Skip over navigation

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Original Text

Modern Text

Pray for me! I reckoned if she knowed me she’d take a job that was more nearer her size. But I bet she done it, just the same—she was just that kind. She had the grit to pray for Judus if she took the notion—there warn’t no back-down to her, I judge. You may say what you want to, but in my opinion she had more sand in her than any girl I ever see; in my opinion she was just full of sand. It sounds like flattery, but it ain’t no flattery. And when it comes to beauty—and goodness, too—she lays over them all. I hain’t ever seen her since that time that I see her go out of that door; no, I hain’t ever seen her since, but I reckon I’ve thought of her a many and a many a million times, and of her saying she would pray for me; and if ever I’d a thought it would do any good for me to pray for HER, blamed if I wouldn’t a done it or bust. She’d pray for me! I’m sure if she knew me better she would have settled on something a bit easier considering how much praying for I needed. But I bet she prayed for me anyway—she was just that kind hearted. She’d pray for Judas if she got it in her head—she wasn’t the type to go back on her word, I figure. You can say what you want, but in my opinion she had a lot of guts—more guts than any girl I’d ever seen. That sounds like flattery, but I’m not trying to flatter her. And when it comes to beauty—goodness. She’s more beautiful than anyone else. I haven’t seen her since I let her walk out that door. Nope, haven’t seen her since, but I’ve probably thought of her a million times and remembered her saying she’d pray for me. If I ever thought it’d do any good for me to pray for HER, I would die trying.
Well, Mary Jane she lit out the back way, I reckon; because nobody see her go. When I struck Susan and the hare-lip, I says: Well I suppose Mary Jane left through the back door, since no one saw her go. When I met up with Susan and the harelip, I said:
“What’s the name of them people over on t’other side of the river that you all goes to see sometimes?” “What’s the name of those people over on the other side of the river that you all go and visit sometimes?”
They says: The said:
“There’s several; but it’s the Proctors, mainly.” “There’s several, but mostly the Proctors.”
“That’s the name,” I says; “I most forgot it. Well, Miss Mary Jane she told me to tell you she’s gone over there in a dreadful hurry—one of them’s sick.” “That’s the name,” I said. “I must have forgotten it. Well, Miss Mary Jane told me to tell you she had to leave in an awful hurry to go over there—one of them is sick.”
“Which one?” “Which one?”
“I don’t know; leastways, I kinder forget; but I thinks it’s—” “I don’t know. Well, maybe I just forgot. But I think it’s….”
“Sakes alive, I hope it ain’t HANNER?” “Land’s sakes alives, I hope it isn’t HANNAH!”
“I’m sorry to say it,” I says, “but Hanner’s the very one.” “I’m sorry to say it,” I said, “but it was Hannah.”
“My goodness, and she so well only last week! Is she took bad?” “My goodness! And she looked so well just last week! Is she really sick?”
“It ain’t no name for it. They set up with her all night, Miss Mary Jane said, and they don’t think she’ll last many hours.” “Bad doesn’t do it justice. They sat up with her all night, Miss Mary Jane said, and they don’t think she’ll live many more hours.”
“Only think of that, now! What’s the matter with her?” “Just think of that! What’s the matter with her?”
I couldn’t think of anything reasonable, right off that way, so I says: I couldn’t think of anything appropriate right off the bat, so I said:
“Mumps.” “Mumps.”
“Mumps your granny! They don’t set up with people that’s got the mumps.” “Mumps, my left foot! They don’t sit up all night with people who have the mumps.”
“They don’t, don’t they? You better bet they do with THESE mumps. These mumps is different. It’s a new kind, Miss Mary Jane said.” “Oh, they don’t? You better bet they do with THESE mumps. These mumps are different. It’s a new kind, Miss Mary Jane said.”
“How’s it a new kind?” “How so?”
“Because it’s mixed up with other things.” “Because it’s mixed up with other diseases.”
“What other things?” “What other things?”
“Well, measles, and whooping-cough, and erysiplas, and consumption, and yaller janders, and brain-fever, and I don’t know what all.” “Well, measles and

