saw anything in the books like that. You fetch them to the cave, and you’re always as polite as pie to them; and by and by they fall in love with you, and never want to go home any more.” “Ben Rogers, if I were as dumb as you, I’d keep my mouth shut. Kill the women? No, none of the books say anything about that. You bring them to the cave, and you’re always as polite as you can be to them. And pretty soon they fall in love with you and never want to go back home.”
“Well, if that’s the way I’m agreed, but I don’t take no stock in it. “Well, it’s fine by me if that’s the way it is, but I don’t want any part of it.
Mighty soon we’ll have the cave so cluttered up with women, and fellows waiting to be ransomed, that there won’t be no place for the robbers. But go ahead, I ain’t got nothing to say.” Pretty soon the cave will be so full of women and guys waiting to be ransomed that there won’t be any space left for us robbers. But go ahead, I’ve got nothing more to say.”
Little Tommy Barnes was asleep now, and when they waked him up he was scared, and cried, and said he wanted to go home to his ma, and didn’t want to be a robber any more. Little Tommy Barnes had fallen asleep by this point, and when they woke him up he was scared and cried. He said he wanted to go home to his mom and didn’t want to be a robber any more.
So they all made fun of him, and called him cry-baby, and that made him mad, and he said he would go straight and tell all the secrets. But Tom give him five cents to keep quiet, and said we would all go home and meet next week, and rob somebody and kill some people. Everyone made fun of him and called him a cry-baby. That made him mad. He said he would tell all the gang’s secrets, so Tom gave him five cents to keep quiet. He said we would all go home until we met again next week, when he’d rob somebody and kill some people.
Ben Rogers said he couldn’t get out much, only Sundays, and so he wanted to begin next Sunday; but all the boys said it would be wicked to do it on Sunday, and that settled the thing. They agreed to get together and fix a day as soon as they could, and then we elected Tom Sawyer first captain and Jo Harper second captain of the Gang, and so started home. Ben Rogers said he would only be able to meet on Sundays and that he wanted our next meeting to be next Sunday. But all the other boys said it would be wicked to rob and kill on a Sunday, so that was that. Everyone agreed to get together and set a new date as soon as possible. We then elected Tom Sawyer first captain and Jo Harper second captain of the Gang, and then everyone went home.
I clumb up the shed and crept into my window just before day was breaking. My new clothes was all greased up and clayey, and I was dog-tired. I climbed back up the shed and crept through my window just before dawn. My new clothes were all sticky and smudged with dirt, and I was exhausted.

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