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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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BY and by it was getting-up time. So I come down the ladder and started for down-stairs; but as I come to the girls’ room the door was open, and I see Mary Jane setting by her old hair trunk, which was open and she’d been packing things in it—getting ready to go to England. But she had stopped now with a folded gown in her lap, and had her face in her hands, crying. I felt awful bad to see it; of course anybody would. I went in there and says: Pretty soon it was time to get up. I went down the ladder and headed downstairs, but as I was passing by I saw that the door to the girls’ room was open. I saw Mary Jane inside sitting by her old hair trunk, which was open. She’d been packing things in it and getting ready to go to England. She had stopped, though, and had a folded gown in her lap and was crying with her face in her hands. I felt awful to see it—anyone would, of course. I went in there and said:
“Miss Mary Jane, you can’t a-bear to see people in trouble, and I can’t—most always. Tell me about it.” “Miss Mary Jane, you can’t stand to see people in trouble, and I usually can’t either. Tell me about it.”
So she done it. And it was the niggers—I just expected it. She said the beautiful trip to England was most about spoiled for her; she didn’t know HOW she was ever going to be happy there, knowing the mother and the children warn’t ever going to see each other no more—and then busted out bitterer than ever, and flung up her hands, and says: So she did. She was crying over the n------, just as I’d suspected. She said it was going to spoil the beautiful trip she was about to take to England. She said she didn’t know HOW she was ever going to be happy knowing that the mother and children were never going to see each other again. Then she started crying more fiercely than ever. She flung up her hands and said:
“Oh, dear, dear, to think they ain’t EVER going to see each other any more!” “Oh dear, dear! To think they’re never EVER going to see each other any more!”
“But they WILL—and inside of two weeks—and I KNOW it!” says I. “But they WILL—and in less than two weeks. I KNOW it!” I said.
Laws, it was out before I could think! And before I could budge she throws her arms around my neck and told me to say it AGAIN, say it AGAIN, say it AGAIN! Oops! I’d said it without thinking! And before I could budge an inch she threw her arms around my neck and told me to say it AGAIN, say it AGAIN, say it AGAIN!
I see I had spoke too sudden and said too much, and was in a close place. I asked her to let me think a minute; and she set there, very impatient and excited and handsome, but looking kind of happy and eased-up, like a person that’s had a tooth pulled out. So I went to studying it out. I says to myself, I reckon a body that ups and tells the truth when he is in a tight place is taking considerable many resks, though I ain’t had no experience, and can’t say for certain; but it looks so to me, anyway; and yet here’s a case where I’m blest if it don’t look to me like the truth is better and actuly SAFER than a lie. I must lay it by in my mind, and think it over some time or other, it’s so kind of strange and unregular. I never see nothing like it. Well, I says to myself at last, I’m a-going to chance it; I’ll up and tell the truth this time, though it does seem most like setting down on a kag of powder and touching it off just to see where you’ll go to. Then I says: I saw that I’d spoken too quickly and said too much. Now I was in a difficult situation. I asked her to let me think a minute, and she sat there very patiently. She looked excited and very pretty, but also kind of happy and relaxed, like a person after they’ve had a tooth pulled out. I thought for a moment, and told myself that someone who tells the truth when he’s in a difficult situation like this is taking a big risk. That’s the way it always seemed to me, though I hadn’t had much experience and couldn’t really say so for certain. Yet here was a case where it seemed telling the truth would be better and SAFER than telling a lie. It was so strange and unusual, that I told myself I’d have to put it aside for awhile and think it over some other time. I’d never encountered a situation like it. Finally I told myself that I was going to risk it—I’d tell the truth this time, though it did seem a lot like sitting on a keg of gunpower and lighting it just to see where’d the explosion would send you flying. Then I said:
“Miss Mary Jane, is there any place out of town a little ways where you could go and stay three or four days?” “Miss Mary Jane, is there any place out of town a little ways where you could go and stay for three or four days?”
“Yes; Mr. Lothrop’s. Why?” “Yes—Mr. Lothrop’s. Why?”
“Never mind why yet. If I’ll tell you how I know the niggers will see each other again inside of two weeks—here in this house—and PROVE how I know it—will you go to Mr. Lothrop’s and stay four days?” “Never mind why just yet. If I tell you how I know the n------ will see each other again—right here in this house—in less than two weeks and PROVE it, will you go to Mr. Lothrop’s and stay four days?”
“Four days!” she says; “I’ll stay a year!” “Four days?!” she said. “I’ll stay a whole year!”
“All right,” I says, “I don’t want nothing more out of YOU than just your word—I druther have it than another man’s kiss-the-Bible.” She smiled and reddened up very sweet, and I says, “If you don’t mind it, I’ll shut the door—and bolt it.” “All right,” I said. “You don’t have to say anything else as long as you give me your WORD. I’d rather have that than another man’s kiss on the Bible.” She smiled and blushed very sweetly. I said, “If you don’t mind, I’ll shut the door—and bolt it.”
Then I come back and set down again, and says: Then I came back and sat down again and said:
“Don’t you holler. Just set still and take it like a man. I got to tell the truth, and you want to brace up, Miss Mary, because it’s a bad kind, and going to be hard to take, but there ain’t no help for it. These uncles of yourn ain’t no uncles at all; they’re a couple of frauds—regular dead-beats. There, now we’re over the worst of it, you can stand the rest middling easy.” “Don’t yell. Just sit still and take it like a man. I’ve got to tell the truth, and you’ll want to brace yourself, Miss Mary, because it’s pretty bad. It’s going to be hard to swallow, but there’s nothing I can do about that. These uncles of yours… well, they aren’t your uncles at all. They’re a couple of frauds—real deadbeats. There. Now the worst is over. The rest won’t be as hard to take.”
It jolted her up like everything, of course; but I was over the shoal water now, so I went right along, her eyes a-blazing higher and higher all the time, and told her every blame thing, from where we first struck that young fool going up to the steamboat, clear through to where she flung herself on to the king’s breast at the front door and he kissed her sixteen or seventeen times—and then up she jumps, with her face afire like sunset, and says: The news jolted her considerably, of course, but I was past the shallowest waters now, so I continued. I told her every detail, from the time when we first met that young fool heading toward the steamboat clear through to where she flung herself into the king’s arms as he stood at the front door and kissed her sixteen or seventeen times. Her eyes blazed more with each new detail until she finally jumped up with her face lit up like a sunset and said:

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