whooping cough

disease that causes infection of the lungs

whooping cough
and

erysipelas

skin infection that causes a red rash

erysipelas
and

consumption

tuberculosis

consumption
and

yellow jaundice

yellowing of the skin and eyes

yellow jaundice
and

brain fever

encephalitis, or inflammation of brain tissue

brain fever
and I don’t know what all else.”
“My land! And they call it the MUMPS?” “My word! And they call that the MUMPS?”
“That’s what Miss Mary Jane said.” “That’s what Miss Mary Jane said.”
“Well, what in the nation do they call it the MUMPS for?” “Well, why in the world do they call it the MUMPS?”
“Why, because it IS the mumps. That’s what it starts with.” “Well, because it IS the mumps. That’s how it all starts.”
“Well, ther’ ain’t no sense in it. A body might stump his toe, and take pison, and fall down the well, and break his neck, and bust his brains out, and somebody come along and ask what killed him, and some numskull up and say, ’Why, he stumped his TOE.’ Would ther’ be any sense in that? NO. And ther’ ain’t no sense in THIS, nuther. Is it ketching?” “Well, that doesn’t make any sense. A guy could stub his toe, take poison, fall down a well, break his neck, and crack his head open so that his brains fell out. Then someone would come along and ask what killed him, and some numbskull would say, “Why, he stubbed his TOE. What would be the sense in that? NO. There’s no sense in this either. Is it contagious?”
“Is it KETCHING? Why, how you talk. Is a HARROW catching—in the dark? If you don’t hitch on to one tooth, you’re bound to on another, ain’t you? And you can’t get away with that tooth without fetching the whole harrow along, can you? Well, these kind of mumps is a kind of a harrow, as you may say—and it ain’t no slouch of a harrow, nuther, you come to get it hitched on good.” “Contagious?! Listen to you talk! Is a

HARROW

spiked hoe used for breaking up dirt

HARROW
contagious in the dark? If you don’t get snagged on one spike, you’ll get caught on another, won’t you. And you can’t walk away caught on that one spike without pulling the whole harrow along, can you? Well, this kind of mumps are like that harrow, you could say—it’s no wimpy harrow either. You get caught on it good.”
“Well, it’s awful, I think,” says the hare-lip. “I’ll go to Uncle Harvey and—” “Well, it’s awful, I think,” said the harelip. “I’ll go to Uncle Harvey and....”
“Oh, yes,” I says, “I WOULD. Of COURSE I would. I wouldn’t lose no time.” “Oh, sure,” I said. “That’s exactly what I’D DO. OF COURSE, I would. Don’t waste your time.”
“Well, why wouldn’t you?” “Well, why wouldn’t you tell him?”
“Just look at it a minute, and maybe you can see. Hain’t your uncles obleegd to get along home to England as fast as they can? And do you reckon they’d be mean enough to go off and leave you to go all that journey by yourselves? YOU know they’ll wait for you. So fur, so good. Your uncle Harvey’s a preacher, ain’t he? Very well, then; is a PREACHER going to deceive a steamboat clerk? is he going to deceive a SHIP CLERK?—so as to get them to let Miss Mary Jane go aboard? Now YOU know he ain’t. What WILL he do, then? Why, he’ll say, ’It’s a great pity, but my church matters has got to get along the best way they can; for my niece has been exposed to the dreadful pluribus-unum mumps, and so it’s my bounden duty to set down here and wait the three months it takes to show on her if she’s got it.’ But never mind, if you think it’s best to tell your uncle Harvey—” “Just think a minute, and maybe you’ll understand. Haven’t your uncles said they want to get along home to England as fast as they can? And do you think they’d be mean enough to go off and leave you to follow them on that journey all by yourself? You KNOW they’ll wait for you. So far, so good. Your Uncle Harvey’s a preacher, isn’t her? Well then, is a PREACHER going to lie to a steamboat clerk? Is he going to lie to a SHIP CLERK so they’d let Miss Mary Jane go aboard? You know he wouldn’t. So what WILL he do instead? Why, he’ll say, ‘It’s such a pity, but they’ll just have to get on at church without me because my neice has been exposed to the dreadful

pluribus unum

Latin words for many and one; Huck uses these words incorrectly

pluribus unum
mumps. It’s my bound duty to sit down here and wait the three months it’ll take to show if she’s got it.’ But never mind—if you think it’s best to tell your Uncle Harvey….”

More Help

Previous Next