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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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“Walk fast now till you get away from the houses, and then shin for the raft like the dickens was after you!” “Now walk fast until you’re away from the houses, then run for the raft like the wind!”
I done it, and he done the same. We struck the raft at the same time, and in less than two seconds we was gliding down stream, all dark and still, and edging towards the middle of the river, nobody saying a word. I reckoned the poor king was in for a gaudy time of it with the audience, but nothing of the sort; pretty soon he crawls out from under the wigwam, and says: I did, and he did the same. We reached the raft at the same time, and were gliding downstream in less than two seconds. It was dark and quiet as we edged toward the middle of the river. No one said a word. I imagined the poor king was in for a rough time with the audience. But that turned out not to be the case because soon enough he crawled out from under the wigwam and said:
“Well, how’d the old thing pan out this time, duke?” He hadn’t been up-town at all. “Well, how’d the scam pan out this time, duke?” Apparently he hadn’t been uptown at all.
We never showed a light till we was about ten mile below the village. Then we lit up and had a supper, and the king and the duke fairly laughed their bones loose over the way they’d served them people. The duke says: We waited until we were about ten miles below the village before we lit a light. Then we lit a fire and had supper. The king and the duke almost laughed their bones loose over the way they’d tricked those people. The duke said:
“Greenhorns, flatheads! I knew the first house would keep mum and let the rest of the town get roped in; and I knew they’d lay for us the third night, and consider it was THEIR turn now. Well, it IS their turn, and I’d give something to know how much they’d take for it. I WOULD just like to know how they’re putting in their opportunity. They can turn it into a picnic if they want to—they brought plenty provisions.” “Greenhorns! Morons! I knew the first audience keep quiet and let the rest of the town get tricked too. And I knew they’d try to set a trap for us the third night, thinking it was THEIR turn to get us back. Well, it IS there turn, and I’d pay money to see the looks on their faces. I WOULD like to be there when they realize what’s happened. They can turn it into a picnic if they like—they certainly brought plenty of picnic food!”
Them rapscallions took in four hundred and sixty-five dollars in that three nights. I never see money hauled in by the wagon-load like that before. By and by, when they was asleep and snoring, Jim says: Those scoundrels took in four hundred and sixty-five dollars in those three nights. I never saw money hauled in by the wagon load like that before. Pretty soon, when they were asleep and snoring, Jim said:
“Don’t it s’prise you de way dem kings carries on, Huck?” “Doesn’t it surprise you the way those kings behave, Huck?”
“No,” I says, “it don’t.” “No,” I said. “It doesn’t”
“Why don’t it, Huck?” “Why not, Huck?”
“Well, it don’t, because it’s in the breed. I reckon they’re all alike,” “Well, it doesn’t because that’s just the kind of people they were born to be. I imagine all royalty is like that.”
“But, Huck, dese kings o’ ourn is reglar rapscallions; dat’s jist what dey is; dey’s reglar rapscallions.” “But Huck, those kings of ours are real scoundrels. That’s just what they are, real scoundrels.”
“Well, that’s what I’m a-saying; all kings is mostly rapscallions, as fur as I can make out.” “Well, that’s what I’m saying—all kings are scoundrels, as far as I can tell.”
“Is dat so?” “Is that so?”
“You read about them once—you’ll see. Look at Henry the Eight; this ’n ’s a Sunday-school Superintendent to HIM. And look at Charles Second, and Louis Fourteen, and Louis Fifteen, and James Second, and Edward Second, and Richard Third, and forty more; besides all them Saxon heptarchies that used to rip around so in old times and raise Cain. My, you ought to seen old Henry the Eight when he was in bloom. He WAS a blossom. He used to marry a new wife every day, and chop off her head next morning. And he would do it just as indifferent as if he was ordering up eggs. ’Fetch up Nell Gwynn,’ he says. They fetch her up. Next morning, ’Chop off her head!’ And they chop it off. ’Fetch up Jane Shore,’ he says; and up she comes, Next morning, ’Chop off her head’—and they chop it off. ’Ring up Fair Rosamun.’ Fair Rosamun answers the bell. Next morning, ’Chop off her head.’ And he made every one of them tell him a tale every night; and he kept that up till he had hogged a thousand and one tales that way, and then he put them all in a book, and called it Domesday Book—which was a good name and stated the case. You don’t know kings, Jim, but I know them; and this old rip of ourn is one of the cleanest I’ve struck in history. Well, Henry he takes a notion he wants to get up some trouble with this country. How does he go at it—give notice?—give the country a show? No. All of a sudden he heaves all the tea in Boston Harbor overboard, and whacks out a declaration of independence, and dares them to come on. That was HIS style—he never give anybody a chance. He had suspicions of his father, the Duke of Wellington. Well, what did he do? Ask him to show up? No—drownded him in a butt of mamsey, like a cat. S’pose people left money laying around where he was—what did he do? He collared it. S’pose he contracted to do a thing, and you paid him, and didn’t set down there and see that he done it—what did he do? He always done the other thing. S’pose he opened his mouth—what then? If he didn’t shut it up powerful quick he’d lose a lie every time. That’s the kind of a bug Henry was; and if we’d a had him along ’stead of our kings he’d a fooled that town a heap worse than ourn done. I don’t say that ourn is lambs, because they ain’t, when you come right down to the cold facts; but they ain’t nothing to THAT old ram, anyway. All I say is, kings is kings, and you got to make allowances. Take them all around, they’re a mighty ornery lot. It’s the way they’re raised.” “Read about them some time—you’ll see. Look at Henry VIII. Our king here is a Sunday school teacher compared to HIM. Or look at Charles II, Louis XIV, Louis XV, James II, Edward II, Richard III, or forty others. Besides, all of Saxon royalty used to raise hell in the old times. Why, you ought to have seen old Henry VIII in his prime. HE was something else. He used to marry a new wife every day and chop off her head the next morning. And he would do it with as much indifference as if he were ordering eggs. ‘Bring me Nell Gwynn,’ he’d say. They’d bring her in. Next morning, ‘Chop off her head!’ And they’d chop it off. ‘Bring me Jane Shore,’ he’d say, and she’d come. Next morning, ‘Chop off her head’—and they’d chop it off. ‘Get me Fair Rosamum.’ Fair Rosamum comes. Next morning, ‘Chop off her head.’ And he made every one of them tell him a story every night, and he kept that up til he had collected a thousand and one tales. Then he put them all in a book and called it the Doomsday Book—which was a good name for it because that’s what it was to the wives. You don’t know anything about kings, Jim, but I do; our old rascal is one of the tamest in history. How do you think Henry went about stirring up trouble in his country? Did he tell anyone what was going to happen? Did he put on a show? No. All of a sudden he throws all the tea in overboard and into Boston Harbor and hammers out the Declaration of Independence and dares people to object. That was his style, you see—he never gave anyone a chance. He suspects his father, the Duke of Wellington, so what does he do? Ask him to visit him? No—he drowned him in a cask of wine as if he were a cat. If people left money lying around where he happened to be, you know what he’d do? He’d take it. If you hired him to do something and paid him and didn’t sit down and watch him do it, what would he do? He wouldn’t do it. And if he opened his mouth, you know what would happen? A lie would pop out every time unless you were fast enough to shut it. That’s the kind of guy Henry was, and if HE were here instead of our kings, he would have fooled that town a lot worse than ours did. I’m not saying that ours our lambs, because they aren’t, but when you look at the cold facts, they’re not nearly as bad as Henry VIII. All I’m saying is that kings are kings, and you just have to cut them some slack. All in all, they’re a pretty roudy bunch. It’s just the way they’re raised.”

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