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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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“Neighbors, I don’t know whether the new couple is frauds or not; but if THESE two ain’t frauds, I am an idiot, that’s all. I think it’s our duty to see that they don’t get away from here till we’ve looked into this thing. Come along, Hines; come along, the rest of you. We’ll take these fellows to the tavern and affront them with t’other couple, and I reckon we’ll find out SOMETHING before we get through.” “Neighbors, I don’t know whether the new pair of gentleman are frauds or not. But if THESE two aren’t frauds, then I’m an idiot. I think it’s our duty to see that they don’t get away from here until we’ve investigated a bit more. Come along, Hines. Everyone else, come along. We’ll take these fellows to the tavern and put them face to face with the other gentlemen, and I figure we’ll discover SOMETHING before we’re finished.”
It was nuts for the crowd, though maybe not for the king’s friends; so we all started. It was about sundown. The doctor he led me along by the hand, and was plenty kind enough, but he never let go my hand. Everyone went nuts with excitement, with the exception of maybe the king’s friends. It was almost sundown when we all headed out to the tavern. The doctor led me by the hand. He was very nice and everything—but he never let go of my hand.
We all got in a big room in the hotel, and lit up some candles, and fetched in the new couple. First, the doctor says: We all went inside a big room in the hotel. We lit some candles and brought in the other two gentlemen. First the doctor said:
“I don’t wish to be too hard on these two men, but I think they’re frauds, and they may have complices that we don’t know nothing about. If they have, won’t the complices get away with that bag of gold Peter Wilks left? It ain’t unlikely. If these men ain’t frauds, they won’t object to sending for that money and letting us keep it till they prove they’re all right—ain’t that so?” “I don’t wish to be too hard on these two men, but I think they’re frauds, and they may have accomplices that we don’t know about. If they do have helpers, then they might get away with the bag of gold that Peter Wilks left. It’s possible. If these men aren’t frauds, then they won’t object to having that money brought to us so that we can keep it until they’ve proven that they’re telling the truth. Isn’t that so?”
Everybody agreed to that. So I judged they had our gang in a pretty tight place right at the outstart. But the king he only looked sorrowful, and says: Everyone agreed to this idea, which made me think that they had us in a pretty difficult position. The king, however, just looked sad and said:
“Gentlemen, I wish the money was there, for I ain’t got no disposition to throw anything in the way of a fair, open, out-and-out investigation o’ this misable business; but, alas, the money ain’t there; you k’n send and see, if you want to.” “Gentlemen, I wish that money were there, because I don’t want to do anything except be open and fair about this miserable business. Unfortunately, the money isn’t there, though. You can send for it and see if you want.”
“Where is it, then?” “Where is it then?”
“Well, when my niece give it to me to keep for her I took and hid it inside o’ the straw tick o’ my bed, not wishin’ to bank it for the few days we’d be here, and considerin’ the bed a safe place, we not bein’ used to niggers, and suppos’n’ ’em honest, like servants in England. The niggers stole it the very next mornin’ after I had went down stairs; and when I sold ’em I hadn’t missed the money yit, so they got clean away with it. My servant here k’n tell you ’bout it, gentlemen.” “Well, after my niece gave it to me to keep for her, I hid it inside of the straw mattress of my bed. I didn’t want to deposit it in the bank because we’d only be here a few days, and I thought the bed would be a safe place. We’re not used to n------ and assumed they’d were honest folk, just like the servants in England. Well, the n------ stole it the very next morning after I’d gone downstairs. And when I sold them, I hadn’t realized the money was gone. Yhey got away scott free. My servant here can tell you about it, gentlemen.”
The doctor and several said “Shucks!” and I see nobody didn’t altogether believe him. One man asked me if I see the niggers steal it. I said no, but I see them sneaking out of the room and hustling away, and I never thought nothing, only I reckoned they was afraid they had waked up my master and was trying to get away before he made trouble with them. That was all they asked me. Then the doctor whirls on me and says: The doctor and several others said, “Shoot!” and I saw that everyone believed him. One man asked me if I saw the n------ steal it. I said no, but that I did see them sneak out of the room and hustle away. I said it didn’t strike me as odd because I figured they were afraid that they had woken up my master and were trying to get away before he got angry at them. That was all they asked me. Then the doctor whirled around and said:
“Are YOU English, too?” “Are YOU English too?”
I says yes; and him and some others laughed, and said, “Stuff!” I said that I was. He and some others laughed and said, “BS!”
Well, then they sailed in on the general investigation, and there we had it, up and down, hour in, hour out, and nobody never said a word about supper, nor ever seemed to think about it—and so they kept it up, and kept it up; and it WAS the worst mixed-up thing you ever see. They made the king tell his yarn, and they made the old gentleman tell his’n; and anybody but a lot of prejudiced chuckleheads would a SEEN that the old gentleman was spinning truth and t’other one lies. And by and by they had me up to tell what I knowed. The king he give me a left-handed look out of the corner of his eye, and so I knowed enough to talk on the right side. I begun to tell about Sheffield, and how we lived there, and all about the English Wilkses, and so on; but I didn’t get pretty fur till the doctor begun to laugh; and Levi Bell, the lawyer, says: Well, then they continued with the general investigation. We were there a long time, hour after hour. No one said anything about supper or even seemed to think about it. They kept going at it. It WAS the most mixed up thing you’ve ever seen. They made the king tell his story again, and they made the other gentleman tell his. Any person who wasn’t an idiot could have SEEN that the old gentleman was telling the truth and that the king was telling lies. Pretty soon they had me tell everything that I knew. The king looked at me out of the corner of his eye, so I knew to talk only about certain things that I knew to be true. I began to talk about Sheffield and how we lived there and all about the English Wilkes, and so on. But I didn’t get very far before the doctor began to laugh. Levi Bell, the lawyer then said:
“Set down, my boy; I wouldn’t strain myself if I was you. I reckon you ain’t used to lying, it don’t seem to come handy; what you want is practice. You do it pretty awkward.” “Sit down, my boy. I wouldn’t strain myself if I were you. I suppose you’re not used to lying—it doesn’t seem to come easily to you. You’re pretty bad at it. You need some practice.”
I didn’t care nothing for the compliment, but I was glad to be let off, anyway. I didn’t care much for what he intended to be a compliment, but I was glad to be off the hook.

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