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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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“YOU give him a chaw, did you? So did your sister’s cat’s grandmother. You pay me back the chaws you’ve awready borry’d off’n me, Lafe Buckner, then I’ll loan you one or two ton of it, and won’t charge you no back intrust, nuther.” “YOU gave him some chewing tobacco, huh? Well, so did your sister’s cat’s grandmother. First you pay me back for the tobacco you already borrowed off me, Lafe Buckner. Then I’ll loan you one or two tons and won’t even charge you interest.”
“Well, I DID pay you back some of it wunst.” “Well, I DID pay you back some of it once.”
“Yes, you did—’bout six chaws. You borry’d store tobacker and paid back nigger-head.” “Yes, you did—about six plugs of it. You borrowed store tobacco and paid me back in

n------head

type of black chewing tobacco

n------head
.”
Store tobacco is flat black plug, but these fellows mostly chaws the natural leaf twisted. When they borrow a chaw they don’t generly cut it off with a knife, but set the plug in between their teeth, and gnaw with their teeth and tug at the plug with their hands till they get it in two; then sometimes the one that owns the tobacco looks mournful at it when it’s handed back, and says, sarcastic: Store tobacco is a flat black plug, but these fellows usually chew a kind made of twisted, natural tobacco leaves. When they borrow chewing tobacco, they usually don’t cut it off with a knife, but put the plug in between their teeth and gnaw at it until it breaks into two pieces. Then, sometimes the guy that lent the tobacco gets upset when it’s returned to him and says sarcastically:
“Here, gimme the CHAW, and you take the PLUG.” “Hey! Give me the TOBACCO, and you take the PLUG.”
All the streets and lanes was just mud; they warn’t nothing else BUT mud—mud as black as tar and nigh about a foot deep in some places, and two or three inches deep in ALL the places. The hogs loafed and grunted around everywheres. You’d see a muddy sow and a litter of pigs come lazying along the street and whollop herself right down in the way, where folks had to walk around her, and she’d stretch out and shut her eyes and wave her ears whilst the pigs was milking her, and look as happy as if she was on salary. And pretty soon you’d hear a loafer sing out, “Hi! SO boy! sick him, Tige!” and away the sow would go, squealing most horrible, with a dog or two swinging to each ear, and three or four dozen more a-coming; and then you would see all the loafers get up and watch the thing out of sight, and laugh at the fun and look grateful for the noise. Then they’d settle back again till there was a dog fight. There couldn’t anything wake them up all over, and make them happy all over, like a dog fight—unless it might be putting turpentine on a stray dog and setting fire to him, or tying a tin pan to his tail and see him run himself to death. All of the streets and roads were made of mud. There wasn’t anything BUT mud—mud as black as tar, two or three inches deep at least, and nearly a foot deep in some places. Pigs were just grunting and loafing around everywhere. You’d see a muddy sow and her littler of piglets wander slowly up the street and plant themselves right down in the middle of the road, so that people had to walk around her. She’d stretch and shut her eyes and wiggle her ears while she nursed her piglets, looking as happy as if she was being paid. Pretty soon you’d hear one of the loiterers call out, “Hey! SO boy! Sick him, tiger!” and away the sow would go, squeeling terribly, with a dog or two biting each ear and three or four more dozen dogs chasing from behind. Then you’d see all the loiterers get up and watch the whole bunch run down the road and out of sight, laughing at the fun and grateful that something had eased their boredom. Then they’d settle back down again until there was a dog fight or something. There wasn’t anything that pleased or excited them more than a dog fight—well, unless it was putting turpentine on a stray dog and setting it on fire, or tying a tin pan to its tail and watching it run itself to death.
On the river front some of the houses was sticking out over the bank, and they was bowed and bent, and about ready to tumble in, The people had moved out of them. The bank was caved away under one corner of some others, and that corner was hanging over. People lived in them yet, but it was dangersome, because sometimes a strip of land as wide as a house caves in at a time. Sometimes a belt of land a quarter of a mile deep will start in and cave along and cave along till it all caves into the river in one summer. Such a town as that has to be always moving back, and back, and back, because the river’s always gnawing at it. Down on the riverfront there were some houses sticking out over the bank. They bowed and bent, and looked just about ready to fall in the water. The people who lived in them had moved out. The bank had caved in under one corner of some other houses, which were hanging over the water. People still lived in those houses, but it was pretty dangerous because a strip of land like that could just cave in at any time. Sometimes a stretch of land a quarter of a mile deep like that will cave in slowly over time—the entire strip can go in just one summer. A town like this has to continuously move further and further back from the bank, because the river’s always eroding it.
The nearer it got to noon that day the thicker and thicker was the wagons and horses in the streets, and more coming all the time. Families fetched their dinners with them from the country, and eat them in the wagons. There was considerable whisky drinking going on, and I seen three fights. By and by somebody sings out: The closer to noon it got that day, the more the street filled with wagons and horses. And there were more coming all the time. Families from the countryside brought their dinners and ate them in the wagons. There was a lot of whisky drinking going on, and I saw the fights break out as a result. Pretty soon, someone cried out:
“Here comes old Boggs!—in from the country for his little old monthly drunk; here he comes, boys!” “Here comes old Boggs in from the countryside for his little old monthly drink! Here he comes, boys!”
All the loafers looked glad; I reckoned they was used to having fun out of Boggs. One of them says: All the loiterers looked happy. I guess they were used to having some fun with Boggs. One of them said:
“Wonder who he’s a-gwyne to chaw up this time. If he’d a-chawed up all the men he’s ben a-gwyne to chaw up in the last twenty year he’d have considerable ruputation now.” “I wonder what he’s going to kill this time. If he’d killed all the men he’s been saying he was going to kill for the last twenty years, then he’d have a pretty fiercesome reputation by now.”
Another one says, “I wisht old Boggs ’d threaten me, ’cuz then I’d know I warn’t gwyne to die for a thousan’ year.” Another one said, “I wish old Boggs would threaten me; then I’d know I wasn’t going to die for a thousand years.”
Boggs comes a-tearing along on his horse, whooping and yelling like an Injun, and singing out: Boggs came galloping in on a horse, whooping and yelling like and Indian, crying out:
“Cler the track, thar. I’m on the waw-path, and the price uv coffins is a-gwyne to raise.” “Clear the road there! I’m on the warpath, and the price of coffins is going to go up when I start killing people!”
He was drunk, and weaving about in his saddle; he was over fifty year old, and had a very red face. Everybody yelled at him and laughed at him and sassed him, and he sassed back, and said he’d attend to them and lay them out in their regular turns, but he couldn’t wait now because he’d come to town to kill old Colonel Sherburn, and his motto was, “Meat first, and spoon vittles to top off on.” He was drunk, and weaving back and forth in his saddle. He was over fifty years old and had a very red face. Everyone yelled and laughed and swore at him. He swore back, and said he’d get to them and kill them soon. He said that’d have to wait, though, because he’d come to town to kill old Colonel Sherburn. He said that his motto was, “Eat the meat first, then finish up with the sides.”

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