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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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I had the middle watch, you know, but I was pretty sleepy by that time, so Jim he said he would stand the first half of it for me; he was always mighty good that way, Jim was. I crawled into the wigwam, but the king and the duke had their legs sprawled around so there warn’t no show for me; so I laid outside—I didn’t mind the rain, because it was warm, and the waves warn’t running so high now. About two they come up again, though, and Jim was going to call me; but he changed his mind, because he reckoned they warn’t high enough yet to do any harm; but he was mistaken about that, for pretty soon all of a sudden along comes a regular ripper and washed me overboard. It most killed Jim a-laughing. He was the easiest nigger to laugh that ever was, anyway. I had the middle watch, but I was pretty sleepy by that time, so Jim said he’d take the first half of it for me. He was really good about things like that. I crawled into the wigwam, but there wasn’t any room for me because the king and the duke had their legs sprawled. So I lay down outside—I didn’t mind the rain because it was warm, and the waves weren’t very large. They started getting bad again around two o’clock, though. Jim was going to call me, but he changed his mind after deciding they weren’t yet high enough to do any harm. He was mistaken about that, though, because pretty soon a huge wave came along all of a sudden and washed me overboard. Jim nearly died from laughter. He laughed more often than any n----- I’d ever seen.
I took the watch, and Jim he laid down and snored away; and by and by the storm let up for good and all; and the first cabin-light that showed I rousted him out, and we slid the raft into hiding quarters for the day. I took the watch, and Jim laid down and started snoring. Pretty soon the storm let up for good. I woke him up when I spotted the first cabin light from the shore, and we found a place to hide the raft for the day.
The king got out an old ratty deck of cards after breakfast, and him and the duke played seven-up a while, five cents a game. Then they got tired of it, and allowed they would “lay out a campaign,” as they called it. The duke went down into his carpet-bag, and fetched up a lot of little printed bills and read them out loud. One bill said, “The celebrated Dr. Armand de Montalban, of Paris,” would “lecture on the Science of Phrenology” at such and such a place, on the blank day of blank, at ten cents admission, and “furnish charts of character at twenty-five cents apiece.” The duke said that was HIM. In another bill he was the “world-renowned Shakespearian tragedian, Garrick the Younger, of Drury Lane, London.” In other bills he had a lot of other names and done other wonderful things, like finding water and gold with a “divining-rod,” “dissipating witch spells,” and so on. By and by he says: The king pulled out a ratty old deck of cards after breakfast, and he and the duke played seven-up for a while, betting five cents per game. Then they got tired of it, and figured they would “come up with a campaign,” as they called it. The duke dug deep into his carpetbag and pulled of a lot of printed

bills

advertisement flyers or posters

bills
and read them out loud. One bill said, “The celebrated Dr. Armand de Montalban of Paris” would “lecture on the Science of Phrenology” at such-and-such a place at such-and-such a time. Admission was ten cents, and you could also buy “charts of character” for twenty-five cents apiece. The duke said these bills were of HIM. Another bill advertised the “world-renowned Shakespearean tragedian, Garrick the Younger, of

Drury Lane

famous theater district in London

Drury Lane
, London.” Other bills displayed different names and advertisments for other great feats, such as finding water and gold with a “

divining rod

an instrument—usually a wooden stick—believed to have the power to locate water and gold

divining rod
,” “dissipating witch spells,” and so on. Eventually he said:
“But the histrionic muse is the darling. Have you ever trod the boards, Royalty?” “Ah, but the histrionic muse is the best. Have you ever

trod the boards

expression meaning, acted in the theater

trod the boards
, Royalty?”
“No,” says the king. “No,” said the king.
“You shall, then, before you’re three days older, Fallen Grandeur,” says the duke. “The first good town we come to we’ll hire a hall and do the sword fight in Richard III. and the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet. How does that strike you?” “Well, you will before the next three days are up, my Fallen Royalty,” said the duke. “In the next town we come to, we’ll rent out a public hall and put on the sword fight from Richard III and the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. What do you think of that?”
“I’m in, up to the hub, for anything that will pay, Bilgewater; but, you see, I don’t know nothing about play-actin’, and hain’t ever seen much of it. I was too small when pap used to have ’em at the palace. Do you reckon you can learn me?” “I’m up for anything that’ll make us some money, Bilgewater. But, you see, I don’t know anything about acting. I haven’t seen many plays. I was too small when pap used to have them performed at the palace. Do you suppose you can teach me?”
“Easy!” “Easily!”
“All right. I’m jist a-freezn’ for something fresh, anyway. Le’s commence right away.” “All right. I’m dying for a fresh new scheme anyway. Let’s get started right away.”
So the duke he told him all about who Romeo was and who Juliet was, and said he was used to being Romeo, so the king could be Juliet. So the duke told him all about Romeo and Juliet. He said the king could be Juliet since he himself was used to playing the part of Romeo.”
“But if Juliet’s such a young gal, duke, my peeled head and my white whiskers is goin’ to look oncommon odd on her, maybe.” “But Juliet’s supposed to be a young girl, duke. My bald head and white whiskers are going to look pretty funny on her, I think.”
“No, don’t you worry; these country jakes won’t ever think of that. Besides, you know, you’ll be in costume, and that makes all the difference in the world; Juliet’s in a balcony, enjoying the moonlight before she goes to bed, and she’s got on her night-gown and her ruffled nightcap. Here are the costumes for the parts.” “You don’t need to worry about that—these country bumpkins won’t even notice. Besides, you’ll be in costume, and that makes all the differene in the world. Juliet’s in a balcony, enjoying the moonlight before she goes to bed, and she’s wearing her nightgown and her ruffled nightcap. Here are the costumes for all the parts.”
He got out two or three curtain-calico suits, which he said was meedyevil armor for Richard III and t’other chap, and a long white cotton nightshirt and a ruffled nightcap to match. The king was satisfied; so the duke got out his book and read the parts over in the most splendid spread-eagle way, prancing around and acting at the same time, to show how it had got to be done; then he give the book to the king and told him to get his part by heart. He pulled out two or three suits made from calico used for curtains. He said one was made to look like medieval armor for Richard III and the guy he fights. He also had a long white cotton nightshirt and a matching ruffled nightcap for the girl. The king was satisfied, so the duke got out his book and read the lines aloud, prancing around and acting them out while he read. Then he gave the book to the king, and told him to memorize his lines.
There was a little one-horse town about three mile down the bend, and after dinner the duke said he had ciphered out his idea about how to run in daylight without it being dangersome for Jim; so he allowed he would go down to the town and fix that thing. The king allowed he would go, too, and see if he couldn’t strike something. We was out of coffee, so Jim said I better go along with them in the canoe and get some. There was a little one-horse town about three miles down around the bend in the river. After dinner, the duke said he’d figured out a way so that we could travel during the day without putting Jim in danger, and that he’d have to go to town to set it up. The king said he would go with him to scout out any good opportunities. We were out of coffee, so Jim said that I should go with them in the canoe and get some more.

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