Skip over navigation

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Original Text

Modern Text

“Good land, duke, lemme hug you! It’s the most dazzling idea ’at ever a man struck. You have cert’nly got the most astonishin’ head I ever see. Oh, this is the boss dodge, ther’ ain’t no mistake ’bout it. Let ’em fetch along their suspicions now if they want to—this ’ll lay ’em out.” “My goodness, duke! Come here, and let me give you a hug! That’s the best idea anyone has ever come up with. You certainly do have the best brain I’ve ever encountered. Oh, this is the best scheme we’ve ever come up with, no doubt about it. This will put them at ease—let them just try and be suspicious of us now.”
When we got up-stairs everybody gethered around the table, and the king he counted it and stacked it up, three hundred dollars in a pile—twenty elegant little piles. Everybody looked hungry at it, and licked their chops. Then they raked it into the bag again, and I see the king begin to swell himself up for another speech. He says: When we got back upstairs, everyone gathered around the table and the king counted and stacked it all up into twenty elegant little piles with three hundred dollars per pile. Everyone looked hungrily at it all and licked their lips. Then they shoveled it back into the bag, and I saw that the king was buffing his chest in preparation for another speech. He said:
“Friends all, my poor brother that lays yonder has done generous by them that’s left behind in the vale of sorrers. He has done generous by these yer poor little lambs that he loved and sheltered, and that’s left fatherless and motherless. Yes, and we that knowed him knows that he would a done MORE generous by ’em if he hadn’t ben afeard o’ woundin’ his dear William and me. Now, WOULDN’T he? Ther’ ain’t no question ’bout it in MY mind. Well, then, what kind o’ brothers would it be that ’d stand in his way at sech a time? And what kind o’ uncles would it be that ’d rob—yes, ROB—sech poor sweet lambs as these ’at he loved so at sech a time? If I know William—and I THINK I do—he—well, I’ll jest ask him.” He turns around and begins to make a lot of signs to the duke with his hands, and the duke he looks at him stupid and leather-headed a while; then all of a sudden he seems to catch his meaning, and jumps for the king, goo-gooing with all his might for joy, and hugs him about fifteen times before he lets up. Then the king says, “I knowed it; I reckon THAT’ll convince anybody the way HE feels about it. Here, Mary Jane, Susan, Joanner, take the money—take it ALL. It’s the gift of him that lays yonder, cold but joyful.” “Friends, my poor brother that lies over there has been very generous to those he left behind in their sadness. He has been generous to these poor little lambs that he loved and sheltered, the girls who are now fatherless and motherless. Yes, and those of us who knew him know that he would have been even more generous if he hadn’t been afraid of doing an injustice to his dear brothers William and me. Wouldn’t he? There isn’t a question about it in my mind. Well, then, what kind of brothers would we be if we stood in his way during such a difficult time? And what kind of uncles would we be if we robbed—yes ROBBED—such poor sweet lambs as these girls that he loved so dearly? If I know William—and I THINK I do—he… well, I’ll just ask him.” He turned around and began to make a lot of signs to the duke with his hands, and the duke just looked back at him stupidly for a while. Then all of a sudden he pretended to understand the king. He jumped for the king, goo-gooing with all his might, and hugged him about fifteen times before letting go. Then the king said, “I knew it. I reckon THAT will convince everyone of the way HE feels about it. Here, Mary Jane, Susan, Joanna—take the money, take it ALL. It’s a gift from him that lies over there, dead but happy.”
Mary Jane she went for him, Susan and the hare-lip went for the duke, and then such another hugging and kissing I never see yet. And everybody crowded up with the tears in their eyes, and most shook the hands off of them frauds, saying all the time: Mary Jane moved toward him, and Susan and Joanna, the girl with the harelip, went for the duke. There was more hugging and kissing than I’d ever seen before. Everyone crowded around them with tears in their eyes. Most shook hands with those two frauds, constantly saying:
“You DEAR good souls!—how LOVELY!—how COULD you!” “You DEAR good souls! How LOVELY! How CAN you be so kind?”
Well, then, pretty soon all hands got to talking about the diseased again, and how good he was, and what a loss he was, and all that; and before long a big iron-jawed man worked himself in there from outside, and stood a-listening and looking, and not saying anything; and nobody saying anything to him either, because the king was talking and they was all busy listening. The king was saying—in the middle of something he’d started in on— Pretty soon after everyone got to talking about the deceased again. They talked about how good he was, and what a loss it was that he’d died, and all that. Before too long, a big iron-jawed man worked his way into the crowd from outside. He stood there listening, watching the scene, and not saying a word, and no one said anything to him either, since the king was talking and everyone was busy listening. The king was in the middle of saying something:
“—they bein’ partickler friends o’ the diseased. That’s why they’re invited here this evenin’; but tomorrow we want ALL to come—everybody; for he respected everybody, he liked everybody, and so it’s fitten that his funeral orgies sh’d be public.” “… they being particularly good friends with the deceased. That’s why they’re invited here this evening. But tomorrow we want ALL of you to come—everyone of you, because he respected everyone, liked everyone, and so it’s only fitting that his funeral

orgies

the king confuses the word obsequies, which means funeral ceremony, with the word orgies

orgies
should be made public.
And so he went a-mooning on and on, liking to hear himself talk, and every little while he fetched in his funeral orgies again, till the duke he couldn’t stand it no more; so he writes on a little scrap of paper, “OBSEQUIES, you old fool,” and folds it up, and goes to goo-gooing and reaching it over people’s heads to him. The king he reads it and puts it in his pocket, and says: He kept blathering on, enjoying the sound of his own voice, bringing up the funeral orgies every now and then until the duke couldn’t stand it any more. He wrote, “It’s OBSEQUIES, not orgies, you old fool” on a little piece of scrap paper, folded it up, and went goo-gooing through the crowd. He reached over people’s heads to hand it to the king, who read it, put it in his pocket, and said:
“Poor William, afflicted as he is, his HEART’S aluz right. Asks me to invite everybody to come to the funeral—wants me to make ’em all welcome. But he needn’t a worried—it was jest what I was at.” “Poor William. Handicaped as he is, his HEART is always in the right place. He asked me to invite everyone to come to the funeral—He wants me to make you all feel welcome. But he needn’t have worried, because I was just about to do that.”
Then he weaves along again, perfectly ca’m, and goes to dropping in his funeral orgies again every now and then, just like he done before. And when he done it the third time he says: Then he started talking again, perfectly calm, and he would go back to the funeral orgies every now and then, just as he’d done before. When he said it incorrectly the third time, he added:
“I say orgies, not because it’s the common term, because it ain’t—obsequies bein’ the common term—but because orgies is the right term. Obsequies ain’t used in England no more now—it’s gone out. We say orgies now in England. Orgies is better, because it means the thing you’re after more exact. It’s a word that’s made up out’n the Greek ORGO, outside, open, abroad; and the Hebrew JEESUM, to plant, cover up; hence inTER. So, you see, funeral orgies is an open er public funeral.” “I say orgies not because it’s the word that is normally used—that would be obsequies—but because orgies is the proper term. Obsequies aren’t used in England anymore—it’s gone out of fashion. Now we say orgies. Orgies is a better term because it more precisely captures the sentiment of what we want. It’s a word that comes from the Greek word ORGO, which means outside or open or abroad, and the Hebrew word JEESUM, which means to plant, cover up, or inter. So, you see, funeral orgies are simply open, public funerals.”

More Help

Previous Next